Sunday 29 June 2008

Who stands for what, and where?

The electoral drama rolls on ... most recently, we saw the Labour Party candidate in Henley (Boris Johnson's old seat) beaten into 5th place, behind the Green Party and the BNP. Thankfully the Greens beat the BNP into 4th place, although sadly the BNP still gained at the expense of Labour.

This rather savage pruning of the red rose was, rather unexpectedly, followed not by calls for Brown's head, but by others in the Labour party supporting him. The most recent being ex-London mayor, (ex-Red) Ken Livingstone, who has urged Brown to "hang on in there". I almost agree with that statement, just remove the "on in there" :-P

At the same time, the Tories, who have for the past few years tried to hide their right-wing pro-Establishment nature, are getting ever more naked - and it ain't a pretty sight! One Tory was reported in the Daily Express as supporting sending the SAS into Zimbabwe (Daily Express: Send in the SAS to oust evil Mugabe say Tories) - who wants Iraq Mk II ?!? And Boris Johnson has overseen the return of police heavy-handedness, during the recent London demo against the visit of the war criminal George W Bush (Indymedia: Anti-Bush visit protest marred by police violence and snatch arrests).

Looking towards the next big by-election, in David Davis' Haltemprice constituency, neither New Labour nor the Lib Dems are standing. But there is some opposition to Tory David Davis from the left; both the Green Party and the Socialist Equality Party are fielding candidates in this by-election. Unfavourably, so are the Nazi National Front and the far-right English Democrats. So this election will be one to watch.

Less high profile but much closer to home, the Nazi BNP are standing in a Derbyshire County Council by-election in Eckington. An anti-Nazi leafleting campaign is taking place every weekend up to the election on July 3rd; UAF leaflets and leaflets from Searchlight / Hope Not Hate, are being distributed to all houses in the Eckington constituency. So far there has, thankfully, been no activity (eg leaflets and canvassing) noted from the BNP in the Eckington area. Yet, considering the BNP got councillors elected nearby in Amber Valley and Rotherham, there is no cause for complacency! But you can keep the Nazis at bay, by helping to leaflet in aeas where Nazis are standing or trying to build, and donating to and joining Unite Against Fascism.

Whatever happens in the coming by-elections, it is also increasingly clear that the need for a left alternative is as great as ever. So I urge anyone reading to help build a parliamentary left alternative by joining the Respect Coalition.

Perhaps even more importantly, we need to build an extra-parliamentary left party, which is organised in workplaces and communities, and can build an effective fightback against whichever government is in power. The Socialist Workers Party is that party.

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