Galloway: ‘Respect will save Queens Market’
Dozens of Respect members joined MP George Galloway during a walkabout in Newham, east London, last Saturday.
The tour was joined by mayoral candidate Abdurahman Jafar and many of Respect’s 61 candidates for the council elections in the borough.
The highlight was a visit to Queens Market. This much loved market is threatened with closure and Newham’s New Labour council wants to sell the site to Asda.
Galloway was applauded by shoppers and stallholders as he passed through. Speaking through a megaphone he said, “If Respect wins the election, we will save this market. That’s a promise.”
Neil Stockwell is a local trader who has worked in the market for 26 years. His father also worked there for 50 years.
Neil said, “If you want to get this market nice, so that your family can get their fruit here and stay healthy, you’ve got to vote Respect.”
Manchester Respect: giving a voice to one of Britain’s poorest wards
Naheela Ashraf is the Respect candidate for the local elections in the Rusholme ward of Manchester. She spoke to Socialist Worker about her campaign
Rusholme is one of the most deprived areas in Britain. It is also one of the most racially integrated. That is part of the reason we chose to stand there.
It is such a key area. People are coming to campaign from all over Manchester and beyond, because they realise it is so important for Respect to make a breakthrough here.
There are 160 people in the area who support Respect.
We have been out every weekend and during the evening. There are loads of new people involved who have been really enthusiastic.
For example, a group of Libyans have been out campaigning for Respect.
So far, we have leafleted every house in the ward four times with different themes on each leaflet. The issues include demands to close Guantanamo Bay, to save the NHS and to bring the troops home.
We are now canvassing and have covered half of the ward. There were two stalls in the ward last Saturday. One was right in the middle of the ward and the other was where people go shopping.
The response has been fantastic. People feel let down and are looking for an alternative. Labour is bombing Iraq and taking away the NHS and pensions. Many feel we are losing everything.
I went to a number of picket lines during the pensions strike last week. At one there was a bunch of young women in their 20s who had, until recently, never been in a union or on strike.
They were really enthusiastic and had made their own banners. They were saying it was a shame there was no official rally in Manchester to bring everyone together.
Around 160 people attended a meeting with former Guantanamo prisoner Moazzam Begg in the ward. There will be an anti-racist rally at Platt Fields Park, which is in the ward. We will help to make that as big as possible.
The potential is absolutely huge for Respect here. We want to show people that there is an alternative to New Labour.
It will let the people of Manchester know that there are not just three parties and that we have a voice.
Imagine if we had a councillor in Manchester town hall. We’re already everywhere else and involved in every campaign. But to be in the town hall would take our campaigning ability to another level.