Wednesday, August 20, 2014

August by-election in Lambeth

Here is the result of the by-election in Knight's Hill ward of Lambeth held last week which we chose not to contest. The Independent candidate was standing to protest against the Labour council's plan to sell off to developers land in the area cutrrently used for sheltered accommodation for the elderly

The reason for this by-election, so soon after the full council election in May, is given here.

We will continue to contest local by-elections, especially in the Vauxhall parliamentary constituency.

Saturday, May 24, 2014


It needs to be pointed out, and has been, that the percentages that the Lambeth Council website gives for each candidate are percentages of the total votes cast but as each voter has three votes it is not a measure of how many individuals support each party. This method underestimates the number supporting parties which put up only one candidate (in our words, us, TUSC and UKIP), but it is unclear how this could be worked out. Anyway, TUSC, UKIP and us will have more support than the Lambeth website figures suggest, perhaps twice as much.

This means that UKIP has the support of about 5% of those who bothered to vote in the two wards they stood in (Ferndale and Clapham Town). Not much compared with elsewhere. Commentators have been noting that UKIP is not doing so well in London. In fact, when you look at the composition of the population in London, especially central London, you wonder why UKIP thinks it has any chance in the inner London boroughs. Here for instance are the 2011 census statistics for Ferndale ward:

38.7% White British
20.9% Other White
10.8% Black African
9.9% Black caribbean
5.0% Black other

Of course these are unscientific categories and measure only what people classify themselves as when given a limited number of choices and told they must choose one, but, given that most "Other White" will be EU migrants, UKIP's on to a hiding in places like this, just as their parent group, the Tories, have been.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Clapham results

Three of us attended the count this afternoon in the Recreation Centre besides Brixton railway station. The results for the three wards we contested can be found here:

Clapham Town



The results in the two wards we contested both times (Ferndale and Larkhall) are almost exactly the same as last time in 2010.

The new council will be completely dominated by Labour with 50 seats to 3 for the Tories and 1 for the Greens.The Liberals have been excluded from being a serious contender for council seats in the future, with the Greens taking their place as the main opposition to Labour. UKIP got nowhere (look at their result in Ferndale) and, although TUSC got more votes than us in the two wards we both stood in, in the other wards they contested they didn't do much better than we would have done.

Islington result

Junction ward result in: Labour win all three seats, taking one from the Lib Dems. Riddhi Bhalla​ (Conservative​) 320
*Janet Burgess​ (Labour​) 2,228
Michael Collins​ (Conservative​) 361
Giorgia Gamba​ (Liberal Democrats​) 297
Mick Holloway​ (Green​) 717
Daniel Hudson​ (Green​) 621
Stefan Antoni Kasprzyk​ (Liberal Democrats​) 333
*Kaya Makarau Schwartz​ (Labour​) 1938
Bill Martin​ (The Socialist (GB)​ 90
*Tim Nicholls​ (Labour​) 1,779
Jill Renwick​ (Green​) 720
Victoria Savvides​ (Liberal Democrats​) 245
Oliver Peter Jonathan​ (Conservative) 314

I make that about 2.6%, I'll need to read around to see what that says, but, as per last year, I think the signs are a swing to supporting Labour...

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Labourites fall out

Only just got round to reading Tuesday's Evening Standard and so missed this account of a dispute between the Labour MP for Vauxhall, Kate Hoey, and one of the Labour candidates in Clapham Town ward. Apparently, she doesn't agree with him breaking a promise not to support the eviction of long-standing tenants from houses they took over and did up which the Labour Council is planning. Some Labour Party members have more principles than others, even if they all support capitalism. We have a copy of the offending leaflet.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

And all over in Islington too...

So, last night four of us made it out to the Tufnell Park end of the ward, and we got rid of almost all our leaflets (a few will go out today, put probably outside the ward). It was hot work, but many hands made light work. When someone refused a leaflet, I tried to tell him we were from the campaign to re-route HS2 through their street (which would need to be demolished). After all, we have to let them learn it might be a bad idea not to read election leaflets. One man asked us if we'd seen the sign saying "No Junk Mail" we told him it was an election address, which he pompously declared he considered to be junk mail. I refrained from saying what I thought of him. We meekly collected our leaflet and went about our way. The only real difficulty of the night was my colleague, who became ill at the thought of deliering to houses with Arsenal posters in the window. Maybe when Spurs win the sup too, he'll recover...

