Lindsey German, Respect’s candidate for West Ham, won loud applause when she told a student hustings that we have to fight in the coming election to “make poverty history, make war history”.
The hustings took place at Newham Sixth Form. Contributions from students showed at once that they were politically engaged and were not part of an “apathetic generation”.
The Tory candidate alienated himself from the largely black and Muslim audience within seconds of opening his mouth when he said the Tories were concerned with “controlling” immigration, discipline and increasing police numbers.
The students attacked him for the Tories’ opposition to the United Nations Refugee Convention and for supporting racist policies.
Labour’s Lyn Brown tried to gain support by saying she was anti-war, but she defended tuition fees with empty slogans about an “employees’ market”, which fooled nobody.
One student told her that because she was the daughter of an immigrant she would receive no grant. Lindsey German got by far the best reception, especially when she attacked the government’s victimisation of Muslims.
Her argument that the outrageous profits of companies like Tesco could easily fund higher education struck a chord with the audience.
Most of the students took a Respect window poster away.