Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Bob from Brockley's election endorsements: Lewisham and Greenwich

Part of Thursday's election in London will be for Greater London Assembly members. Although the Mayoral race - the Ken and Boris show - has dominated coverage, the Assembly elections are also of some interest. The Assembly elections has a part which is about one's local representative, for constituencies which encompass two or more London boroughs (the yellow ballot paper, see above left).

I live in the constituency of Greenwich and Lewisham. The current Assembly Member (AM) for Greenwich and Lewisham is Len Duvall, Labour, a basically decent bloke and good representative. He won the last election by a majority of 14,083, a comfortable margin, and is therefore highly likely to keep his seat.

In safe Labour seats, I think it is worth voting for more radical candidates, in the hope that eventually the Labour party will realise that they cannot keep on playing to the Middle England vote (e.g. cutting income tax while raising the tax burden for the working poor).

In Greenwich and Lewisham, there are two strong non-Labour candidates: Chris Flood (Socialist Alternative) and Susan Luxton (Green). Both are very good local councillors, Sue in Ladywell and Chris in Telegraph Hill. Both are very nice people. Both have good policies. And Sue is a blogger who links to this blog, which gets her lots of points.

What makes Socialist Alternative different from many other left parties in local politics is an absolute dedication to local issues, and making things better on a local level. The votes that their candidates get - Ian Page and Dave Nellist for example - indicate this.

There are in addition a whole bunch of right-wing populist and other minor parties standing here, who I won't bother mentioning. The BNP are not standing, as the far right is represented by Tess Culnane, representing the National Front. Culnane, a supporter of the expelled former BNP leader John Tyndall, is basically too far to the right, too much of an old-fashioned fascist, to fit in with the current Euro-nationalist British National Party, which indicates how far beyond the pale she is.

The Left List, the electoral front for the Socialist Workers Party, are putting up Jennifer Jones. Last week I posted a guest post on some of the many, many reasons not to vote for Jones. I'll just add that it shows how much contempt the SWP show for the people of Lewisham and Greenwich that they're standing a child who has no political experience beyond the petty world of student politics, where, even in that unsavoury swamp, she has excelled herself in fratricidal and bureaucratic thuggery. She seems to have no interest in local issues, and a sole focus on gay and lesbian identity politics, on supporting Islamist 'anti-imperialist' movements, and in a pathological hatred of Israel. It also demonstrates the contempt of the SWP for the socialist movement that they are willing to dent Chris Flood's vote; one would have thought that they'd stand aside when there is a socialist politician with a genuine local base. Well, no, I guess one wouldn't expect that actually. (See this discussion at Socialist Unity on that issue.)

Previously:


3 comments:

Sue Luxton said...

thanks Bob!

Bhownaggree said...

But Bob, Chris Flood has publically called for "solidarity with the Iraqi resistance", so he is in exactly the same mould as post-Leftist Jennifer Jones.

Len Duvall all the way!

Bobfrombrockley said...

Thanks Bhownaggree. I didn't know that. Here is the position of the Socialist Party (the actual name of Chris' party - the Alternative title is due to a complicated technicality) on the Iraqi "resistance":

Peter Taafe, their supreme leader:
"The Socialist Party has consistently fought, both within the Stop the War Coalition (STWC) and outside, against the SWP's uncritical support of the Iraqi 'resistance'. An internal circular of the STWC which stated that Iraqis had the right to resist "by whatever means they find necessary" is quoted by Nick Cohen in his book. The Socialist Party representative on the committee objected at the time to this formula and it was agreed it would be withdrawn and the circular redrafted." (source)
--
[At the conference of Solidarity in Scotland, to which the SP's sibling party there, the CWI, is affiliated:] "An amendment [supported by the CWI] seeking to qualify Solidarity's support for the Iraqi resistance was debated. The SWP inspired motion sought to give full support to the resistance who, they argued, were seeking to liberate the country from imperialist occupation.

The amendment fully supported the right of the Iraqi people to oppose and organise against the occupation but also pointed out that sections of the resistance were involved in sectarian attacks and anti-working class methods that were leading to a deepening sectarian civil war inside Iraq.

It is the duty of socialists to oppose methods that lead to division and to support a united struggle against the occupation. This needs to be linked to a struggle on jobs, health care and control of the country's resources." (source)

--
On the other hand, they do use the term uncritically from time to time: one example, another example, another.

In this sense, the SP are just a few hair's breadths away from the SWP on this. But in a local context, the SP are very good at addressing community issues, in a non-sectarian way. Thus Chris and Ian Page have not used their council positions to soapbox over Iraq, as Jones undoubtedly would.