Campaigning over

We have now finished leafletting Clapham. In the end we did manage to distribute door-to-door and at our three literature stalls some 9000 of the 9500 allocated to us. The Labour Party must have spent a lot on trying to retain control of the council, with glossy leaflets, posters and personalised voting cards. We saw no leaflets from either the Liberals or the Tories. Presumably they are only running a token campaign in the three safe Labour wards we are contesting and concentrating on leafier parts where they think they can win. Surprisingly we saw no TUSC leaflets in the two of these wards they are contesting. Only a Green Party leaflet in Clapham Town ward denouncing the Labour Council for betraying residents who had moved into abandoned properties in the 1970s and refurbished them and who are now to be evicted so the council can get more money by selling the land off to property speculators.

More news about Clapham after the count on Friday.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Brixton hustings report

The Brixtonblog have now published their own report of the hustings last Tuesday. It's a good report that accurately records what our representative said when he gave the socialist position on the various issues raised (housing, lecturers' strike, democracy, immigration and cuts).

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Too many leaflets?

We finished leafletting Clapham Town ward yesterday. Larkhall has been done too and Ferndale is nearly finished but at the moment it looks as if we could have over a thousand left. We had 12000 printed, with 2500 for Junction ward in Islington and 9500 for the 3 Lambeth wards, i.e 3100 or so each. This was based on our experience of the by-elections we contested last year. We may still be able to get the figure down by revisiting blocs we left out because we couldn't gain access or streets which were difficult. We've also got a literature stall outside 52 Clapham High St later today (from noon). And we could leaflet the 4 tube stations in the area (Clapham North, Clapham Common, Stockwell and Brixton). We'll see.

Labour seem to be putting a lot of effort into holding Clapham Town with two glossy leaflets and more posters than usual. In fact they seem to be up to the old Labour Council trick of putting up some of their posters in empty council-owned houses. The only other posters are those for the Green Party in nearly every house in Rectory Gardens. Not surprising since the residents of this car-free street with insecure tenancies are threatened with eviction by the Labour council so that the area can be handed over to property developers to build upmarket flats (with a few "affordable" ones facing the dustbin area thrown in).

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What happened at the Brixton hustings

60 Lambeth residents or political activists attended the Brixton Blog hustings in a room upstair of the pub 'Prince of Wales' in Brixton on tuesday evening. The most surprising thing of the evening was the appearance as the Labour Party repesentative, of Lib Peck, the Leader of Lambeth Council. The Lib Dem rep was also a councillor from Streatham.

The increasingly 'notorious' Elizabeth Jones was there representing UKIP. Her appearance there and her statements drew lots of boos, hisses, haranguing and cries of racism from the assorted Trotskyites (SWP, SPEW) and Leftists (Left Unity were there but not standing candidates in the elections) in the room. She mentioned Alan Bennett but there were no protests... but when she mentioned 'Saint' Bob Crow and the 'No2EU' campaign that was too much for TUSC/RMT/SPEW activists!

The venom in the room was directed mainly at Lib Peck and Lambeth Labour Council with UKIP coming in second. The questions were about cuts to libraries, the poor performance of Lambeth Council's 'arms length' housing organisation 'Lambeth Living', pavements, car pollution in Brixton, social exclusion, immigration, Lambeth College lecturers strike. It was dealing with the symptoms and not the cause which is capitalism. The hustings saw the debut of the Pirate Party who advocated libertarianism and also transparency of council meetings.

All the speakers apart from Danny Lambert, our party representative, were clearly mesmerised with capitalism and could not see beyond its existence and all believed if they were in power they could tweak it and it would be a positive and good thing for people. Steve Nally for TUSC, sponsored by Trots SPEW and SWP and RMT trade union, would oppose all cuts and declare 'illegal' budgets, the usual activist reformist nonsense with no mention that the working class have the power to emancipate themselves, abolish capitalism and transform society to a socialist society of production to meet human needs and democratic control.

Danny put forward the Socialist case, he was on good form, and got a good reception from the assorted Leftists in the room although they would probably still vote TUSC or Green. Afterwards a man came up to Danny to say how much he enjoyed what Danny had to say but it turned out he was a Green Party candidate from another part of London...

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

More twitter feedback

here Comments from Telegraphista: "And no human nature, according to that shit! Human beings can't live like that, so we are all doomed!!!" Fnarr

Monday, May 12, 2014

Online socialist statement for Brixton

The Brixtonblog has published statements from the various parties contesting wards in Brixton. You can see them here.

