Saturday, March 25, 2017

Election Time Again

Not in London but over the border, in Surrey. The English County Council elections are taking place on Thursday 4 May and West London branch has decided to stand a candidate in Guildford, which is only about 20 miles from Kingston, chosen because it is a university town.

Activity so far:

Letter published in the Hounslow Chronicle (17 March )in response to one from someone in the ex-Militant Tendency signing himself "Staines and Surrey Socialist Party":

Socialists will have candidate
Paul Couchman (Your Say, March 3) says he wants to build "the Social­ist Party in Staines and Surrey" and hopes that there will be Socialist candidates in May's County Council elections.
The good news is that there will be. The bad news, for him, is that it will not be his party, ie the old Mili­tant Tendency under the usurped name of our party which has existed since 1904. We shall be standing on a straight socialist programme of the common ownership and demo­cratic control of the means of pro­duction, with production for use not profit, not for mere reforms to capi­talism as he wants.

The 10 signatories for the nomination paper were collected yesterday in the chosen electoral division of Guildford West. The Labour Party had already leafletted the ward to introduce their candidate (George Dokimakis). It seems that Corbyn's takeover of the Leadership has made no difference whatsover at local level as the leaflet's slogan is "Say NO to 4.99% Council Tax increases". Very leftwing. UKIP and the LibDems will no doubt be using that one too.

Literature stalls planned in the centre of Guildford for Saturday 15 April, Saturday 22 April and Monday 1 May.

Monday, May 16, 2016

More psephology

The London Elects site has now published the results by borough (and ward). Here are our results by borough:

Lambeth 729 (0.74%)
Southwark 604 (0.69)
Hounslow 504 (0.65)
Waltham Forest 496 (0.64)
Hackney 464 (0.60)
Kingston 293 (0.50)
Islington 333 (0.45)
Richmond 268 (0.35)

This confirms past experience that we do better in Labour areas than elsewhere, though the rather surprising result in Islington (where we have contested many elections over the years) would seem go against this.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Results in detail

Lambeth and Southwark
Florence Eshalomi (Lab) 96946 (51.63) -1.18
Robert Flint (Con) 34703 (18.48) -0.89
Rashid Nix (Green) 25793 (13.74) + 2.23
Michael Bukola (LD) 21489 (11.4) -0.2
Idham Ramadi (UKIP) 6591 (3.51) +0.72
Kevin Parkin (Soc) 1333 (0.71) -1.15
Amadu Kanumansa (APP) 906 (0.48) n/a

North East

Jennette Arnold (Lab) 134307 (58.7) +5.63
Sam Malik (Con) 32565 (14.23) -4.37
Samir Jeraj (Green) 29401 (12.85) -2.61
Terry Stacy (LD) 14312 (6.26) -0.64
Freddy Vachha (UKIP) 11315 (4.95) +1.5
Tim Allen (Respect) 5068 (2.22) n/a
Bill Martin (Soc) 1293 (0.57) n/a
Jonathan Silberman(Trot) 536 (0.23) n/a

South West
Tony Arbour (Con) 84381 (39.47) -0.37
Martin Whelton (Lab) 62937 (29.4) + 0.7
Rosina Robson (LD) 30654 (14.34) -2.34
Andree Frieze (Green) 19745 (9.24) -0.6
Alexander Craig (UKIP) 14983 (7.01) +2.11
Adam Buick (Soc) 1065 (0.50) n/a

We don't contest elections to get the maximum number of votes but we do hope to avoid a really derisory score. On this last our unstated aim was to avoid getting less than a four-figure vote. Which was achieved. 0.5% means that out of every 200 people who voted 1 voted socialist or, since there was a 49% turnout in South West, one in every 400 people you pass in the streets there (or watch Brentford play). In the other places we contested you'll have an even better chance of crossing a socialist voter.

Our vote in Lambeth and Southwark was down. This will be due to the fact that we changed our candidate. We do say that it's the case not the face that counts and rightly but we can't control how even our sympathisers see things. Danny Lambert, who has stood as our candidate many times in the Lambeth area (and in this GLA constituency last time), was well known as the candidate for socialism but this will have been name recognition and association with us rather than a personal vote. There was also one more candidate than last time and the number of candidates standing also affects things. That candidate was from the All People's Party, a breakaway from the Labour Party in Southwark. They can't be very pleased.

We didn't finish bottom in North East either where, after "Workers Power", the "Communist League" was the second Trotskyist vanguard to suffer the indignity, for them, of being beaten by the SPGB despite them standing on a programme of attractive reforms and us standing only on the maximum programme of socialism and nothing else.

Friday, May 06, 2016

Two media interviews

For the record, two online interviews with our candidate in Lambeth & Southwark, Kevin Parkin, can be found here (Southwark News) and here (SW Londoner).

The count in the three constituencies we are contesting will be under way soon with results expected some time in the afternoon.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Keith - May Day

Well we went there! Clerkenwell Green: A vast whirling chaos of assorted Lefties. In front of the old Sessions House were the M-Ls. Damn lot of them, very noisy too. Maybe they hadn't heard that dear old Uncle Joe has been dead these sixty years (and buried up yonder in Green Lawn Sematary). A variety of Leagues (Communist, Spartacist, Justice) and Parties (Socialist Worker's, Namestealingnogoods). Some oddities for my collection: the Independent Socialist Labour Party (the bloke who fell out with Scargill); An Australian geezer harping on about banks - Eight years too late (we're on Eureferendum and TTIPs now dear) and the wrong continent. And bloody hell! The dancing fool. How I hate him! No idea why. The anarchists were there too - I met Nick Heath, who has a very nice hat. Everybody had brought along their table. Except the Marxist Study Centre, who were too posh to sit (they stood near the Nice Policeman, out of the way of the hoi polloi- Who are they? Why are they so well dressed?). And us. Why did we not have a table? Sorry, it was too much for my tiny biclycle. I already look like a circus elephant. The table would be too much man. If you do this sort of thing, you do need a table though. To lay out all your stuff on. Someone might buy something. T'other thing you need is gumption. You need to all but race around pressing jolly leaflets into unwilling hands. Leaflet sir? No thank you. Oh dear you already seem to have it in your sweaty. And I am long gone. Anyway that's about it. Election tomorrow. Remember folks: Vote early! Vote often!


