Bad Result in Mile End

There is no doubt that last night’s election result in the Mile End ward in Tower Hamlets was a very disappointing one, and stands in stark contrast to the brilliant win in the Shadwell ward just over a year ago.

Respect campaigners were expecting to do better, and to give Labour a run for their money – canvass returns and general impressions of the campaign were giving grounds for confidence. So there needs to be some calm reflection and analysis on why the vote was not higher.

There is no doubt that the accrimonious split with the SWP has left both sides weaker. but we should also be clear that George Galloway, Salma Yaqoob and Respect have built up some considerable political capital; particularly strengthened by the absolutely correct alignment with Ken Livingstone during the mayoral election. The challenge now is to see how that political capital can be built upon.

Mile End East by-election result:

Labour 1208
Conservatives 630
Respect 604
Liberal Democrats 110

165 comments on “Bad Result in Mile End

  1. From Mile East on said:

    Labour did very well last night, I thought RESPECT
    may come 2nd but did not. Would I be right in thinking?
    this is END of Respect or coming to END.

    What would Respect really do when Mr Galloway don’t get
    ELECTED in 2010.

  2. The Vengence of History on said:

    Sorry pressed submit button

    Look at the recent scottish election.

    Not bad at all and show there is still some interest in an anti war coalition.

    That being said will Yaqoob join labour do you think? Much better suited to her serious talents.

  3. Peter Cranie on said:

    This really is tough result for Respect, and a bit like our recent Camden byelection, where we also expected to do better but dropped to 3rd place.

    There is now a two party squeeze on votes. The Lib Dems felt it in the London Assembly elections, you can see it in the polls and Labour have recovered from the absolute pit they were in at this time last year.

    I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. Galloway should u-turn on the constituency he is contesting. He will have a stronger case as the incumbent in BG&B and Respect should very quickly make a decision to prioritise it as the seat they will go all out in.

    In my opinion, three seats will be too many to target. A decision needs to be taken now. A spring 2009 election is a possibility, although the probability is still May/June 2010.

  4. We do need to unite on getting Jean Lambert re-elected as a London MEP, tighter this time because London loses a seat so she needs more votes….while she would not claim to be an ecosocialist, her record on trade union, asylum, anti-racist, anti-war is steller….

  5. Still a resonable result even if not the one we wanted.

    A ‘bounce’ factor to Labour in the polls plus Labour are experts at getting in the postal vote which often wins these sort of hard fought by-elections for he big parties.

    I know many are disappointed but well done all who worked so hard – Labour fought this small Council by-election like a genaral election throwing all they had at it, in any normal situation they would not be able to do this.

    We will need to fight even harder next time but stand alone by- elections in key wards/consituencies will always be difficult when the big parties can throw all their many resources, people and money at it.

  6. mark anthony france on said:

    This result is an indication of how the Recession is focusing people and a boost for the Labour Party and Brown. We are however, only at the very start of a clearly prolonged and global economic crisis. I understand the efforts that RESPECT supporters put in the campaign and non of that was wasted effort. It will be interesting to see the turn out. I suspect that many voters who indicated support for RESPECT on the doorstep did not actually turn up to the polls.
    RESPECT remains a formidble electoral force and it’s potential for future gains is not exhausted.

    We are in for a long cold and hard winter, but spring will come again.

  7. David T on said:

    That being said will Yaqoob join labour do you think? Much better suited to her serious talents.

    No, RESPECT was by far the best party for her.

    Why would Labour want a woman who has worked, since her early campaiging work, on the Islamist far right? Labour doesn’t need a woman whose first political act, was to campaign for the jihadist sons of Abu Hamza, when they were caught in a terrorist training camp in Yemen! Labour doesn’t need a woman who published an article arguing for an Islamic State of Great Britain.

    I mean, we’ve got John McDonnell. Why would we need another supporter of terrorism and political extremism?

  8. David T on said:

    Derek!

    While you’re here…

    We’ve found two neo Nazis – one a member of the BNP – who have been selected to fight parliamentary seats for the Green Party, and a whole bunch of 9/11 “Troof” obsessives:

    http://www.hurryupharry.org/2008/10/29/green-ink-green-men-green-lizards/

    http://www.hurryupharry.org/2008/11/18/black-shirt-brown-shirt-green-shirt/

    The Green Party is clearly being targetted by the extreme right.

    What are you going to do to stop people like this running for elected office, who are right wing extremists?

  9. This is a very poor vote for RESPECT. Given all the press releases prior to this election was that RESPECT was going to win or be very close they were way off. Having been put behind the Tories is also a real warning. It seems that those arguing that Galloway does not have a hope in his new constituency come election time are right. The reality is RESPECT will not hold their current seat against Labour. It looks like the chickens are coming home to roost. Remember all the talk of RESPECT going from strength to strength because the revolutionary left had been got rid off. Well heres the results.
    What will be interesting to watch is how sections of the east end organisation peel away once it becomes clear that RESPECT are not about to win more seats.
    The RESPECT conference was massively down on last year, 180 members rather than a claimed 400 last year. This was with any pretence at a real conferecne being dropped etc. Now ayt the time of the split TH repsect claimed 750 members. The SWP argued large amounts of these were not real. It would appear the SWP were right. The stacking up of members to get elected to become a candidate has got you nowhere. Time to wake up an smell the coffee……….the games up..the party’s over.
    I can’t help thinking about Rob Hoveman and Judy Cox. They must be thinking what on earth have we done to hitch ourselves to this rightward moving and declining force.

  10. #8

    “We are in for a long cold and hard winter, but spring will come again.”

    Mark, did you write the script for that Peter Sellars film, Being There?

  11. Prinkipo Exile on said:

    23% of the vote is only a couple of percent down on the 2006 and 2008 votes. The Respect vote is disappointing, but not really “bad”.

    The real story of this by-election is the complete collapse of the Liberal Democrat support into Labour (and to a lesser extent the Tories.)

  12. Get that spin going Prinkipo. I just looked at Galloways articles over the last month in the daily record. They offer a glimpse….its is fawning towards new labour. Galloway wantds to go home to Labour. He is not stupid he can see the way the wind is blowing. Now the real issue is would new labour want him back? Livingstone had something to bargain with, an election victory to come but Galloway is more and more a busted flush.

  13. Prinkipo Exile on said:

    It’s not spin.

    The Respect vote actually increased as a proportion, by 1.5%, compared to May, up 23.7% from 22.2% (GLA Constituency vote – and that’s probably an overstatement because the May vote does not include postal votes and we know Labour have a dubious tradition of getting more of those in their favour).

    Considering that the Respect councillor for this ward, elected in 2006, first resigned from the group 12 months ago and joined the SWP’s breakaway, and then jumped ship to the Tories earlier this year, alongside the other difficulties caused by the SWP split, it is hardly surprising that Respect might have been hit. However the by-election has shown that there is a solid base of support for Respect, but that it will need a lot of hard work to turn into council and general election seats in 2010.

    The vote is actually quite similar to that achieved in 2004 in this ward, and from that Respect won the neighbouring parliamentary seat, so there is no reason to be despondent ,though it is disappointing.

  14. Respect has lost all the Respect……
    I feel for the (Respect)Councillors.
    Does anyone they more Respect Councillors may join labour??

    See…..

  15. Prinkipo Exile on said:

    Sorry I missed a word – that should have said the Respect vote was “up to 23.7%, from 22.2%” in May.

    In the big picture, nearly one in four of voters voting for a clear left wing alternative to the main parties is actually rather good – the sort of thing the left would have only dreamed of a few years ago.

