Respect is to stand in a council by-election taking place in the Leytonstone ward of Waltham Forest, east London, on Thursday 14 July. Local teacher Caroline Coleman has been selected as the candidate.
Mark Campbell of Respect says, “Labour have so far distributed five leaflets. Both the Labour and Respect candidates have children at the same school. At the school fete last weekend, Labour wheeled out the local MP, the leader of the council and various councillors. But a large number of the actual helpers wore Respect badges and Respect organised a Make Poverty History stall which was swamped with children making ‘buddies’ for Caroline to take to Edinburgh.”
Disillusion with the local council means that Respect is the only real alternative and has a very good chance of winning. Respect came third in the ward during the Euro elections last June. It was just behind the Lib-Dems, who have lost poularity as part of the ruling Labour and Lib-Dem coalition on the council.
Caroline says, “Labour were out canvassing a few nights ago. A woman I know had just, reluctantly, told their canvassers that she’d vote for them.
“I dropped in, and she ended up not only saying she’d vote Respect but nominated me too. She wanted to talk about housing which is a major issue here, especially given the resignation of the incumbent Labour councillor over New Labour’s housing policy.”
Mark says, “The campaign is beginning to generate a buzz. A Respect leaflet in an Algerian café window was taken down after a Labour supporter complained. The café then requested a much bigger photo of Caroline plus the slogan ‘Vote Respect for Peace, Justice and Equality’ which has now been put in its place. The mini-market over the road is also now displaying the same picture.”
On Saturday 25 June Respect is planning door to door canvassing. This is vital to winning the seat. Respect supporters are asked to meet at 2pm, 17 Barfield Rd. Canvassers will assemble at the same place on Sunday 26 June and again each week day at 6pm. The campaign can be contacted phone 07010 707 351