Saturday, May 09, 2015

Vauxhall result

It is here.

One curiosity is that the vote of candidates claiming to be socialist hasn't varied much since 2005.

In 2005 we were the only such candidate. We got 240 votes.

In 2010 there was us and Workers Power. We got 143 and they got 109 (a total of 252)

This time there was us and Left Unity. We got 82 and they got 188 (a total of 260).

Of course we don't regard either Workers Power or Left Unity as really standing for socialism but we can't deny that some people regard, and treat, all three of us as part of the "far left".

It also confirms something that we have noticed before that when we (proposing the maximum programme only of socialism) come up against others (claiming to be socialists and proposing vote-catching reforms) clash, about a third of the "far left" vote choose to vote for socialism.

Friday, May 08, 2015

Prince's by-election result

This can be seen here.

Labour 3452 (44.5%)
LibDem 1748 (22.5%)
Tory 1519 (19.5%)
Green 901 (11.6%)
Left Unity/Trade Unionists and Socialists (Kinglsey Abrams) 99 (1.3%)
The Socialist Party (Danny Lambert) 42 (0.5%)

Par for the course for us but a poor result for LU/TUSC considering who their candidate was (ex-Labour councillor and ex-Labour parliamentary candidate).

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Who (in London) is afraid of the SNP?

Out yesterday delivering, to ensure we weren't left with too many, our leaflet for constituencies we're not standing in, I came across leaflets from the parties standing in Wandsworth and in Kingston. I hadn't realised that the Tories had such an obsession about the SNP.

Here's what a leaflet, for just a local council by-election, in Wandsworth says: either we have a Conservative government
Or we have a Labour/Scottish Nationalist Government, taxing London and harming Britain.
But the prize for this sort of thing goes to Tory leaflet for Kingston & Surbiton. Headed "SNP puts Miliband in Downing Street. Your vote can stop this", it is entirely devoted to the subject and says:
A Vote for the Lib Dems will help Ed Miliband and the SNP take us back to square one.
I suppose they think this will get them votes from people who don't like the Scots.

Anyway, the SNP is just another capitalist party, whose aim is not so much independence, but to gain some strength to bargain for a bigger grant for the Scottish regional administration from the central givernment. Just the same as the Democratic Unionist Party is trying to do for Northern Ireland. Come to think of it, you could just as (il)logically argue that a vote for the Tories will be help the Paisleyites get their way -- though they might decide to support a minority Labour government instead if it offer more money. Who knows?

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Prince's Ward by-election hustings 30 April 2015

The Prince's Ward by-election Hustings took place on Thursday 30 April 2015 in St Anselm's Church, Kennington Cross. Prince's Ward is in the north of Lambeth borough, comprising mainly Vauxhall and Kennington. The most interesting thing about council by-elections and their hustings is seeing capitalism in a microcosm and its effects on people at the local level in Lambeth with regards to housing, libraries and schools. There was a small demo outside the hustings before it began – local community activists carrying a 'Hands Off Durning Library' banner.

Around 50 people turned out for the hustings and all 6 candidates were there: Danny Lambert, the Socialist Party candidate, Kingsley Abrams (Left Unity-TUSC), Labour, Lib-Dems, Green and Tory. Danny stood (all the other candidates sat down for their speeches/answers as they had nothing to be excited about to stand up) and gave his 2 minutes opening which was a concise exposition of the Socialist case.

The Green Party had some support at the hustings but their candidate was weak. The point of the Greens seems to be what Caroline Lucas said on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, as a group that puts political pressure on Labour from the left. There was no support for the Lib-Dems and I can't recall a single thing he said. The Tory candidate was personable and probably right when he said 'I'm the only candidate here who can beat Labour' but he had no support there.

The Labour candidate is a shoe-in to win Prince's Ward, she had lots of support there. But what a candidate! Mealy-mouthed, charmless, professional Blairite career politician in the making, a product of the Vauxhall Labour Party Machine. I thought of Danny's observation 'anyone who wants to be a politician is the last person you'd want'. The Vauxhall Labour MP Kate Hoey was in the audience.