    A former Labour councillor who resigned from the Party over opposition to the Iraq war and privatisation and indicated that in his election statement, scored 27.4% in a by-election in Cambridgeshire last night. Though he actually came last and despite not having a Labour opponent – it was still a good vote for the left in the circumstances.

  16. anticapitalista on said:

    Actually, although ll may be right in the political points he is making re decline of Respect etc, there is no need to sneer. I wish the Left Alternative would get 600 plus votes in any ward in London.

    The fact is that the split in RESPECT has destroyed both groups that came out of it. RESPECT is taking longer to dwindle than LA/Left List, but this should not be a cause for celebration.

  17. nexhmije on said:

    You’re comparing these with GLA and general election results which, as you say, behave differently. Since the LBTH elections of 2006, Respect’s share of the vote has declined from 27.5% to 23.7%.

  18. skidmarx on said:

    #7 “Labour fought this Council by-election like a genaral election”

    And you threw what’s left (right?) of your entire national organisation at it. You won’t be fighting any harder next time. At the general election to focus of most people’s thinking will be even more on real political parties.

    #6 “We need to unite on getting Jean Lambert re-elected”

    This is like what Respect do. Let’s love everyone, but remember the important thing is to support our candidates. At least you’re more straightforward about it.

    From the post- what political capital? What strengthening? As ll has pointed out, the only political capital generated is only in one currency: trying to get Galloway back in the Labour Party; but the amount is less than the equivalent of the 50p it costs to text Galloway’s talk show (plus normal sending charges).

  19. Passing Leftie on said:

    This is a fairly bad result but as has been mentioned there is an element of “squeeze” going on, so should be seen in that context.

    I note that the Left List/Left Alternative have all but vanished.

    What ever happened to a party being, to coin a phrase, a socialist alliance….

  20. Get that spin going Prinkipo. I just looked at Galloways articles over the last month in the daily record. They offer a glimpse….its is fawning towards new labour. Galloway wantds to go home to Labour. He is not stupid he can see the way the wind is blowing. Now the real issue is would new labour want him back? Livingstone had something to bargain with, an election victory to come but Galloway is more and more a busted flush.

    Which CLP would be likely to select Galloway as a candidate if he rejoined Labour? None that I know of.

  21. Prinkipo Exile on said:

    #20 – you are wrong. The naive and incorrect method used to calculate Respect’s share of the vote in 2006 as 27.5% was used in a Excel workbook produced and circulated by a Respect member in 2006 that uses an incorrect methodology for calculating votes in multi-member seats where the number of candidates per party varies. The correctly accepted methodology used by all serious electoral analysts both academic and political is to calculate the average vote for each party standing and use that to calculate the proportion. This universally accepted and correct calculation shows the average Respect vote in 2006 as 24.6% in this ward.

  22. Carole S on said:

    1208′ votes for Nu Labour, they only managed this result with a huge amount of resources and people they have put into winning this seat.
    We Need to remember they are the ‘majority Party’ within Tower Hamlets They could not have put in more effort than they done Fitzpatrick a government Minister was out with his wife and entourage nearly every day sending out thousands of personal letters
    Biggs and his entourage from city hall was also fighting a fight like his life depended on it,
    All the sitting Labour councillors including the three traitors that joined the SWP then the warmongers Nu Labour party were out in force badmouthing George Galloway and Respect.
    They had a large section from Unison out with them,
    On top of that they had the resources from two RSLs throwing all they could into the pot to make sure that Labour won they cancelled events that was planned in community halls as they would not let us have a platform.

    On top of this they had a systematic calling on residents and had the resources to follow them up with reminders to vote they even were doing casework during the campaign with promises to sort out everyone’s problems.

    They was running a call centre from Labour Party offices cold calling constituents they even dressed up fer the occasion with there candidate dressed like an Asian woman to canvass.
    Like what happens a lot of local elections there are pledges and promises made to support a certain candidate.

    They had the resources to produce and deliver the constant changes of leaflets they were putting out
    They put up posters. they were giving out stickers and helium balloons daily no expense was spared and all this for a By election where the seat was filled before by themselves,
    they even wrapped up the postal vote that they are so proficient at. yet with all of this and they could only manage 47% of the vote, with a very low turnout
    They may have one the night but a general election is a different ball game.

    630′ votes for the Tory’s only 26 more votes than Respect us just a party with only one MP a virtually new party in this area and we are still at the teething stage,

    To go up against the big boys and nearly pipping them at the post I would say is very commendable, with our doing things by the book not badmouthing any party working in an area where we did manage the last local elections to get a Respect councillor elected then to have the dirty done on us by him going off to join the SWP then do a complete U turn and join the the Tory boys I would say it was a very fair result.

    Then we come to the Lib Dem’s who only a few years ago were the major force in Tower Hamlets they had total control of the council with a councillor on every ward,
    to be subjected to a vote of only 100′ with them being one of the mainstream parties, with the same manpower and resources I would be burrowing my head in the sand if I were them 110′ not worth the effort really!

    For Respect to amalgamate a vote of over 600 with only 2552 voted cast is very commendable we did not have the resources or the manpower that any of the others had,
    we did not have the postal vote which was over a fifth of the total

    There are still near on a thousand people who believe in Respect in this very small area of Jim Fitzpatrick’s constituency if we calculate that over the area in a general election the results will be far different.

    I am a bit disappointed that we did not win the seat as our candidate was a very honorable and worthy opponent and totally committed to Respect
    I feel that there were some underhand things said about him from other parties that may have affected hos vote
    I was told on the doorstep that as soon as he was voted in he was going to defect we all know that this was not true but that could have been the cause of a very low turnout and end result.

    We now need to dissect how we can grow and prove that we are not like the Lib Dem’s blown into oblivion and look at the vote as 1 in 4 people support Respect in an area that is now Labour that was once Lib Dem dominated area Its amazing what can happen from one week to the next in Tower Hamlets

    In my books that is not a bad result.

  23. Passing Leftie on said:

    “630′ votes for the Tory’s only 26 more votes than Respect us just a party with only one MP a virtually new party in this area and we are still at the teething stage”

    Teething stage?! Respect?! Good lord, you’ve been around for far too long to be at the teething stage!

    Accept this as a bad result but don’t dress it up as some first little baby steps of a small first-time party. You’re the result of a split of a party which was itself a result of a split. “Teething stage” you are not.

  24. terryfitz on said:

    Well people, I really do think that you need to wake up and smell the coffee and to enable you all to do that I will, once again, go over what Respect in Tower Hamlets was.

    When the SWP saw the huge numbers of Muslims supporting STW they decided, in their usual opportunistic way, that the revolution was about to happen and ditched gay and women’s campaigns to attract some of the most reactionary sections of the UK’s population.

    In Tower Hamlets at the 2006 elections they put forward three candidates for every ward but one where they didn’t stand. In each ward they stood two Bangladeshi and one white candidate who was SWP. In every case the Bangladeshis were elected and the white wasn’t. The Bangladeshis voted on stricly racial and religious lines as they were instructed to do by the village elders and power brokers who have controlled Respect from the beginning.

    The SWP had lost control from day one as they had no political power over the very shrewd wheelers and dealers of the Bangladeshi community. The whole Respect project in Tower Hamlets was always about village politics and money. On my desk as type this is a little wooded cut out map of Bangladesh with the districts on it. Do places like Sunnomgong, Hobigong and Maulvi Bazzar mean anything to anyone? No, do I hear you say? Well that is why not a single one of you understands what has been going on.

