Socialist Worker

Campaign round-up

Issue No. 1950

Salma Yaqoob confronts New Labour’s Roger Godsiff in Birmingham last week (Pic: Shahid Chohan)

Salma Yaqoob confronts New Labour’s Roger Godsiff in Birmingham last week (Pic: Shahid Chohan)


Birmingham

The Respect campaign team continues to expand as more and more people are volunteering and canvassing.

Our candidate, Salma Yaqoob, confronted Labour candidate Roger Godsiff during a walkabout. Members of the public questioned Roger Godsiff’s stance on the war.

He denied backing the war until someone dragged out the record of the parliamentary debate to show that he had voted for the motion authorising the war on 18 March 2003.

He seemed lost for words as placards were hoisted up all around him bearing the slogans “Godsiff out”. All this was being filmed by the BBC’s Politics Show crew who Godsiff was supposed to be impressing.

Adam Yosef


Newcastle

We have taken over the high street in Newcastle. In many places all the independent shops display our posters.

The Labour Party tried to set up a stall last week. They were ignored as people flocked to our stall. They packed up after 20 minutes.

We have held some brilliant events with the best one being an open air gig in Saltwell Park. Some of the best local DJs played eight hours in the sunshine to hundreds of spectators.

The response on the doorstep is brilliant in traditional Labour areas. I get phone calls and e-mails every day from people who have received our leaflets and want to get involved.

Jill Russell


Cardiff

Whenever Respect has spoken at hustings meetings — six so far — it has gone down well with the voters.

Our candidate Raja Gul Raiz says, “We have run a good campaign and have got two leaflets into every home, something no other party has done to date, despite all their superior financial resources.

“We want to give some hope and confidence to those who feel betrayed by Labour.”


Leicester

We set down real roots in Leicester South in last year’s by-election. Yvonne Ridley is a popular figure in the area.

About 100 people came to a Stop Political Terror meeting that she spoke at.

Many Muslims in Leicester South particularly identify with her message of seeking a political alternative to the self serving Labour and Lib Dem politicians.

Kieran Crowe


Harwich

John Tipple is standing for Respect in the marginal seat of Harwich and the campaign so far has been fantastic, with donations and supporters from all over East Anglia.

John beat the other candidates in every debate held in the area — Labour supporters were cheering John as he spoke at a debate in Clacton.

People beep their horns and cheer as they pass us. People we have never met before are sticking up Respect window posters and approaching us in the street to make a donation.

The highlight of the campaign was the protest we staged when Tony Blair visited a local school. Though we were banned from the school grounds, we parked our “battle wagon” outside and drowned Blair out, forcing him to hold the press conference inside the school.

Children came outside cheering us and asking for placards. Construction workers at the school came over to talk to us and stood with us as Tony Blair arrived.

Zoe Bartlett


East Kilbride

Rose Gentle's campaign to unseat Tony Blair’s armed forces minister, Adam Ingram, has captured the imagination of the people of East Kilbride.

The Military Families Against the War campaigner has attracted support from many Labour voters who are disgusted with the war as well as Ingram’s support for policies such as foundation hospitals and tuition fees.

In the first week of the campaign the local paper announced on its front page that Rose was standing. “It is ordinary people in Iraq and Britain who are paying the price for this war,” says Rose. “Pensioners go hungry while billions are spent on death.”


Islington

About 100 students, the majority first-time voters, engaged in a hustings at City and Islington College in north London on Wednesday of last week.

Representatives of the parties standing in Islington were there. Respect’s Oliur Rahman was invited as the youngest parliamentary candidate in the general election bar one.

Only Oliur Rahman described how Iraqis lives had been devastated by the occupation and called for the immediate withdrawal of troops.

He said, “Tuition fees will raise £1 billion. The war has cost £6 billion so far — that money could free students from debt.”

The greatest cheers were saved for the humiliation of the Tory candidate. A student asked her why it was that the Tories had played the race card and made attacks on immigrants. She said she had not mentioned this in her opening speech.

To resounding cheers, the student asked, “Is it because you are speaking to an audience that is ethnically diverse?”

Patrick Carmody


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Article information

Features
Thu 5 May 2005, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1950
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