Local Lambeth issues dominated the hustings - 'estate regeneration' or really the housing crisis in particular Knights Walk, threatened closure of Durning Library, the need for expansion of the Archbishop Sumner School. Lambeth Labour Council got in the neck from 4 of the candidates, the Labour could not stick the boot too much! Even Danny had to agree that Lambeth Council data is not to be trusted. Another local issue that has recently developed is the future of the Royal Vauxhall Tavern future which has been bought by a property developer. The LGBT community and continuing existence of the RVT supported by all candidates, although Danny pointed out the inevitability of things like this happening when we live in an economic system where profit comes before people's needs.

If I was one of the community activists at the hustings then my vote would go to Kingsley Abrams of Left Unity-TUSC. He had some support at the hustings, and was a very capable speaker. He should be, as he is a professional local politician, many years experience as a Merton Labour councillor and Lambeth Labour councillor. His refrain was 'I will never vote for cuts' but he sometimes spoke of himself in the third person using his forename! 'Kingsley will never vote for cuts!' He never once mentioned the word 'socialism' although even Steve Nally, Trotskyite TUSC candidate at other hustings doesn't either. Abrams is also LU– TUSC parliamentary candidate in Southwark against Lib Dem Simon Hughes. Abrams is unusual in that he is not a Trotskyite and is standing for TUSC. He is Labour left. He praised the so-called 'independence' of Vauxhall Labour MP Kate Hoey who was in attendance for part of the hustings. I spoke with Simon Hardy (Vauxhall Left Unity candidate) in Brixton last Saturday, and he said LU were there to push Labour to the 'left'. So that is the point of Left Unity.

Abrams 'pledges' were music to the ears of the local activists involved in the Knights Walk, Durning Library, Archbishop Sumner School campaigns. He got passionate (although he did not stand up!) talking about 'regeneration' means 'social cleansing', it is a a disgrace, he proposed rent caps, scrapping the right to buy, scrapping the bedroom tax (the only time it was mentioned – probably because of its unpopularity even a Labour government will scrap it if elected on 7 May)

Our socialist Iranian comrade pointed out to the hustings there were 1 million empty homes, and that 'housing should be held in common'. On a question of working with local faith communities, Danny had the best answer when he spoke about the 'human community', although I feared he was going to do Marx on religion but really that was me wanting to do a socialist exposition on 'religion' along the lines of Feuerbach and Marx !

The hustings switched then to a quasi-Anglican caring capitalism feel when the Vicar's curate made a statement on the plight of Carers in the borough who are paid below minimum wage, are on zero hours contracts, and not paid travel expenses for travelling between clients. Abrams again gave his support as a trade unionist for UNITE, and representing TUSC and Left Unity, proposing £10 minimum wage, and the scrapping of zero hours contracts. I gasped inwardly when the Labour candidate said the minimum wage of £9.15 was a 'reasonable wage' ! although nobody at the hustings felt that the Labour candidate had just revealed her contempt for working people.

Danny pointed out that the Curate had nicely put into words an indictment of capitalism.

5 of the candidates want a more 'caring', 'compassionate capitalism', believe capitalism can be reformed to be better although Danny pointed out several times that capitalism cannot be made to work in the interests of working people.

To round off a peculiar hustings the Tory candidate had the best line right at the end of the hustings when he said 'Finally, what is the use of words. Let us be seen together in Action' which clinched the finale, and was taken from Ovid's Metamorphoses.


Monday, April 27, 2015

Prince's ward hustings

This now confirmed but for Thursday 30 April (not Friday 1 May as originally enisaged).

Danny Lambert, the Socialist Party of Great Britain candidate for the Prince's Ward by-election will be attending the election hustings that will take place at St Anselm's Church, Kennington Cross, 286 Kennington Road, Lambeth SE11 5DU at 6pm on Thursday 30th April 2015

The running order will be drawn by a lot. All candidates will be given 2 minutes for opening statements. Questions will then be taken and at the end and all will have 2 minutes for a closing statement.