    I know of one family which has members in all of the four parties in the borough and is involved in the buying and selling of blocks of votes. The Shadwell election last year came about because the sitting Respect member was paid to resign in order to get a by election that Labour hoped to win by buying votes. All that happened was that Respect were able to buy more votes that Labour and held the seat.

    Mile End was different in that it still has a large WWC population who hate Respect and Galloway with a passion. A mate of mine has a small pub round the back of Mile End station and he actually barred Galloway from coming in. When he was canvassing outside he was heckled and booed by the regulars. How can anything be built on this? As for defeating Jim Fitzpatrick, forget it. Deals have already been done, believe me, I know.

  25. Peter Cranie on said:

    @10 DavidT

    We’ve done a quick calculation of the political histories of the people on the list and with just a quick scan we’ve so far come up with:

    ex UKIP 6
    ex LibDem 1
    ex Labour 4
    ex Tory 5 members (1 also ex-UKIP), 6 former Tory councillors plus 4 former Tory PPCs

    However, the Times ran the story on the Greens, which was a bit of mischief making. Both “Greens” were last members some years ago, one of them did reapply for membership after making clear he had made a huge mistake, but was rejected.

    Our party will kick out anyone we found being homophobic, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic or racist. My only gripe is that we might not do it quickly enough, although that is because a due process is set down in our constitution.

  26. skidmarx on said:

    At the end of “This Week” last night, Andrew Neil had a little quiz for Diane Abbott and Michael Portillo about Reality TV nd politicians. “Which politician made a less than purrfect pussy?” After a moment they both went “Oh, George Galloway” in a that’s someone who used to be well-known manner.

    #8 “I suspect that many people who indicated support for RESPECT on the doorstep did not turn up at the polls”

    Next contestant Sybil Fawlty. Special subject, the bleedin’ obvious. That’s going to happen more and more, as first people are too polite to tell you they want to vot for a party that has a chance of winning, ’till gradually people forget who you are.

  27. terryfitz commnet 27 “I know of one family which has members in all of the four parties in the borough and is involved in the buying and selling of blocks of votes. The Shadwell election last year came about because the sitting Respect member was paid to resign in order to get a by election that Labour hoped to win by buying votes. All that happened was that Respect were able to buy more votes that Labour and held the seat”.

    What a fantasist you are. You really do need urgent medical treatment.
    I suggest you take the tablets your doctor advised and have along lie down.

  28. From Mile East on said:

    People keep saying Labour put everything in this election, what did Respect do stayed home having cups tea. Respect was out every night until late at night.
    Mr Galloway was out in Mile East more then ever. Mr Galloway did his best to win as he may stand 2010 in Poplar and Limehouse. RESPECT did everything and PUT everything they had but LOST BIG TIME.

    NO MORE RESPECT LEFT ………… NO MORE RESPECT MP COME 2010

  29. Carole S on said:

    Terryfitz
    why are you so nasty

    The pub behind Mile End as you say you frequent so regularly. Just to assure you someone was telling you a porky Mr Galloway had a very good reception from there and all those that were in the yard drinking all came and shook George Galloway’s hand I know this because I was there!

    On the same day he visited the Mini Cab Shop to a very good reception even putting up a Respect Poster
    The Post office came to a standstill with the gentleman who runs the post office running outside with all his customers with a huge response for Mr Galloway he was there for quiet a while mingling with all the customers and passers by getting photos done with people he even signed a poster for an 80 year old lady who told him she listens to his Talksport show regularly and commended him for standing up to the bully boys that we have running our country
    He spent a while at the Post office which is threatened with closure from your mate Fitzpatrick

    You can badmouth all you want but I saw the true regard that was shown towards Mr Galloway by the everyday people of Mile End
    You can spread your propaganda and lies as much as you like but the truth always comes out Look at the war in Iraq
    If you think that you know so much information and if you know money changed hands as you say for a sitting Respect councillor to vacate his seat for Michael Keith I will contact the anti Fraud and corruption squad to pay you a little visit in one of the establishments that you frequent so ofter for A statement to this effect FITZ,

  30. Dustin the Turkey on said:

    You placed all your chips on a spiv, you based all your party’s policies on his whims and now it’s all turned pear-shaped. What a bleedin’ surprise.

  31. I think you could say of the Tories on the list, that they are the ones who are disappointed at the Tory turn away from racism. Labour… hmmm. Disappointment over Labour welfare policies etc.? Or perhaps these people were racists all along. In which case, why weren’t they spotted by an anti-racist party?

  32. terryfitz on said:

    Simple Red,

    Do you have a share in a restaurant in Brick Lane?
    Have you been involved with the Bangladeshi community for thirty four years?
    Have you lived in Bangladesh?
    Do you speak the language?

    I can tick all the boxes you dim Trot/Tanky. I also have it on reliable information that Salma Yakub is involved in negotiations to join Labour. Funny old world innit?

  33. It is a significant loss of those who betrayed the British people; loss to who wishes to rotten and destroy our British values; loss to advocators of murder, slaughter and betray; loss to advocators of Hamas and Hezbollah. But we all lost the word Respect from our vocabulary to a degrading and humiliating use of George Galloway.

  34. skidmarx on said:

    On a wall in Globe Road someone has written “Welcome to Oblivion”. Perhaps a photo of that might grace the next post on where Respect is going.

    “There are still near on a thousand people who believe in Respect in this very small area of Jim Fitzpatrick’s constituency if we calculate that over the area in a general election the results will be far different.”

    You lost in a ward that had had a Respect councillor. It’s not going to get any better than that. You can go on for a while about how you get more votes than the Left Alternative, but as votes are the only thing your sad rump ever had going for it, the truth will soon be obvious for anyone without a major disconnect with reality.

    Maybe we should all step aside and let Carole S and terryfitz have a slanging match, as there is little more to be said about politics here I think.

  35. passing leftie on said:

    I have looked at the results and found them quiet promising for the Respect Party.
    I thought that when the SWP and its organization activist and big investors split from Respect that they would take a few years to pick themselves up. but only a year later and they have managed a very credible result they have a strong foundation to work upon and they have pushed the Liberals into the kerbside They have shown that they are a force with a small skillful organised network, that is sure to grow.
    The conference they held in Bishopsgate last month was attended by a colleague of mine and they only had good things to say about the set up and the content and the enthusiasm on the conference.
    I deafinitely would not look at them as a finished or defeated Party in fact I would commend them for there tenacity and sheer enthusiasm by being able to march forward with all that they have had put on them.
    In fact I will tip my hat to them and congratulate them on a job very well done.

  36. The Vengence of History on said:

    Hi David T

    I’ll be honest and say that Ms Yaqoob’s political trajectory has not been my life’s major study.

    The stuff I have read seems to be sane unlike most other lefties these days. I assume that she would be welcomed by New labour as the other respect Cllrs have been.

    Of course it is also fair to mention that people can change their minds.

    VH

  37. skidmarx on said:

    “Just to reiterate we have a great chance of winning this election… Mile End East ward is a crucial swing ward in the forthcoming general election when George Galloway will be trying to unseat Jim Fitzpatrick in the constituency of Poplar and Limehouse.”

    This is from the Respect Renewal site.

    #40 “I have looked at the results and found them quiet promising for the Respect Party.”

    How bad do they have to get before you smell the napalm?

    #41 “left who
    when did they ever stand as a party who are they”

    I might bother to answer this if it made more sense.

  38. So, Carole #32, people shake Galloway’s hands in a pub, and maybe take photos of him on their mobile phones, in a minicab office or at the local post office. What does this prove, politically?