Scroll down to see Danny Lambert's (our candidate in Ferndale} on our behalf (also the UKIP candidate there dancing with Nigel Farage). Anyway, here's what it says:
These borough elections are an opportunity for people to register their rejection of austerity, capitalism and the whole profit system.

The Socialist Party makes no apology for raising the issue of socialism in local elections. Things are not produced today to meet people’s needs, they are produced to make a profit and that’s the cause of the problems people in Lambeth as everywhere else face.

It’s not what local councils or even national governments do that shapes how we live. It’s the economic system which requires that profits be put before people. That’s what has to be changed to make things better.

Lambeth Council are under economic pressure, transmitted via the government, to balance their books both by cutting spending and increasing their income through selling off assets such as sheltered accommodation.

This year the Council plans to cut £4 million from helping disabled, vulnerable and older residents, also £3.9 million from children and young people services. They are evicting tenants from the short-life housing co-operatives where they have lived for 30 years. Some residents have even had to seek charity handouts from Food Banks.

It’s profits before people. That’s how capitalism works.

The only alternative is socialism, to replace the profit system with one based on common ownership and democratic control so that there can be production to satisfy people’s needs instead of for profit. Socialism, as a society of common ownership, will apply the principle “from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs.”

People in Clapham Town and Larkhall wards as well as Ferndale ward can register their rejection of the profit system and the need for a socialist alternative by putting an X next to the name of the Socialist Party candidate there.

It pays to advertise

After trooping up and down stairs yesterday (with two other party members off doing the flat bits, I'm please to Read this It pays to put ourselves out there. The only question is, will we let him vote for us? Only if he actually wants socialism!

Friday, May 09, 2014

Letter printed

The below letter has been printed in this week's Islington Tribune and the Islington Gazette

Dear Friend,

in the Islington local elections, we have a choice between the Labour Party (who will cry as they cut), the Tory Party (who will laugh as they cut) or the Libral Democrats (who will just wet themselves while choosing whether to laugh or cry). Or you can vote for the Green Party, who promise not to cut, but will end up having to anyway because austerity is beyond their control.

Any party in govrnment, whether local or national is constrained by the power and interests of them as own the world. The power of private property. So long as the world is owned by a tiny minority, it will be run in their interests, rather than that of the majority. We cannot have functional democracy until we have common ownership of the whole world's wealth.

The Socialist Party is contesting Junction Ward making no promises. We will do nothing for you.

It is the people who vote for us who would be making the promise: to campaign and build for common ownership. Voting for the Socialist Party is saying we refuse to be governed or dragged into implementing the policy of the wealthy. Politics as normal is over. A vote for the Socialist Party is a revolt.

We campaign for nothing short of the abolition of the wages system and the common and democratic ownership of the wealth of the world.

Your for World Socialism,

Bill Martin (Socialist Party Candidate, Junction Ward).

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Brixton hustings

I can't post the flyer, but I can link to the blog:Vote Brixton: Your chance to quiz council candidates
Candidates from all political parties will be grilled by the public at a Brixton Blog hustings event next week.

Ahead of this month’s local elections, councillors and would-be councillors from across the political spectrum will sit on a Brixton Blog panel to face questions about what they would do if they were elected.

The event is free to attend and you’ll be able to meet the people vying for your vote.
The event will be held upstairs at the POW (Prince of Wales) on the corner of Coldharbour Lane and Brixton Road, at 7pm on Tuesday 13th May.

Our candidate Danny lambert will be there.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Memories of Tulse Hill

Elizabeth Jones of UKIP has sent us this photo taken after the hustings in the Tulse Hill local council by-election last year. Also in the photo are the chair (Kaye Wiggins of the Brixtonblog), Steve Nally of TUSC, Adam Buick of us and the LibDem candidate:

In the olden days this would never have happened as Party speakers used to refuse even to shake hands with opponents.

Elizabeth Jones is standing against us again in the current elections in Ferndale ward. Earlier this year she represented UKIP in a debate with us, the opening speeches of which can be found here. She is also No3 on the UKIP list for the European Parliament in the London Region.

Hustings in Lambeth next Tuesday

The lively local online paper, the Brixtonblog, is organising a hustings next Tuesday 13 May of all the parties putting up candidates for Lambeth council. Details can be found here.

They have also offered parties standing in the 5 Brixton wards (Brixton Hill, Tulse Hill, Herne Hill, Coldharbour Lane, and Ferndale) space on their blog for a 300 word statement. We have already sent ours off.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Keep Our NHS public?

