On the socialist campaign trail
ACROSS Britain people have been out campaigning for socialist candidates in the general election over the last week.
CANVASSING GOT off to a brilliant start last week for GP Kambiz Boomla, who is standing for the Socialist Alliance in east London's Poplar and Canning Town constituency.
Some 22 people joined the canvassing, including nine health workers from the Royal London Hospital and eight workers from Guildhall University. Kambiz also received an e-mail from six staff at the local Tower Hamlets College supporting his campaign, and saying they were keen on leafleting for the Socialist Alliance and holding a hustings in the college.
One of those actively supporting the Socialist Alliance is Peter, a porter from the Royal London Hospital. He told Socialist Worker why he has got involved: "When Labour set up the health service in 1948 it was for the benefit of all the people, not to make a profit. This so called New Labour lot-I class them as Tories-have broken that pledge and it is a bloody disgrace. I'm a hospital porter and our jobs are on the line with the PFI scheme at the Royal London. We're the ones who will lose out because of Labour's broken promises. It is about time we said enough is enough. If we don't start fighting back now, then the working class will lose the lot."
- THE Sheffield branch of the UCATT building union donated 200 last week to the Sheffield Socialist Alliance.
- THE NORTH West region of the lecturers' NATFHE union backed the Socialist Alliance last week. Only one person voted against the motion. He was a Labour Party member who apologised for supporting a "second Tory party".
- THE Yorkshire and Humberside region of NATFHE voted overwhelmingly last week to "support candidates to the left of New Labour" in the forthcoming general election.
- THE NOTTS district committee of KFAT, the knitwear union, has invited George Watson, the prospective Socialist Alliance candidate for Ashfield, to speak at its next meeting.
The committee voted by ten votes to eight to invite George after a lively debate.
New socialist alliance posters
THE NATIONAL Network of Socialist Alliances has produced 15 excellent new posters detailing the pledges of the Socialist Alliance. The posters come in packs of 80. Each pack costs 8. To order phone 020 7536 9696.
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OVER 180 people-trades unionists, pensioners, students and other local activists-packed into Liverpool's Gladstone Hotel for a Socialist Alliance rally on Thursday of last week. The two Merseyside Socialist Alliance prospective candidates-Mark O'Brien and Cath Wilson, who was expelled from the Labour Party in the 1980s-both received a warm reception. The meeting was young, lively and enthusiastic.
SOME 120 people turned out for a Socialist Alliance showing of Ken Loach's film My Name is Joe in Oxford on Friday of last week. Ken Loach gave a passionate speech about why he is supporting the Socialist Alliance.
OVER 30 lawyers attended the first meeting of Lawyers for the Socialist Alliance on Tuesday of last week. Socialist Alliance candidate Louise Christian, solicitor Jim Nichol and Paddy Hill of the Birmingham Six addressed the meeting. There was an enthusiastic reception for the Socialist Alliance.
- MATT FOOT
- For more information about Lawyers for the Socialist Alliance ring Nick Wrack on 020 7611 2424.
ABOUT 25 people, including a Dudley hospitals striker, came to our Socialist Alliance public meeting in Walsall last week. The speakers included the three Socialist Alliance candidates standing in the Walsall area-Pete Smith, Dave Church and John Rothery.
- URSULA WALKER
GREENWICH Socialist Alliance has put in a bid for the Millennium Dome, arguing it should be scrapped and replaced by decent housing. The bid has been acknowledged by English Heritage and has received lots of local press coverage. Greenwich Socialist Alliance, along with Globalise Resistance, is to picket Labour MP Nick Raynsford's surgery on Saturday 24 March against his backing for Balfour Beatty.
- HANNAH DEE
SOUTH BUCKS Socialist Alliance was launched on Monday of this week at a crowded meeting in High Wycombe. Tony Haines, an ex-Labour independent councillor on Slough District Council, explained his decision to leave Labour after many years. He added that the time is right for a left wing challenge from outside the Labour Party.
- SIMON COPE
"READ MY lips. No to selection!" was the chant from the 60- strong crowd which greeted New Labour MPs at their fundraising dinner in Manchester on Friday of last week. Those at the dinner included John Prescott and local south Manchester MP Keith Bradley
Local parents and teachers are angry that Bradley sends his children to 5,000 a year Manchester Grammar School rather than the local comprehensive, just rebuilt under the Public-Private Partnership. John Clegg, the Socialist Alliance candidate who will be fighting Bradley at the election, told the rally, "We are not against the school, but we are against it being built with private finance." Some Labour Party members attending the dinner said, "We agree with you-we're not John Prescott."