    Nothing. Unless Wendy Richard or Fern Britton, John Sergeant, or Sooty and Sweep are about to stand for election and win. As I bet they’d all have more people (and more genuinely) fawning over them in most pubs, post offices and cab portakabins across the country (including in Mile End), as would most people off the telly. Including Jade Goody, but probably excluding Barrymore. It doesn’t mean they’re going to change the political scene, does it.

  39. Passing Leftie on said:

    Oh eck, two passing lefties on the same thread. I’m the sceptical one 🙂

    I have heard that Left List/Left Alternative have all but given up electoral politics in the North. Is this true?

  40. It is simply wrong to dismiss Galloway as just being a celebrity.

    Firstly, it is wrong in substance as Galloway has been an effective constituency MP, both in delaing with case work, but also taking up progressive political issues of concern to his constituents.

    But secondly it is wrong because George does have a considerable political following, as can be witnessed by the excellent public meetings he does all around the country.

    He does have political capital, and for the right reasons.

    Now certainly George also has his political knockers, and his appeal is not universal. But there does seem to be an unseemly Schadenfreude from some people commenting here.

    Let us put this in perspective. More than 600 votes for a left candidate in an inner city ward is a good result by the historical standards of the British left. It is a bad result for Respect only in the sense that there was a reasonable expectation that we would do better.

  41. I’m not purely dismissing him as a celebrity, Andy. I’m just pointing out the bloody obvious (to everyone apart from the poster of the comment I’m replying to, and maybe to you too): that anecdotes such as

    The Post office came to a standstill with the gentleman who runs the post office running outside with all his customers with a huge response for Mr Galloway he was there for quiet a while mingling with all the customers and passers by getting photos done

    prove, *politically* nothing at all. It’s the same response most people have to meeting someone ‘famous’.

  42. Karl Stewart on said:

    I’m sure it’s a disappointment to you lot not to win, but 600+ votes compared to Labour’s 1200-odd is not too bad a result (and you almost beat the Tories).
    Well done to all Respecters who worked hard in the campaign and better luck next time guys!

  43. Joseph Kisolo on said:

    Not a good result, but not a particularly surprising result given the current political climate.

    The truth we all have to face is the the credit crunch has scared the shit out of people. While there is still a massive layer of people who hate much of what Labour has done (particularly the war), many of them will be won back to voting Labour. This is because Brown appears to offer the only credible plan for steering the ship through the storm.

    Of course Brown plans won’t stop ordinary people being fucked over by the bankers mess. The question is, though, how we build a credible radical alternative vision that people can believe in.

    We will be able to win over 100’s of new recruits (to what ever radical left group we are in) through taking a hard propagandist stance against fat cats etc. By demonstrating outside Northen Rock etc. and by making vague calls for real nationalisation of the banking system. But unless we aim to set out and promote concrete steps in defence of our class, steps that that people can believe in, our days (that’s ALL of us lefties) of having any hope of making huge inroads into the electoral system are over.

  44. #48

    Yes – but if you have been with George when this happens, then you will know that people come up to him and want to express support for his politics. I assume this doesn’t happen with Gary Barlow or Lulu.

  45. Passing Leftie on said:

    Heh, North of England, by all accounts Respect are focusing on nowhere further north than Birmingham, Left List aren’t focusing on elections at all.

  46. terryfitz on said:

    Anonymous,

    I am transliterating the spelling from Bengali. Yes I know that she will be an Urdu speaker but the name is pronounced the same way right across the sub continent. I don’t have a Bengali keyboard but basically the language is structured like latin based ones with vowels and consonents. The difference is that the vowel alters the value of the consonant and can be placed before, after,under or around it. All clear so far? Pay attention at the back there!

    The letter for K in this case looks like a triangle with the apex pointing to the left and the base to the right with a small hook coming down from the top on the right hand side. In this form it is pronounced KO some speakers give it a slight asperation. To make the KU sound the shorter valued of the vowels is used in this case roshoyika and is written underneath. To get a sound resembling koo it would be necessary to use the longer vowel called durguika. As I have only ever seen it written in the first way that is how I transliterated into English.

    There are many different ways of rendering Muslim names into Latin based languages just as English names are spelled differently in Bengali.

    Simple Red,
    Any wiser on how I know what is going on?

  47. Joseph Kisolo on said:

    One important question that, I hope, local Respect members in the area will be asking is 1) Have we recruited a new layer of members during this campaign and 2) If yes what are we going to do with them.

  48. I am interested that Andy Newman is now using the kind of expression that my Stalinist mother would have been proud of. “Absolutely correct”.

    Mile End pub – my arse. The only kind of working class people that I know who like Kitty are the kind who listen to the all-night sports radio (see reference to arse).

    As for the Bengali, well, we know the position of the secularists in Bangladesh regarding Galloway: not very favourable.

  49. swp member on said:

    There is some shadenfreude for those of us who worked very hard for Respect(Classic), then got told in various arenas by various people that we had been holding the project back for the previous 4 years.

    However the comments anticapitalista makes above about not gloating are correct, and the brain must over-ride the emotional hangover of the split. So I take no pleasure in the result, which shows that RR is on the same trajectory as Left list, just with a longer half-life. And the fact that RR will find it very hard to come up with new strategies and reinvent itself, cos of its lack of cohesion etc, means that the decline will almost certainly be terminal.

  50. Yes gloating is a bit silly. The whole left has mammoth tasks ahead. Those are what should focus attention rather then continuing with imagining that anyone wins with point-scoring of this kind. We should leave that behind us. Discussion about genuine political disagreements are useful if engaged in in a constructive spirit however. On this note I really fail to see what political capital was generated by lining up with Ken Livingstone, something Andy still seems concerned to stress. Concretely what did this lead to? Given that the shape of a left alternative to New Labour is still very much up for grabs, these seem to me to be legitimate questions.

  51. Dustin the Turkey on said:

    “Not a good result, but not a particularly surprising result given the current political climate.”

    I do not understand this logic. If people are not going to vote for a radical party during radical times, why do you think they will vote for it when the climate is good?

    “This is because Brown appears to offer the only credible plan for steering the ship through the storm.”

    So why is Galloway not offering a credible plan?

    And is the fact that question sounds so absurb, actually your problem?

  52. The Vengence of History on said:

    Given the failure of all hithero to existing left of labour alternatives it should be pretty obvious that they are a waste of time

    Because the class does not give hoot about ’em

  53. Clive Searle on said:

    Passing leftie (~53) If you travel 95 miles north of Birmingham you’ll find Cheetham Hill and the parliamentary constituency of Blackley (sitting MP Graham Stringer)Respect will be challenging there at the next general election.

    More importantly, I think that the two party squeeze will affect Respect and the rest of the left that stand in elections, rather badly. I’m not one that believes the recession will drive people automatically to the left. I think that for the left, of whatever hue, things are likely to get worse rather than better in the immediate period. The result in Mile End suggests that this is already happening though there are, of course, numerous local factors involved as well.

  54. optimistic Larry Nugent on said:

    Gordon Brown will be brimming with success that Respect could not manage 2nd place.. he will confidently go for a snap spring election now he has Respect on the back heel.

    Get Real, you fast trot losers. Respect is now the established left choice.

  55. I’m gutted about this result.

    23% support is of course excellent, if you’ve got PR. Unfortunately in FPTP it ain’t worth shit. Peter Cranie at #5 is right, the squeeze is on for third, fourth and fifth parties.