Chair: The Revd Angus Aagaard, Team Rector of North Lambeth Parish

Friday, April 24, 2015

Leafletting begins

Leafletting has begun in the Prince's ward by-election (up to now we've been concentrating on the general election: there's another stall in Clapham High Stteet tomorrow from 12 noon). The Tories have produced a glossy A3 leaflet for the by-election despite not having a chance. The other discarded leaflets found were general election ones for Labour, the Tories and Left Unity as well as one of ours (for our archives). There's going to be a local by-election hustings on Friday 1 May, in St Anselm's Church in Kennington,but what a few for the general election?

Friday, April 10, 2015

Prince's ward by-election: the runners

Nominations closed yesterday at 12 noon. There are 6 candidates: Labour, Green, LibDem, Tory, us and "Left Unity -- Trade Unionists and Socialists". No UKIP (no Elizabeth Jones, presumably she's busy trying to get elected MP for Dartford). It's a bit surprising that the Electoral Commission have allowed a candidate to stand as "Trade Unionists and Socialists" as they have refused to allow us to register "The Socialist Party" as a variant of our name on the grounds that this could cause confusion with "other socialist parties". In that case, so should "Trade Unionists and Socialists" but I suppose "Left Unity" in the name is the let-out. In order words, Kingsley Abrams is basically standing for Left Unity.

Since the result of the general election in Vauxhall is a foregone conclusion -- a walk- over for the outgoing MP Kate Hoey -- this by-election could be the centre of political interest in constituency: ex-Labour councillor trying to get back on the council, splitting the Labour vote and letting in the Greens or even, though hardly a realistic possibility, the LibDems (who once held the ward), etc, etc.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

More on Prince's ward by-election

We will be standing a candidate, Danny Lambert, who is also standing in the General Election for Vauxhall. Our nomination papers have already been handed in and accepted.

Left Unity and TUSC are putting forward a formidable joint candidate in ex-Labour councillor, Kingsley Abrams, who is also standing for Parliament in the next-door constituency of Bermondsey & Old Southwark. See here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Another local by-election

A vacancy has occurred in Prince's ward in Lambeth Council. It's in the Vauxhall constituency (it's the area between Vauxhall bridge and Lambeth bridge behind the Oval cricket ground). We'll have to consider whether it's worth standing there. The by-election will be on the same as the General election, i.e 7 May

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Who Will Debate With The Socialist Party in Vauxhall?

The Socialist Party has attempted to debate a number of political parties in Vauxhall as part of the run up to the General Election.

Waleed Ghani of the newly reformed Whig Party agreed but suggested dates in early March that were not practical and unfortunately he is too busy in April to debate with the Socialist Party. We were looking forward to debating topical subjects such as whether to impeach Prime Minister Robert Walpole, or should the 1832 Great Reform Act have extended the franchise to the working class or even was the South Sea Bubble the Wall Street Crash or 2008 financial crisis of its day?

The Green Party candidate Gulnar Hasnain  rejected the call for a debate by saying: "I'm sure we would have a very interesting discussion and would share common ground but during the election period I need to be committed to public hustings and not any organised by political parties."

The Pirate Party candidate Mark Chapman also rejected the call for a debate by saying: "In principle I am in favour of anything which increases public engagement and understanding, and am very willing to put myself forward for any debate or hustings which you, or anyone else, is willing to organise. My only comment would be that it should be seen to be open and transparent, and in my opinion all confirmed candidates should be invited (even if some may choose not to accept)."

We expect to meet up with the above candidates at hustings to be organised in the Vauxhall constituency.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Acting globally

Received a request for an organisation calling itself Simpol (Simultaneous Policy) asking to sign a pledge of theirs. Here's our reply:

Thank you for your email, and request to sign up to your Simpol principles. I'm afraid I cannot.

Whilst the Socialist Party shares your general principles of democracy, co-operation and worldwide action, we see the problems facing the world as stemming from the ownership of the wealth of the world by a privileged class. We do not think the world's problems can be solved until the wealth of the world is taken into the common and direct democratic ownership of the whole of humanity.

Specifically, we think this requires a self-conscious and active movement of people working together, worldwide, and we cannot allow this movement to be divided into nation states or rely on Governments to help us.

If you would like to know more about the World Socialist Movement, please do take a look at our website at

Your for World Socialism,

Bill Martin (Socialist Party Candidate, Islington North).

