Socialist Worker

Make history with Respect in east London this weekend

by Lindsey German, Respect candidate for West Ham
Issue No. 1949

The issue of Iraq has moved to where it should be — at the centre of this election campaign.

Tony Blair and media pundits claimed only a tiny number of people cared that this country was dragged into an illegal war against the wishes of the majority.

That war and the occupation have proved a disaster for the very people Blair and George Bush said would welcome it — 100,000 Iraqis have died for a lie.

Respect canvassers have long found deep anger over Iraq on the doorstep. Now, with further revelations that Blair’s own law officer believed the war could be illegal, even an out of touch political establishment has woken up to that fact.

It runs alongside deep bitterness with Blair for betraying what generations of Labour supporters have fought for — from his introduction of top-up fees for students to the return of means testing for pensioners.

The question now is whether Blair feels next Thursday night that he can get away with backing further Bush wars and continuing Thatcherite policies at home.

A breakthrough for Respect will show that he can no longer take people for granted. We have a chance to do that in east London. In Bethnal Green & Bow, where George Galloway is standing, New Labour have given up pretending the Tories are any threat. It is a two horse race between Respect and New Labour there and across east London.

Blair and his friends in the media are desperate to stop George Galloway and other Respect candidates taking a seat next Thursday.

They know, as we do, that a victory for Respect in east London next week would strengthen the hand of everyone across Britain who wants peace, opposes privatisation and who feels abandoned by New Labour.

So we are asking everyone who wants to see that breakthrough to come to east London this weekend to form a campaign army at this most crucial moment in the election.

Our canvassing in east London shows we have the support to win. There are only days left to turn that into votes and a historic breakthrough in the place where the labour movement was born.

This Saturday 30 April areas already twinned with Newham should head to the campaign office there. Everyone else is being asked to assemble at 10.30am at the Bishopsgate exit of Liverpool Street station, London, for a short procession and then leafleting and canvassing.

Campaigning will be taking place throughout the bank holiday weekend. If you need accommodation, phone 020 7538 5821.

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Article information

Sat 30 Apr 2005, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1949
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