    The only small consolation is Carole’s testimony at #25 that Labour had to throw the kitchen sink at it resources-wise. Shame on that Unison contingent! As a union member it annoys me that political fund resources go into this rather than taking on the Tories or BNP. Particularly because Labour don’t have limitless resources, they may look so to Respect, but from their side of the fence, they are pretty skint.

    Which I think is why I disagree with Peter’s idea of Respect retrenching into putting everything into Bethnal Green & Bow. Labour need to be stretched not handed the gift of having a single contest to chuck everything at. And I suspect George would rather go down fighting in an intensely personal battle against Fitzpatrick, and all he is & stands for.

    It’s not over yet for the General Election. The recession is starting to bite really hard, but the full impact has not yet been felt in every household. George has got what it takes to connect with all East Enders in a way that the grey Fitzpatrick has not. As both a master parliamentarian and as a tribune of the people, there’s no contest in terms of political class. This message can still be got across.

  56. Spanish Inquisition on said:

    george is possibly the best wordsmith in parliament today, yes its true respect has lost its thunder, yes its true that last nights result was a smack in the face….with that lets stop acting so much like lefties and get out there and declare war on labour and anyone that stands in our way, one goal, one vision, civil diobedience, east end people want to see what we can do for them now! not tomorrow, not next week.. right now. Have One election pledge.. JUST ONE.. make it the goal and go on an all out war to get it. in order to win the people over, Respect must offer something tangible as a reward. “free parking” for all residents would be a great tool to get the peole of the area. so lets throw as many spanners in the metathorical works as possible and fight till the end.

  57. Gloating about any one on the left getting a poor vote is not acceptable. There’s no point joining in the games of those sectarians on SU who took great delight in gloating about some of the poor results of the LL.

    What’s unfortunate is that Respect polled lower than the Tories. There’s no excuse now to claim that because Renewal can’t use the name “Respect” this confused voters or any other excuse for this disappointing result. It appears that the left is unable to offer an electoral alternative at the moment but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

    Johng raises the issue of Renewals support for New Labour in May. It’s quite obvious that this has done Renewal no favours. Livingstone still believes he’s running London yet his policies are very similar to Johnson’s. Any pretence at working with Renewal was quickly jettisoned by Ken after the election.

    It’s also interesting to hear the phrase “the Brown bounce” used to excuse this poor result. Is that similar to the Brown bounce ridiculed by Renewal supporters in the past? Or is this a different Renewal Brown bounce?

  58. I am not one to gloat, well ok just a bit. I confess to being cheered up by this stonking disaster by Galloway and his merry band. But comrades are right and I was wrong. It seems the electoral advances of the left are going to be difficult as Clive Searle argues above. Which of course means those of us whose primary aim is to build a revolutianary left and see contesting elections as a tactical question in better heart than those who see it as the end in itself. I seriously see Galloway as wanting to go back to Labour. I am not convinved he will get there, but look at the articles in the daily record over the last month. They are all pathetic prasises for New Labour. Galloway latest attempt to jump in with Livingstone and some popular front nonsense about London is typical. Galloway reminds me of Scargill.. brilliant in the strike but then wider politics are poor and gets worse as time moves on….Galloway on war in Iraq (and elsehwere to be fair) brilliant… wider politics very poor and leading a party to the brink of extinction. I am hearing that inside the RESPECT leadership these is some shock at this result. What on earth does Hoveman think about this now? all those years a revolutionary to be squandered for nothing.

  59. The so-called “two party squeeze” isn’t the cause of this poor result. The result is a product of not having left unity with a clear set of arguments to challenge Brown and Co.
    Supporting Ken didn’t do Renewal any favours – it just muddied the political waters. Why vote Renewal when at a crucial moment for the left it supported New Labour? Voters aren’t stupid nor do they forget so easily.
    Isolated groups on the left will get nowhere electorally. This was one of the conclusions at The Convention of the Left so perhaps it’s about time we all put more effort into rebuilding some form of unity rather than trying to go it alone.

  60. Jim Monaghan on said:

    I dont know what is more ridiculous, calling this a ‘bad’ result or celebrating a ‘bad’ result.

    To me this looks like a great vote for a left party in the current situation. As they were the only left party in the race then we all have an interest in respect doing well in this by-election.

    I think they did do well, not perhaps as well as they wanted to, but it is a good result.

    And I am glad that they did do well.

    And, I cannot believe that people with so much experience of elections keep making the very basic mistake of trying to predict wider trends form the ‘squeezed’ result of a smaller party in a one-off by-election.

  61. Spanish Inquisition on said:

    #68 maybe not for everyone but who would turn it down, a free residents pass to park anywhere without fear of ticketing. its something that the residents of TH can actually touch. In an age wear politians only offer hope in the future or as a tentative thread of light. also it focuses the fight. the cause….the residents of TH have decided they will refuse to pay for parking outside where they live. every member say NO. it would make a big political bang. just the type of media coup that george could ride to victory. The momentum would carry itself a long…just a thought

  62. Green Socialist on said:

    We (All left of Labour) need to dust ourselves down and re-organise a left alliance free from sectarian bickering and puffed up ego’s like gorgeous George’s.
    I’ve been arguing for my party (Greens) to talk to the rest of the left in order to work on the basis of electoral pacts, standing were we, or they (Socialist Party/Respect/IWCA)are stronger – i’m in a minority here but a growing one!

  63. We all know what Labour stand for (neo-liberalism) and what the Tories stand for (neo-liberalism) but what does Respect stand for? There was a time when Respect had a much clearer political program and strategy. I think that’s part of the problem. Voters don’t know what they’re getting. The Lib Dems get hammered because they vacillate over issues or end up sounding just like the other parties. Respect seems to have adopted a left version of the Lib Dems strategy which doesn’t do it any favours politcally.

  64. skidmarx on said:

    “Gloating about any one on the left getting a poor vote is not acceptable.”

    It could be said that by becoming indistinguishable from New Labour, Respect has forfeited the right to be considered on the left.

  65. Strategist on said:

    #70 Jim, I think you’re in Scotland, operating in a PR context for local and Scottish elections?
    South of the border we don’t have such luxury. George could easily put together the 20% needed to win a seat in a Scottish local authority-type STV multi-member seat, or the necessary 5% or so London-wide to get a top-up seat in a Scottish parliament-type regional additional member system. But it’s win or bust for George in Poplar & Limehouse in an FPTP General Election

  66. #70 Jim, I think you’re bending the stick a little bit here. While I agree that the vote isn’t a disaster it is relatively poor considering it was in a Respect heartland with the amount of resources thrown at it. Forget all the hyperbola from Renewal about the upward and onward growth of their party – that was only ever a fantasy that the rest of the left never took seriously. But it is pertinent to point out that perhaps a more realistic assessment of the political landscape is needed where unity is key.

    I disagree with the two party squeeze excuse. Considering that we’ve just been through a massive economic crisis with millions of people angry at the bank bailouts and the rising food and fuel prices there was a huge gap in the political landscape to make the most of this. The Tories are offering no alternative to Labour and voters know this. What workers are looking for is a credible political alternative and it seems that Respect does not fit that bill for the various reasons that I and others have pointed out. None of the left on its own offers what a unified approach can offer.