A reply to a campaign circular:

Dear Friend,

thank you for your letter dated 1st May regarding your campaign group's pledge against NHS privatisation.

The Socialist Party campaigns solely on the basis of abolishing the market system, whether in its private or state form. The NHS, as it stands, remains part of the market system, paying wages and salaries and buying drugs and equipment from suppliers.

The NHS is part of the social wage, won through class struggle; but so long as society is organised on private or state capitalist lines, it can only be run within the limits of the profitability of capital. We aim to abolish capitalist relations outright, so that the only limit will be that of our collective ability to work.

If elected to public office, until such time as we could carry through such a change, our delegate would be instructed to vote in the interest of the needs of the working class: in this case, ensuring they got the best health outcomes available.

This was a reply to Islington Keep Our NHS Public

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Outer London (just)

Leaflet distribution in Clapham had to start a day earlier because of the tube strike (good luck to them). A 1000 or so (out of 9500) have been distributed so far, but the strike meant distributing instead the leaflet for the Euroelections in the South East Region. just across the Great London border in Surrey (the only county where the post office won't be distributing our manifestos free), but still in the KT6 (Surbiton) post code area. Met Liberal and Tory canvassers, but for the local elections (the Liberals were both councillors) which are also been held there as well as London. They didn't appear to know much about the Euroelections, perhaps because Elmbridge Borough Council has more powers than the European Parliament. Managed to find a council estate amongst the big houses, but that was the only place I saw an election poster. It said "I'm voting for UKIP". A sign of the times?

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Elsewhere in Lambeth

The full list of candidate for Lambeth reveals that TUSC are contesting 10 wards with a total of 13 candidates (3 in Brixton Hill and 2 in Tulse Hill) and that the Pirate Party is standing in Vassall (as is TUSC). TUSC is standing in 2 or the 3 wards we are contesting (Ferndale and Larkhall).

Labour, Liberals, Tories are contesting all the(three-member) seats and UKIP all the wards. There is one independent. It was rumoured that Respect would be standing but there's no sign of them nor of Left Unity.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Our election leaflet

12,000 copies of the leaflet we will be distributing in the wards we are contesting in Lambeth and Islington were delivered to our premises in Clapham on Friday. Below is what it looks like (right click and open in new tab to enlarge). Distribution door-to-door begins next week.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Statement of persons nominated

These for Lambeth can be found here. We're standing in Clapham Town, Ferndale and Larkhall wards. As you'll see, it's us and the usual suspects (Labour, Tory, Liberal, Greens and newcomers UKIP) plus, in Ferndale and Larhall, TUSC.

Those for Junction ward in Islington can be found here. Same usual suspects except without UKIP (perhaps because they consider it too Irish, but one of the Tory candidates is called Michael Collins). No BNP either as there was in the by-election last year.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Party that keeps it's promises

As promised: I went to Islington Town Hall this lunchtime (by bike, that was fun), and my nomination papers are in, and we're off. The returning officer spotted that we had just gone along a street asking for signatures 9thanks to those who came and helped out on that). And then there were four candidates.

Junction all systems go...

It took a record short 45 minutes for us to collect our signatures for nomination up here at the top of Islington. People were nice, either telling us flat they don't vote, or that this is a solid Labour area, or that they won't vote for us but, hey, they'll be nice and sign the form to give other people a choice. So, today, I'll have to hot foot it to Islington town hall in my lunch hour to get the form in. Fingers crossed it'll all be square. Later this week, there seems to be a "Meet the candidates" event, that I may have to wrangle my way into. Stay tuned for further reports.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Nominations for Lambeth accepted

The nominations for our 3 candidates standing in Lambeth were handed in at Lambeth Town Hall at 12.30 this morning and have been accepted. They were for:

Oliver Bond (Clapham Town ward)
Adam Buick (Larkhall ward)
Danny Lambert (Ferndale ward)

We won't know for definite who the other candidates are until nominations close at 4pm on Thursday 24 April, but it is already fairly certain that Labour, the LibDems, Tories, Greens, UKIP and (except in Clapham Town)TUSC will be standing. It remains to be seen if there will be any other parties (the English Democrats have stood in Lambeth before) or Independents.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Batting for socialism at the Oval

The premature hustings duly took place this morning. The LibDems and Labour were out in force with all their candidates for Oval ward present as this is a marginal ward split 2 Labour 1 LibDem. Other parties represented, though not by any of their candidates, were the Tories and TUSC. Embarrassingly, we had to share a table with the Tories. No sign of the Greens or UKIP. We are not contesting Oval but, as we are contesting Larkhall down the road, were allowed a couple of minutes to answer questions, along with the other parties, put by an audience of 50 outside and explain why we were standing. There was not much we could say about uncollected rubbish bins or broken park railings but were able to point out that what a LibDem leaflet called "luxury flats for absentee billionaires" that the Labour Council were allowing to be built on the riverside rather than houses or flats for ordinary people was what happens under capitalism where production is for profit not to satisfy people's needs.

