Socialist Worker

Hit the streets and raise profile

Issue No. 1748

What we think

Hit the streets and raise profile

TONY BLAIR isn't facing any serious electoral challenge from William Hague. Yet this isn't making many Labour voters feel jubilant. Many are disgusted that New Labour boasts it will be even more pro-business in its second term.

Some of these views have been expressed in interviews in the Guardian and the Independent newspapers. "I had been saying to my friends for years, 'Just wait until Labour is elected and things will get better'," said York student Fiona Smith. "But on a lot of issues I don't see any difference. The introduction of tuition fees has had disastrous consequences."

David Barnard, a retired engineering worker from Brighton, said, "Labour seems to be wooing the middle classes. They are too keen to keep them on board and have come away from their working class roots and what socialism was all about." "I was euphoric when Labour was elected in 1997. I campaigned hard for them, but quickly left the party," said Simon, a south London barrister.

These comments can be heard down the pub, in homes and at workplaces across the country. The election campaigns of the Socialist Alliance and the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) fit perfectly. But many people have not yet heard about them. Socialist policies aren't splashed across every TV news bulletin or on 15 foot high billboards in every town.

Socialist candidates are not given glowing write-ups in daily papers. Campaigners for socialist candidates have to work doubly hard to get their election profile up. The campaign relies on every single supporter to put the socialist message across to the many people who are relieved there is an alternative.

A mori poll in Scotland on 11 May showed some 4 percent of people very likely to vote for the SSP, while another 11 percent are considering voting socialist. These people have to be won to voting socialist. The poll shows the potential for the socialist campaign. There are only three weeks left.

Campaigners need to back up the election leaflet through every door with placards on lamp-posts, posters in windows, cavalcades round estates. On page 12 we give a list of socialist candidates and their constituencies. Everyone who gets stuck into campaigning can ensure disgruntled Labour voters know they have the option to vote socialist in the election.


Socialist campaign can cure the apathy

"THEY'VE ONLY been going a week, but I'm bored already. And I'm interested in politics. Everybody else must be out of their skull with the tedium of it all." That was how the Mirror's chief political commentator and Labour supporter Paul Routledge began a full page article on Tuesday.

Both New Labour and the Tories are feeding apathy by making people feel there is little difference between any of the politicians or their parties. We shouldn't allow this to stop us voting-100 years ago the bosses were fighting tooth and nail to stop working men and women voting in elections.

There's nothing more they'd like now than for millions of working class people not to vote. Then the main parties could continue to carry out the bidding of the corporations without electoral opposition. There is a cure for feeling turned off by the election. It is to connect the election to all the issues that make people angry and want to fight over. These include privatisation, bosses getting huge pay rises while workers are chucked on the dole, and rundown schools and hospitals. The next three weeks are a chance to get active and campaign over things that really matter to people and offer a socialist alternative.


Marxism 2001

A new movement A new left

Highlights include: Opening rally: a new politics for a new movement Tommy Sheridan MSP, Gary Younge, Liz Davies & Lindsey German Anti-capitalism: where now? Susan George author A Fate Worse Than Debt Labour in office: democracy derailed? Paul Foot award winning journalist The future of the revolutionary left Chris Harman editor Socialist Worker & Alain Krivine French revolutionary socialist MEP Central London 6-13 July For a free timetable or to book: phone 020 7538 2707 e-mail marxism@swp.org.uk visit www.swp.org.uk/marxism


Catch these broadcasts

SOCIALIST ALLIANCE ELECTION BROADCAST made by Ken Loach (Tuesday, 6.55pm BBC1, 11.30pm BBC2 and ITV, 5.25pm, C5 and S4C, 1.40pm Radio 4, and 5.55pm Radio 2). SCOTTISH SOCIALIST PARTY ELECTION BROADCAST: Tuesday, 6.55pm BBC Scotland, and probably other times as above.


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Sat 19 May 2001, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1748
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