  67. Strategist on said:

    Re #17, 24, comparisons with the voting on 1 May,

    In the London Assembly top up seat election, which I think is the best one for showing true political preference, with minimal tactical voting, the vote was:

    Labour 1254 43%
    Respect 476 16%
    Con 383 13%
    LibDem 250 9%
    Green 217 7%
    BNP 94 3%
    Left List 53 2%
    UKIP 27 1%
    Other parties 185 6%
    Total 2939

    Interestingly, Respect’s absolute vote has gone up since 2004 when, in FPTP terms, they “won” the ward:

    Respect 554 24%
    Labour 533 23%
    Con 408 17%
    LibDem 351 15%
    Green 180 8%
    UKIP 126 5%
    BNP 112 5%
    Other 86 4%
    2350 100%

  68. ““Gloating about any one on the left getting a poor vote is not acceptable.”

    It could be said that by becoming indistinguishable from New Labour, Respect has forfeited the right to be considered on the left.”

    I think it is distinguishable from New Labour but perhaps not the left in Labour on many issues which I’m sure makes voters wonder what the difference is.

    Why vote Respect when the left in Labour claim to offer an alternative to Brown? Why vote Respect when on crucial issues Respect supports the Labour left rather than offering an alternative? I don’t think Galloway’s support for Labour in Scotland did Respect any favours either. When he is feathering the nest of Labour, New or Left, it’s difficult to see him as anything but an extension of Labour. Now that he calls most of the shots in Respect I think George himself sees it as an extension of the Labour Left.

  69. Jim Monaghan on said:

    Ray, the squeeze might have a bigger or lesser affect than some imagine. I still think it is wrong to make rash predictions based on one by-election on its own.

    If I lived in that ward I would have voted for respect and would have encouiraged others to do so. In the absence of any other left candidate they are our best option.

    If the vote is “bad” then we cannot tell how much of this “bad” result is down to the voters attitude to respect or the whole of the left

  70. Inigo Montoya on said:

    I think that, under the circumstances, the vote has held up pretty well and shouldn’t be automatically seen as a bad vote. The problem is that, since Respect is such an unstable coalition of groups and interests, the fact that it looks like there will be no MPs returned for the party at the next election will cause more instability.

    In truth, I can’t imagine there’ll be much left of Respect as a left-wing organisation after the general election bar a bunch of confused ex-revolutionaries wondering what the hell they’ve been doing for the past couple of years.

  71. Anonymous on said:

    Hey Ray, do you think you could get the SWP to sponser a unity conference? to discuss electoral co-operation on the left? that would work wouldn’t it?

    After all we all want a united left don’t we?

    Funny thing is, sounds like the idiot actually believes the nonsense he comes out with.

  72. The Labour candidate was left wing and a trade unionist

    so the post was purely party political view not Class view

  73. Ger Francis on said:

    The disappointing result is primarily due to fallout from the Respect split. The decision of the councilors feted by the John Rees to jump to the right has undermined our credibility. Having said that, the result is indicative of a serious hard-core support base. It is in the nature of electoral politics that there will be good and bad days. This is not the end of the world.

    Re the smears about Salma Yaqoob from the Islamphobic bigot David T. Dredging up a spoof satirical article of what an Islamic Britain would look like from a student magazine of 15 years ago is pretty pathetic. Ditto his McCarthyite guilt by association method, like implying her support from over a decade ago for a human rights campaign for some Birmingham guys locked up and tortured in a Yemeni jail is evidence of support for Al Quaida.

    As for Ray’s ‘Why vote Respect when the left in Labour claim to offer an alternative to Brown?’ Since we won’t be standing against Labour left wingers at the GE having to make this choice is not something you need to worry about. But if I were you I (regrettably) would not get too excited about their being a great array of left wing Labour candidates to vote for. I can’t think of a single one who will be standing in Birmingham that could be called ‘left wing’ by any stretch of the imagination. And the signs for the future are not good either. At the last Birmingham city council meeting Salma spoke powerfully against, among other things, the council’s plans to introduce academies and their PFI nonsense for road maintaince. Not a single Labour councilor echoed her nor do you EVER see any rebel. On anything. If Respect were not providing that voice from the left there literally would not be any.

  74. passing leftie on said:

    Can anyone let me know the name of another Left MP

    one that is attached to all these successful Left Parties You morons bleat over.

    Bloody excellent result no matter how you try and dissect it the result was a great result for the Left and if anyone who feels that the left needs to unite to prosper why not now get supporting the ONLY Left party with any credibility and Oh yes a Bloody Member of Parliament……

  75. Ger Francis
    How come every time RESPECT has a bad day you fucking blame the SWP. Take full responsibility for your own mess. Respect is heading for the rocks and I think you have been on the captains bridge all along lol. Watch that Iceberg.its called the general election!!!
    Its time for you to stop red baiting the revolutionary left and try just for once to exlain your poor vote.

  76. Ger Francis on said:

    Deary me, II. Calm down. You sound like some rabid New Labourite. As for criticising Rees over his role in Respect, read your own pre conference discussion bulletins. Some contributions are practically calling for disciplinary action against him, including one endorsed by an important district.

  77. extraordinary rendition on said:

    #86 You do realise SWP that your four Tower Hamlets councillors are about to fuck off, one to the Tories and three to New Labour. Oh sorry, that’s already happened.

  78. rob hoveman on said:

    #11 and #67 – ll asks twice what I think. Here are two things I think.

    Firstly, and I’m sure Judy Cox shares this sentiment, I am very pleased I am not in the same organisation as this repulsive sectarian moron.

    Secondly, in circumstances in which New Labour was doing everything possible to undermine Respect with some success, John Rees played into New Labour’s hands by seeking to polarise Respect between an illusory right and left. This idiocy culminated in four Respect councillors resigning the Respect whip to a press conference fanfare orchestrated by Rees in the Bishopsgate Institute.

    How important this event will turn out to be in the undermining of Respect in the longer term time will tell, but that it contributed decisively to the very disappointing result yesterday there can be no doubt.

    For this and this alone, Rees certainly deserves to be thrown out of the leadership of any self-respecting organisation which purports to be interested in advancing the socialist project.

  79. Anonymous on said:

    Bad luck guys, don’t take any nitiv]ce of ciuntsd lik Ii and Ray they’re wankers!!!!!!!!!!!

  80. Ger and Rob I see the line is, as usual, blame the SWP. It’s stretching a scapegoat to link Rees with Renewals disappointing vote but full marks for trying. It’s in your interest to rally the troops and keep the fued going after such a kick in the guts. Where else have you got to go?

    I call the result disappointing because like most of Renewal I was expecting a much better result. As Jim states I would have voted for Respect in Mile End so it’s pretty disappointing that on the back of a financial crises orchestrated by New Labour policies even the Tories beat Respect to the post.

    This result could be attributed to a general mistrust of or disdain for the left or it could be more to do with Renewals confused politics. I’d plum for the latter not out of some desire for vindication of the left – right split theory but because it’s very difficult to know where Respect will stand politically on many issues.

    When Galloway, the figurehead and now the leader of Respect, calls for a vote for Labour in Scotland at the expense of local socialists standing in the election how then can Respect expect to differentiate itself for Labour in English elections? The contradiction is not lost on voters. That’s not Rees or the SWP’s fault – it’s entirely one of Galloway’s, and by association, Respect’s own making. And it flows from the politics that now predominate in Respect.

    I’d encourage those in Respect who do want unity with the rest of the left not to turn further inward by swallowing the “blame the SWP” argument being spun by Ger and Rob for this disappointing result. It’s a cry of desperation.

  81. non partisan on said:

    In the land of the blind, a one eyed man is King

    think you lost your calling somewhere Ray, or maybe right at home just where you are…

  82. Ger Francis on said:

    If Respect in Birmingham had gone through anything like the kind of convulsions that Respect in Tower Hamlets had to endure, I am sure we would be in crisis now. The feud and defections have been highly damaging. This is stating the blindingly obvious. Only a complete idiot would try deny it.