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A TUSC rally? Lambeth Town Hall 25 February

We distributed a leaflet announcing our candidate Danny Lambert for the Vauxhall constituency to people on Acre Lane and Brixton Hill as well as to about 100 trade unionists protesting against  Lambeth Council cuts yesterday. The trade unionists were representing unions such as UNISON, GMB, and campaigns such as Save Our Schools, Save Our Libraries in Lambeth Borough. Also people from Stand Up to Racism and Fascism were there. The Green Party was in evidence calling for Save Lambeth Libraries. The Labour parliamentary candidate for Epsom and Ewell spoke at the demo as did the ex Lambeth Labour Councillor Kingsley Abrahams who was basically kicked out of the Lambeth Labour Party because he would not vote for cuts.

But it was a TUSC (Trade Union and Socialist Coalition) show. The TUSC parliamentary candidates Unjum Mirza (Streatham) and Steve Nally (Dulwich and West Norwood) spoke at the rally. The large TUSC banner was in evidence. Steve Nally usually stands in Vauxhall for TUSC but has been moved away so that he doesn't oppose the Labour MP Kate Hoey who is a member of the RMT trade union Parliamentary group (RMT are a funder of the TUSC). TUSC are a front for the Trotskyite SPEW political party, of which Steve Nally is a member, as is the UNISON rep who spoke at the protest yesterday. TUSC are also supported by rival trots the SWP. TUSC/SWP shared a stall at the protest. The SWP locally are holding meetings in Brixton in March on Syriza, Climate Change and Selma to Ferguson.

I saw a Left Unity supporter who are standing a candidate in Vauxhall where we are standing.

Will TUSC/SWP supporters in Vauxhall vote for rival trots Workers' Power who are essentially Left Unity in Lambeth?

For the record the SWP endorsed former Lambeth Labour council leader Steve Reed at the Croydon North by-election in 2012 which is staggering considering for years the SWP in its front organisation Defend Council Housing was bitterly opposed to Lambeth Council housing policies under the leadership of Reed!

TUSC's Steve Nally said to those gathered outside Lambeth Town Hall that we should "look to Greece" (ie Syriza) for inspiration which is strange considering the Syriza government has made a deal with the Eurozone and is going to continue with austerity economics when it was elected on an anti-austerity platform...

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Stop the £90m Cuts Lambeth Town Hall 25 February

We will be outside Lambeth Town Hall at 6pm on Wednesday 25 February for the Anti-Cuts demo organised by trade unions such as UNISON, GMB, UNITE, and the NUT. We will be distributing a leaflet announcing that our candidate Danny Lambert will be standing for the Socialist Party of Great Britain in the Vauxhall constituency.

Lambeth Discussion Group

We have set up a new group in Lambeth comprised of members and sympathisers to support the General Election campaign in the Vauxhall constituency. Our candidate will be Danny Lambert.

The new Lambeth Group had it's first meeting on 12 February attended by several members and even more sympathisers. It was decided to hold election/literature stalls in Clapham High Street, and possibly stalls in Stockwell and in Brixton. A leaflet will be produced to be distributed at tube stations in the constituency. It was agreed to contact the Pirate Party, Whig party and Green Party candidates to enquire about debates between our candidate and their candidates.

The next meeting of the Lambeth Discussion Group will take place at 52 Clapham High Street at 7.00pm on Thursday 12 March when candidate Danny Lambert will speak on 'Why I Won't Make a Good MP.'

Friday, February 20, 2015

And now the ex(?)-Trots

One of the handful of Left Unity candidates in the general election will be standing in Vauxhall. Their candidate here is Simon Hardy, formerly of Workers Power, the Trotskyist group who stood in Vauxhall in the last general election in 2010 (and got less votes than us). He has moved on from orthodox Trotskyism but still seems to have a soft spot for Lenin.

Meanwhile the Green Party candidate in Vauxhall in 2010, Joseph Healy ,has also joined Left Unity and is calling on people to vote for Simon Hardy rather than for his successor as Green Party candidate, Gulnar Hasnain.

