Thursday, 29 April 2010
Rally Round the Flag!
I am filled with optimism after spending much of the day campaigning for Labour. It seems that the vast majority of people do not care about Brown's biggot comment and many are intending to vote Labour.
If labour manages to pull off a victory, it would go down as a fitting end to a bizzare election. With the Lib Dem's refusal to support Labour if they come thrid in the popular vote, there is a huge need to get the Labour vote out.
I cannot imagine what damage a Tory government/Tory-led coaltion would do to the country. It would be back to the depression of the 1980s for Northern towns like Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and all inner cities in England. Both Scotland and Wales would be subjected to the same policies they were forced to endure during the 1980s, with the same resentment that a tiny minority of their respective populations actually voted Tory.
It is clear that a Labour victory would avoid the brutality of the Tories immediate, savage cuts. Labour proposes to pospone cuts and protect essential services. Labour has forced (or been forced by being abandoned by British capital) a division between it and the Tories. With the likes of Geoff Hoon...etc completely discredited, the right face severe internal opposition what ever the outcome of the election.
Progressives of all shades need to rally around the flag, and help Labour win a fourth term.However, we cannot make apologies for certain policies of the New Labour government. The BNP thrive of the abandonment of the working class by New Labour, we cannot defend the destruction of the manufacturing sector, the inadequate funding of council housing, not to mention the wars in Afganistan and Iraq. That is why the hard right of the Labour party need to be opposed, both politically and electorally. This means supporting candidates from outside the Labour party.
Let's examine the options;
First, the Communist Party.The Communist Party is running one of the highest profile campaigns that it has run in years. You only need to look at the masses of materials on the website and articles concerning hustings, press attention and local campaigning. Let's look at the candidates;
Marc Livingstone is standing for Glasgow North West. He is a member of UNISON and was until recently the Scottish organiser of the Young Communist League and is active in SCND and Cuba Solidarity Campaign, having visited Cuba as part of a work brigade a few years ago, and witnessed the achievements of the revolution. He also plays a key role in public work for the party, selling the Morning Star on the streets of Glasgow. In his spare time, he performs as part of a Hip Hop group called the Stupid Idiots. He also has an honours degree in History from the University of Glasgow. Further information can be found on both the Communist Party's national website and the website of the Scottish committee.
Martin Levy is standing for Newcastle East. Martin is Mr Levy works at Northumbria University as a Chemistry Lecturer and is president of Newcastle TUC. His campaign has been taking off and was the subject of a recent article in the Economist. You can find out more about the campaign, including video clips and contact details at the website of the Northern district of the Communist party.
Steve Andrew is standing for Sheffield South East. It is the first electoral battle the Communist party has fought in the city for over 30 years. Steve is a Librarian and his campaign has been covered by an article on the BBC's news website.
Ben Stevenson is former General Secretary of the Young Communist League and is standing for Croydon North. Ben is a Croydon TUC executive member and is the Youth & Student Organiser and National Secretary of the Communist Party.
Robert Griffiths, General Secretary of the Communist Party, is standing in Cardiff South & Penarth. Rob's campaign has taken off with several lively hustings meetings, organised by the Communist Party locally, and even a spot on the BBC's Daily Politics show. More information on and ways you can get involved in the campaign can be found at the website of the Welsh Committee of the Communist Party.
Finally, in what on the surface appears to be a strange constituency for the Communist party to be standing in, Gerry Sables is seeking election for North Devon. Gerry is a local author and designer and has been throwing himself into a campaign that covers a wide rural area. Check out the Communist party website for more information and for Gerry's explanation of the issues that made him stand for North Devon, chiefly rural poverty, lack of transport, housing and decent education.
As well as a whole host of local candidates, including Monty Goldman for Mayor of Hackney, who Bob Crow has recently pleadged to spend election day campaigning for, the Communist Party is also standing in alliance with members of overseas communist parties who are domiciled in Britain in Unity for Peace and Socialism (UFPS). Avtar Sadiq is standing for Leicester East. UFPS has previously polled hundreds of votes in several local election contests. You can read more about the campaign in Avtar's recent article for the Morning Star;
Communist Party member and former Councilllor and Mayor, John Medclafe is standing for Carlisle as the Carlisle Socialist and Trade Union candidate. John is an ASLEF workplace rep can has been creating a storm up in Cumbria. You can find out more about his campaign at http://carlislesocialist.org/
Other candidates worthy of support include the unstoppable Salma Yaqoob in Birmingham.
The outcome of this election will decide what kind of society we will live in for years to come. While a Labour victory would shrink the scale of devestation the country will suffer, it still would ensure unacceptable cuts in public spending. Which ever government is elected, these cuts will need to be fought. That will mean providing soliarity accross the entire labour movement for striking workers and building up the biggest possible campaign around the People's Charter. The Fat Cats must pay for their crisis. There is a viable alternative to public sector cuts, we can and must tax the greed of the capitalists and abandon our cold-war era, 'independent', Nuclear weapons programme.
We have much work to do.