    My axe with the SWP is well ground. They no longer pose a threat to Respect so I have no interest in taking pot shots at them. Do yourself a favour Ray and drop the paranoia, victimhood and knee-jerk sectarianism.

  83. Harold T on said:

    To be honest, had this happened in August or July, then soul searching might have been in order.
    However, given that eyes are focused on responding to national concerns around the economy, there is now a huge element in any election on Labour’s perceived ability to steer through troubled waters. (While Captain Brown insists that the ship hasn’t run aground).
    Labour’s improved performance in Glenrothes was not a local phenomenon, but looks to be more general. (In perspective their hopes have gone from diabolical to not very good at all, but enough to appear respectable and able to secure a vote).
    On SWP – I agree with Ger (#94). The split when fresh in peoples’ minds would have made in impossible to function, but by all accounts, the Respect campaign was well executed on the ground. The SWP, one year on, are not a problem and it’s silly to harp on that one – the world’s much bigger than far left squabbles. Time to move on.
    My view is that Respect didn’t win because it couldn’t. Labour’s credibility in a solid working class area (where getting 1/4 of the vote isn’t bad for us) was greater than we thought and we do need to recognise this.
    Brown is everything we ever said he was, but he isn’t the hopeless wreck of a few months back. If I had been asked a little while back about Salma v Godsiff I’d have said Godsiff should be looking for elevation to the Lords. Now its not going to be so easy to get voters to break from Labour – the split has nothing to do with that.

  84. optimistic Larry Nugent on said:

    87# and 88# Lets build on the Mile End East result and not dwell on the paradise lost mentality of the Single Digital IQ of the groupies of the SWP and others.

    Rob Hoveman we are a young party and at the moment we should be playing the percentage game. Not thinking that our targets should readily fall before us, simply because we have entered the election. they now now we an established party and the days of instant success like george’s and others will be harder to achieve.

    lets prevent the squeeze by building the party membership within the Trade Union and the progressive movement.

  85. “Firstly, and I’m sure Judy Cox shares this sentiment, I am very pleased I am not in the same organisation as this repulsive sectarian moron.” #88

    Ah Rob thats fine but then you have jumped in with some right “repulsive morans yourself” I fear.

    No point rehashing yesterdays news Rob about the split. The issue is whats going to happen to Galloway when he loses at the next election which if we are all honest is going to happen. Why is Galloway waxing lyrical about New Labour in the Daily Record!!! He appears to want to get back. All that cosying up to Livingstone has got you nowhere. I have no doubt when the general election results come in Rob and Ger will be fuming that its all the SWP’s fault.

  86. Futurecast on said:

    George Galloway, Salma Yaqoob and Respect have built up some considerable political capital;

    I’m sorry Andy but I don’t buy that. As far as I can see RR and the LA are equally doomed in their current formation, at tough times for the left electorally, we’re very divided and losing more ground every day as far as I can see!

  87. Futurecast on said:

    Also – while the left will be virtually sitting the next election out, the BNP and far-right will be making huge disaffected voter gains. I think at the very least we should have some sort of electoral pact, not to stand against each other etc. But I don’t see that happening. I also don’t see us winning many votes with our infinitesimal and shrinking electoral memberships.

    While RR and LA are shrinking – the SWP is getting bigger, with students and some workers attracted to radical ideas in the wake of the crisis. This state of affairs helps Britain’s dominant revolutionary party, but it does little in drawing together the activist, parliamentary and trade unionist left. Without any serious unity the left will not be taken seriously by ordinary people.

    I see the CFANWP as the only possible horizon in the near future (although I dislike some of the SP’s anti-swp-banter). The CFANWP looks the closest to attracting union support at the moment. Without the unions on board, we are not going to get the workers on board. The unions will not affiliate to a rev party and it seems damned difficult affiliating them even to a reformist one. But we have to start somewhere.

    And somewhere is not RR or the LA in their current forms. I hate to say it, but that is nowhere. The current lack of unity is frustrating to say the least.

  88. Spanish Inquisition on said:

    as a respect member i know the swp had nothing to do with the poor result, it was of our own making. i wish nothing but good will to ALL on the left, to be honest i dont understand how people can slate members of the SWP when a little while ago we was side by side in solidarity. i will say this…..it will be very difficult to win/retain seats in the next election. we will need all the help from everyone. i am hopfull, yet realistic.

  89. skidmarx on said:

    #83 “The disappointing result is primarily due to fallout from the Respect split.”
    #88 “it contributed decisively to the very disappointing result yesterday there can be no doubt.”

    These post-hoc justifications are entirely at odds with what was claimed at the Respect conference and in the run up to the by-election.Good luck to Spanish Inquisition(maf?) with getting any of his colleagues to face the truth that they didn’t expect; though when rob hoveman is still blaming John Rees for the position he’s got himself in I think help from everyone is going to be an unfulfilled desire.

    #99 Futurecast – that is an intelligent comment.

  90. I am gutted by the result. I think that we in RESPECT are going to struggle at the general election. Without Galloway we will have very little to offer people. I think we should not have had the split. As much as one dislikes what some SWP members say on this site it feels to me that Galloway is looking to get back inside the Labour party and who can blame him in one sense. Not sure about Salma as I don’t know her.Are there any more by elections coming up? The organsiation is a bit demoralised at the moment, what about Galloway doing a speaking tour? we need members fast. The terrain we are fighting on is very hard. Don’t we need some more political knowledge and a theroetical journal of some sort?
    just questions.

  91. Spanish Inquisition on said:

    respet needs a major charm offensive with the wwc of east london. okay so i know that charm is not the lefts raison d’être, but if we are to continue……

  92. 100. And somewhere is not RR or the LA in their current forms. I hate to say it, but that is nowhere…

    I agree.

    The SWP, as far as I can tell, are the only coherent grouping with significant enough ground forces to mount unity offensives that have effect (particularly in elections).

    I must say that I’m beginning to believe that its membership are waking up to the fact that they need to pull its leadership’s head out of its arse (and go for decapitations where appropriate)!

    If they do, then there will be a great deal of renewed energy and enthusiasm that’ll affect the entire left.

    The creeping gains of the BNP should be the first order of business. I can’t see how they can do that without some form of united electoral umbrella in place.

  93. Karl Stewart on said:

    Futurecast at (100) makes several excellent points.
    “Also – while the left will be virtually sitting the next election out, the BNP and far-right will be making huge disaffected voter gains. I think at the very least we should have some sort of electoral pact, not to stand against each other etc.”
    I couldn’t agree more. There is an urgent need for the respective leaderships of Respect, SWP, SP and CPB to meet and start discussing this. Another principle should be to agree not to oppose LRC Labour people. Anyone in these parties should be urging their leaderships to take this course as a matter of urgency.

    I’m not so sure about this tho’.
    “While RR and LA are shrinking – the SWP is getting bigger.”
    The SWP, although it remains a hugely significant part of the UK left, appears to me to be increasingly disorientated and unsure where to go.
    (Compare its unprincipled rightism in amicus with its unthinking leftism in PCS.)

    But Futurecast is spot-on here
    “Without any serious unity the left will not be taken seriously by ordinary people.”

    And I agree with the following too.
    “I see the CFANWP as the only possible horizon in the near future (although I dislike some of the SP’s anti-swp-banter). The CFANWP looks the closest to attracting union support at the moment. Without the unions on board, we are not going to get the workers on board. The unions will not affiliate to a rev party and it seems damned difficult affiliating them even to a reformist one. But we have to start somewhere.”

