Socialist Worker

Raising Respect's banner in Slough

Activists in many areas are organising to create a left wing alternative to New Labour. Kelly Hilditch spoke to Respect members

Issue No. 1952

Respect is increasing its profile across the country (Pic: SIon Touhig)

Respect is increasing its profile across the country (Pic: SIon Touhig)


Respect had some amazing results in the general election on 5 May, coming second in seats in east London and Birmingham and of course George Galloway’s win in Bethnal Green & Bow.

Respect also had some great results in smaller places, like Slough for example. Jazz Khan, the Respect candidate in Slough, received 1,600 votes even though Slough Respect had a very small group of campaigners.

It’s places like this where Respect has a real base on which to build.

Hassan, who was the Respect campaign manager in Slough during the election campaign, said, “We are really happy with the result we got on 5 May.

“But now we have to look forward—to the council elections next year. If we want to make an impact in those elections we need to start campaigning now.

“We had a Respect organising meeting on Wednesday of last week for everyone who had been involved in the election campaign.

“We are quite a small group in Slough, although we did have new people join us during the campaign.

“After the rally in London on Wednesday of this week, which most of us are hoping to attend, we will hold a big public meeting in Slough.

“Hopefully George Galloway and perhaps Respect’s candidate in Birmingham Salma Yaqoob will be able to speak.

“The next few weeks are crucial for Respect in Slough. The local paper has said that it will run our message of thanks to everyone who voted for Respect.

“But we also have to get more involved in the local campaigns. One of the main local issues is about the incinerator they are planning to build just outside Slough.

“A lot of people are very unhappy about it—but our newly re-elected MP doesn’t oppose it.

“Respect is already very much involved in that campaign—but we also need to get involved in other local issues, and things like Make Poverty History.

“We are really excited about Respect in Slough. We have a real opportunity here. With a very small group of campaigners it was a great result to get nearly 4.5 percent.

“Now we need to mobilise the people who voted for Respect to campaign for Respect.

“Even if one in a hundred of the people who voted Respect get involved we will double the number of people we can reach.”

One of the things Respect activists are doing in Slough is visiting all the people who requested more information during the campaign.

Jackie, one of the new Respect members, who joined during the election campaign, said, “Since the election we have broken the constituency down into smaller areas.

“Beginning with the area where we had the most support we are visiting the people who gave us their contact information during the campaign to see if they would like to get involved.

“It’s been a really good experience so far.

“It means you have the time to sit down and talk through all the issues with people one to one—which you’d never be able to do during an election.”

Join Respect: Phone 020 8980 3507 Web www.respectcoalition.org


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