Afterwards a Labour Party member came up and said he used to read the Socialist Standard but said that he was in the Labour Party because it was "the mass party of the working class" and which was therefore where socialists ought to be. Recognising this as the classic Trotskyist case for "entryism", I introduced him to the TUSC representative (James who is standing for them in Ferndale, so are we) and listened to a member of Militant putting across the same sort of arguments for not being in the Labour Party as we used to put to them in the 1980s when they were in it. Actually the Labour member turned out not to be a Trotskyist but a member of the revived Labour Representation Committee, a left Labour pressure group which, according to wikipedia, includes John McDonnell MP, Owen Jones and former Lambeth Council Labour leader Ted Knight.

Friday, April 11, 2014

A premature hustings

Although nominations are not even open let alone closed, a sort of hustings is being organised at the Oval tomorrow, Saturday.

We are not standing there but are in not-so-far-away Larkhall and the organisers say we can be there with other non-Oval candidates. So we will be. We still have some leaflets left over from the Vassall ward by-election last year and part of the Oval is in Vassall ward.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Non-Brits welcome

Still continuing to get the 10 signatures for Ferndale ward. We've got 6 but there's no hurry or worry. We'll get them all by the weekend.

Once thing that's noticeable from the electoral register is the number of electors with a G against their name. This means they are EU Citizens who can vote in local (but not parliamentary) elections. A couple have signed our papers. They make up over 10 percent of the electorate in this part of London. In Larkhall ward, for instance, there are 1541 out of a total electorate of 12333, or 12.5%, which is 1 in 8. No wonder UKIP don't do well in these parts. UKIP would of course disenfranchise them. Our inclination would be in the opposite direction: that all workers, wherever they come from, should have the vote ...

Friday, April 04, 2014

Trotskyist intervention

We now know some of the others who will be standing in the wards we are contesting. The crypto-trotskyists of TUSC have announced that they will standing candidates in Lambeth in the Bishops, Ferndale, Herne Hill, Larkhall, Oval, Princes and Vassall wards.

Their candidate in Ferndale will be James Ivens and in Larkhall Alexander Betteridge. They will be urging a vote for No2EU in the European Parliament elections that will be held the same day. In stark contrast our leaflet will be advocating a write-in vote for World Socialism.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Two down, one to go

Two of us went out this afternoon to get the signatures to nominate our candidate in Clapham Town ward (the one where our premises are situated, at 52 Clapham High Street, but which also goes to the border with Wandsworth) and got them in an hour or so.

The ward left is Ferndale, just across the road and down to Brixton.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Collecting the signatures to stand

The electoral register which will be used for the elections (European and local) on 22 May became available yesterday. We picked up copies for the three wards we will be contesting in Lambeth and began collecting the signatures of local electors to be able to stand (ten per ward). We got them for one ward (Larkhall), started on another (Ferndale) and will get them for Clapham Town on Friday. The nominations papers can't be handed in till after 14 April but it's as well to get this chore over as soon as possible.

One street seemed to have a high level of political understanding. On being told that we were socialists the person understood straighaway that we were not the Labour Party. So did the next person who replied "no thanks, I'm a Labourist". It is true that this particular street is one of those we have leafletted regularly since the last local elections in 2010.

Another person referred to Farage as "Forage", not that UKIP is not going to find many votes in this area. We don't know whether they will be contesting this ward (Larkhall) but they will be contesting Ferndale where their candidate will be Elizabeth Jones who we debated against last Wednesday at our premises in 52 Clapham High Street and who lives in the ward.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The campaign for the London borough elections on 22 May starts next month. We will be contesting Junction ward in Islington (which we did in the by-election a year ago) and Clapham Town, Ferndale and Larkhall in Lambeth.

We will also be contesting the elections to the European Parliament which are being held on the same day, though not in London but in the South East Region and in Wales.

As can be seen from the map below, some areas which are effectively, if not administratively, part of greater London so we may blog on some of our activities there too.