The last minute

Had doubts abouts distributing the last couple of hundred leaflets on the last day before voting but found that the Tories had been there before me. This was on a council estate in Surbiton (yes, not everybody there leads the good life). The Tory leaflet was a nasty one headed Daily News 6 May 2016:
Breaking News: Success for Corbyn's Labour as Khan wins London ... Higher turnout among inner-London Corbyn supporters results in gains for Labour in the London Assembly. Your vote in Kingston & Surbiton can stop this. [Their emphasis in red].
I know it's irrational but I prefer distributing leaflets in areas where Labour leafletters had been before like in Hounslow whereas in Kingston and Richmond it was the LibDems though in Brentford (part of Hounslow) it was the Greens (don't know why nor what the Tories were doing on a council estate in Surbiton).

Anyway, tomorrow I'll be writing WORLD SOCIALISM across my mayor and party list ballot papers and voting for myself for a change in the constituency, as will our other two candidates (in North East and in Lambeth & Southwark) as, for the first time, all three of us live in the constituency where we are standing. Not that that really matters since, as we say, it's the case not the face that counts.

Profile in the Hackney Citizien

Meet the North East Candidates
Bill Martin is a librarian and has been a member of the Socialist Party of Great Britain for 20 years.

He explains that the Socialist Party stands to abolish the wages system and establish a society based on the common ownership and democratic control of wealth, recognising that this change can only be made by a mass movement dedicated to that purpose, and not by leaders.

Martin claims his name is on the ballot paper as a useful legal device to allow people to signal their support for this change.

The Hackney Citizen requested a photograph of Bill Martin from Socialist Party of Great Britain but none was forthcoming.
In fact, a photo was not 'no forthcoming' but we actively declined to provide one, on the grounds that it is the case, and the Party that is standing for election, not an individual person.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Saturday in KIngston

Two members and two sympathisers ran a street stall in the centre of Kingston for two hours on Saturday. Slow start but it picked up later with discussions on the EU referendum (the Leave and Remain leafletters were out again, amazing how people are concerned with the British capitalists' trading arrangements while the only thing they trade is is their labour-power) and Ken Livingstone's alleged anti-semitism rather than the GLA elections. Leaflets (both on the election and on the referendum) handed out. A couple of pamphlets sold and a couple taken without paying (the person chose carefully as he took How the Gods Were Made and Marxism and Darwinism). Contacted by a member of the Zeitgeist movement who had come from the other side of London to do this.

This will be the last of the election stalls. Next date: polling day, Thursday 5 May (also Marx's birthday).

Friday, April 29, 2016

News from the South Western Front

Today's Richmond and Twickenham Times has a full page on the six candidates standing in the South West constituency. Unfortunately it is about who I am rather than what the Party stands for. The information on our candidate was not supplied by us but was taken from wikipedia. The nearest it gets to saying what we stand for is where says I am a "speaker and writer about a moneyless and wageless society". We have agreed, though, to supply a photo for the online version despite that for us it's "the case not the face" that counts, on the grounds that a "face" will attract more people to read what's underneath it than just plain text. But don't worry, the chosen photo shows a Party banner in the background saying "Abolish the Wages System".

The same paper's online edition also carried a report on the hustings in Twickenham on 12 April (where the candidate's face can also be seen). It's here.

The Surrey Comet only has a page on 5 of the 12 candidates for mayor and nothing on who's standing for the GLA but we can't really complain as they had published two letters from us. The Liberal candidate will have more reason to as she's never been mentioned and the UKIP candidate might not have liked being reminded on the front page that he once denounced the "gaystapo" (on the other hand, maybe he accepts that any publicity is better than none).

We have now finished distributing our quota of one-third of the 30,000 election manifestos and only have an 1000 or so, found at Head Office, left to do. By chance they have been distributed more or less equally between the three boroughs of Kingston, Richmond and Hounslow. This was not the plan as the intention was to concentrate on Hounslow where the branch meets. 11-12000 is slightly more than a token coverage as it's only about 4% of the total number of postal drops in the constituency.

A hundred were distributed in Oxford as on a visit there for a William Morris event (saw the room in University College where Morris gave his first talk as a socialist entitled "Art under Plutocracy", part of which we first republished in 1907 as Art, Labour and Socialism) I noticed that nearly all the streets near where I was saying had houses displaying "Vote Green" or "Vote Labour" posters in their windows. They all got the only leaflet I had with me (our GLA manifesto). Assuming that those displaying posters are among the 5% of the population said to follow politics this is a self-selected target and 100 delivered to them should be the equivalent of 2000 delivered to all doors. It will also serve here as a reminder that, after contesting both the Euroelections in 2014 and the General Election last year in Oxford, we are still around. More of the leaflets will be distributed at the Mayday trade union event in Oxford on Saturday.

Tomorrow we will be having a street stall in Kingston but not in Brentford as announced.