TUSC is not standing as the sitting Labour MP, Kate Hoey, is a member of the RMT Parliamentary Group and TUSC don't want to alienate RMT. Steve Nally, who we've come across in various local by-elections in Lambeth, has been shunted to the other side of Brixton High Road to contest Dulwich and West Norwood for TUSC.

Friday, February 13, 2015

After the Pirates the Whigs

Talk about back to the 18th century but the Whig Party has been revived and will be standing in Vauxhall. Their candidate will be Waleed Ghani. More on the revived Whig Party here.

For those who don't remember their school history, in the days before the extension of the vote to the industrial and urban midddle class in 1832, the Whigs were the least reactionary section of the landowning ruling class as opposed to their more reactionary section, the Tories. They later became absorbed into the old Liberal Party.

Not sure what we could debate with them. Perhaps: That the 1832 Reform Act should have extended the franchise to the working class? Or: Were the Chartists wrong demonstrate on Kennington Common in 1848 to demand One Man, One Vote?

William Morris had something to say about them (he didn't think much of them). Or, to hear it read, go to:

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Another letter.

Another letter has been published today:

Dear Friend,

an election must be coming. Jeremy Corbyn has been appearing in print around the shop calling for rent controls as a means of curbing the housing crisis. Rent controls, though, have never worked, and never will. They are an attempt to fix the market, and market rates will out, with landlords either letting their stock go to wreck or withdrawing from the market to protect their profit rates.

The only solution to the housing crisis is to build enough homes for all; but the market is patently failing to do this, and never will. If there were enough homes for all, how could a landlord collect rent?

No one can help taking up space, or needing shelter, and no-one should have it denied them because of market whims. Just as no-one can help falling ill, and should not have health care denied them because of market whims. We need housing free at the point of use.

The only way we can get this is through the common ownership of the wealth of the world. Anything less will always see profit (and rents) put before people's need.

Bill Martin Socialist Party Parliamentary Candidate for Islington North.

In the Islington Gazette no online letters page, but there is an e-edition here.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

A flurry of letters

So, I promised letters (I think). Here goes

In the Islington Tribune I also sent one to the Morning Star, that appears not to have been published. Text below:
Dear Friend, the current debate about "splitting the vote" in Croydon is missing the point. If people are in organisations so similar that they are robbing each other's votes, then they should become one party. The fact that they are not one party suggests they are putting forward different policies and different choices for the electorate, and should have no shame in standing their ground. As Eugene Debbs said: "It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it." The Socialist Party will be standing in ten seats, to put forward the case for the abolition of the wages system, and will stand irrespective of whoever else puts themselves forward in those seats.
I wonder why they didn't publish that one?

Anyway, another letter has been sent, this morning, to Islington Gazette, this time attacking Jeremy Corbyn, on rent controls. Updates when/if it appears.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

So, while other parties gear up for the long campaign, we chug to the starting line. Activity so far this week: two letters to the press (I'll put them up here once I know whether they've been published or not). At the end of last week I got some interview practice with a student journalist (who was very good at lobbing soft open questions my way). I explained how often we get stitched up by the media. The debacle of the leaders debates shows what a mess it is, rather than being a tool to assist candidates putting their case forward, the media is a tool of power that shapes the debate, and gets to select who speaks. There's not a shortage of air time, over the next hundred days press national and local will not be short of parties to give ten minutes to, surely? We'll have to find a way to reach as many people as we can. Interestingly the student found out about us from the wikipedia article on Islington North (where I'm contesting my first Parliamentary seat). I know Wikipedia isn't for advertising, but, still. But still.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Us and the General Election

As we can't avoid knowing, there will be a general election on Thursday 7 May. We'll be standing two candidates in London (and another 8 elsewhere in the country).

The two constituencies are: Islington North and Vauxhall where our candidates will be, respectively, Bill Martin and Danny Lambert.

West London branch will be organising our campaign in the two Oxford seats (just up the M40 from west London).

A meeting has been fixed for Thursday 12 February at 7pm in our offices at 52 Clapham High Street, SW4 7UN (nearest tube: Clapham North; nearest overground: Clapham High Street) to form a committee to help organise the campaign in Vauxhall.