The Respect election campaign is making a huge impact in east London. Respect councillor Oliur Rahman, who is standing in Poplar & Canning Town, said, “The campaign is going very well. Whenever I am out on the street people ask about Respect.
“Black people have been coming up to me and saying they are voting Respect. White working class people feel especially let down by New Labour. Because of my trade union background I know how working class people suffer.
“The assistant general secretary of my PCS civil service workers’ union, Chris Baugh, has said he will come and campaign for me.”
Mark Krantz, the Respect candidate in Manchester’s Stretford & Urmston constituency said, “We’ve canvassed all week and in every street we’ve found people who say, yes I’m voting for Respect.
“We’ve been encouraged by finding Respect voters. I’ve also been speaking at hustings organised by trade unions. South Manchester RMT rail union branch voted to back me and to donate £100 to my campaign.”
Sheffield Central candidate Maxine Bowler said, “I spoke, along with Anas al-Tikriti from the Muslim Association of Britain, to 60 members of the Yemeni community on Friday of last week.
“I walked about the area of Ellesmere Green last Saturday with a handcuffed ‘Tony Blair’ in a Guantanamo Bay suit. I must have met 100 people who said they would support Respect.
“Some 40 people went canvassing on Sunday and got a very good response.”
Scottish Socialist Party
The Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) launched its manifesto this week, centred on 20 reasons to vote socialist. Primary school teacher Morag Robertson is the SSP candidate for Edinburgh South. She said, “The attack on public sector pensions is a very important issue for me, as is the privatisation of schools and hospitals through PPP.
“And of course the war is the focus for so much—a war we were led into by lies. We have been leafleting and doing stalls. I have five hustings set up.
“In 2001 we won nearly 1,000 votes, and I’ll be looking to build on that this time.”
For more information, including manifesto details, go to www.scottishsocialistparty.org
In Neath, south Wales, where Respect candidate Heather Falconer is standing against Labour’s Peter Hain, activists set up a lively Respect stall with “Tony Blair” in the stocks on Saturday.
In Islington, north London, Respect members organised a fundraising meal to support Respect candidate Janet Alder, who is standing in nearby Tottenham.
A leading Labour Party activist in Blair’s Sedgefield constituency has resigned his party membership in order to support the election campaign of Reg Keys, a member of Military Families Against the War whose son Tom was killed in Iraq.
Derek Cattell, a former full-time GMB union organiser has been a Labour member for 30 years and on the Sedgefield Labour executive committee for a decade.
He said, “I have become increasingly concerned by a growing number of issues associated with Tony Blair’s leadership, none more so than his decision to go to war with Iraq.”
Former spy and anti-war figure David Shayler has stood down in favour of Reg Keys.