The biggest political meeting in Newham for two decades gave a huge boost to Respect’s challenge to New Labour in the east London borough on Monday of this week.
Over 340 people packed in to East Ham Town Hall to hear Respect’s candidates for the two Newham constituencies, Abdul Khaliq Mian (East Ham) and Lindsey German (West Ham), alongside a range of speakers representing the tremendous diversity of the area.
The meeting was chaired by Michael Gavan, an officer of the biggest trade union branch in Newham, and also included distinguished speakers from the Muslim, Sri Lankan, Sikh and African communities.
“There’s little difference between Labour and the Tories,” said Mr Farouk, a Sri Lankan community activist.
“Now we have somewhere else to go — the Respect party.”
Over 40 students attended an election hustings at the University of East London’s Docklands campus in Newham.
Lindsey German answered questions alongside rival candidates. Students asked about top-up fees, the environment, Palestine, asylum seekers, ID cards and more.
Despina, who helped organise the meeting said, “Only Lindsey German got clapped — when she answered questions about Palestine and refugees.”
Lindsey German and Abdul Khaliq Mian were guests at the Gujarati Metropolitan Cricket League AGM and award ceremony last Sunday.
They gave out shields and cups to teams and individuals at the league’s award ceremony.
Michael Chapman from the Essex County Cricket Club also attended the event. He told Socialist Worker, “There are lots of talented people who want to play cricket in Newham. But at the moment there aren’t enough cricket grounds.”
Campaigners made a big impact on the streets of Newham last weekend. Abdul Khaliq Mian, told Socialist Worker, “We’ve had a fantastic response. People have been coming to help each day, often staying till 10.30pm.”
A litany of farce and failures