  94. bargepole problem on said:

    Comrade Power Station you are deeply naive. No-one in their right mind will want to touch the SWP with a very long barge pole for the foreseeable future, at least for them to play a central role in any siginificant united work. Their credibility is shot.

    History will show that they played a decisively destructive role in the most promising electoral left initiative in the post-war period. Far from getting their head out of their arses, they are casting around in the desperate hope of holding themselves together and warding off demoralisation. But they have no coherent perspective.

    You seem to have succumbed to that perennial left-wing optimism that something can be done to make things better for the left. But it really is very grim for the left here in Britain, where even the best of the far left could not escape the sectarianism, small-mindedness and personal antagonisms that have left Britain trailing far behind, for example, Germany and France never mind Greece, in terms of anything positive for the left, and just as a real crisis has hit capitalism worldwide.

    That is why, incidentally, no-one is listening to the pompous and self-serving ramblings of the SWP Central Committee on the broader political stage either. They need a new Cliff but this time round one who will rethink the failed pseudo-Leninist perspectives of the last 30 years.

  95. I think the result really does show that Respect has run its course. If that turns out not to be the case then I would be ahppy to be wrong. It seems clear to most that Galloway wants to go back to the Labour Party. Just take a look at his daily record colums over the last month.
    It would also appear that the SWP is getting its act together. Those like Bargepole who attack the revolutionary left appear to think that Galloway has mmass support but evidence points to the view that his support is limited and declining as the war fades and he cosy’s up to Labour. As for the SP, they have rarely been comfortable in building genuine broad campaigns and seem to me to be deeply sectarian. Secondly the SP are small and as in the PCS prone to bottle it at the crucial moment. Those arguing that voting for strike action in the PCS is ultra left need to have a re think.
    I am of the view that the SWP which no doubt has had a very difficult year is starting to grow moderately. Recent mmeetings and rallies suggest an increase in activity. The SWP by and large held together remarkably well during the split with Galloway. It is clear that there is on the far left no real competition to the SWP at the moment. Thas not to sound smug but to face facts. Those on this site who simply think the SWP are going away or are soe sort of evil need to re adjust. Those in the leadership of Respect who blame the SWP for everyhting from bad election results and poor conference turnouts also need to look closer to home. The prospects for RESPECT are poor. It is very unlikely they will have any MP after the election and this it seems to me will create both demoralisation and members leaving. What that means for George and Salma is anyones guess but they have shown that they can be friendly to new labour when the chips are down.

  96. bargepole problem on said:

    #112 There is no evidence that the SWP have learned the lessons of the idiocies of the last 20 odd years. It would be amazing if they were picking up no-one in current circumstances but none of this amounts to a row of beans.

    You obviously didn’t read what I said. I am not suggesting for a moment that Respect is going to be the alternative. Looks to me like they have real problems, although it makes me sick to see people like Alf crowing over its potential demise and running the nonsense about Galloway and Yaqoob going to Labour. Alf shows all of the charateristics of the old failed hard left – never learn, never change.

  97. David Ellis on said:

    A very promising return for Respect. It looks like the message is slowly getting out that the split is behind it. Well done Carole and co. for the effort put in. A lot of people will have been surprised to see Respect poll 600 plus and will now know that it remains a force and these people will probably be back on side by the gen elec.

    Good to see the ultra-lefts and the pro-war `left’ linking up to try to trash Respect. It makes a very edifying spectacle.

  98. I think David is the one living in a dream world. Look at Galloways Daily Record articles and how soft they are on New Labour. Loving up to Jim Murphy!! praising Darling in the house of commons!!! cutting off callers to his radio show who wanted to raise the murder of De Menzes!! Backing New Labour in Scotland by elections. The evidence is clear that he wants to move back probably based on a realistic assessment of his chances in the general election. Now Bargepole problem seems to think its ok to stick the boot in to the SWP but when someone is critical of RESPECT it sickens him!!
    Lets have some honest debate. I do think the SWP have made mistakes. I do think there needs to be soem changes. No problem about that. What seems to be incapable from RESPECT supporters is any attempt to look reality int he face. A conferecne around 50% the size of last year! a lost by election and a leader looking to jump ship. It doesn’t bode well.

  99. Karl Stewart on said:

    “Alf” “Ray” “II” “E”, or whatever webname the SWP is using today,

    “It would also appear that the SWP is getting its act together.”
    Where is the evidence for this?
    So why is the SWP posing ultra-left in PCS but cosying up to the hard-right in amicus? This is a sign of disorientation not of “getting its act together”.

    “Those like Bargepole who attack the revolutionary left.”
    I think that Bargepole makes some valid criticisms of the left in general. Although I think that his specific attack on the SWP is a little too dismissive, the SWP must be prepared to listen to, deal with and take on board criticism.

    “As for the SP, they have rarely been comfortable in building genuine broad campaigns and seem to me to be deeply sectarian.”
    Yes but there are signs that the SP is reaching out to the rest of the left, particularly through the CNWP initiative – this was particularly evident at the recent Socialism 2008 event.

    You talk of an “increase in activity” as if that were an end in itself. It’s not. Of course, the SWP has initiated several anti-bank bailout protests recently and, although it is right to protest at the bailout, there has also been criticism that some of these events have seemed a little childish and silly.

    “The SWP by and large held together remarkably well during the split with Galloway.”
    No, you lost several experienced comrades.

    “It is clear that there is on the far left no real competition to the SWP at the moment.”
    The SWP is an important part of the left, but there is also the SP,CPB, Respect and the LRC. My point is that there are several significant organisations on the UK left. And there is a real need now to stop seeing this in terms of “competition” and for the respective leaderships to meet and try to agree meaningful political co-operation.

  100. bargepole problem on said:

    The SWP may be a bit bigger than other left organisations, although we are talking the miniscule here. But so what. The “anti-capitalist” events it has initiated or supported have been risible. It has virtually no influence in the trade unions which anyway are hardly showing much combativity at the moment. It has a few student members in the overwhelmingly unmilitant universities. And it has absolutely no electoral footprint. And that is supposed to be the best of the left.

    What it is is very sad indeed. Of course things might change. Hope springs eternal that the “crisis” will come to the aid of the beleaguered and marginal left. But that left is ill-placed to benefit from the crisis. It lacks members on any significant scale. It lacks credibility and it lacks new thinking. Above all, it lacks the humility to look at and learn from what are currently more successful lefts in France, Germany and Greece to name but three countries in which the left looks a lot healthier than it does here in Britain.

    All we get instead is try harder with the paper sales/stalls/public meetings and perfect the exactly right line on everything. Pathetic.

  101. Clive Searle on said:

    What really saddens me is the glee with which some on the left, who should know better, wish to repeat the New Labour lie that Salma is about to join the Labour Party.

    Please, winning a Parliamentary seat is going to be hard enough without this nonsense. Yesterday, Salma was elected unanimously to become the Leader of Respect at the first meeting of the newly elected National Council. Hardly the act of someone looking for a safe Labour seat!

    Can people change the record – or at least come up with a more credible insult.

  102. Isn’t it just another of those rather silly things that just gets repeated on here as if it were fact – like “the SWP posing ultra-left in the PCS” for example? I wouldn’t worry too much about it. But you’re right, it’s a daft thing for people on the left to say.

  103. The Vengence of History on said:

    Clive it is more that Labour is a more sensible place for somebody of her talents than the moribund left of Labour

    But I suppose the Greens at a pinch

  104. Karl Stewart on said:

    Well, regarding the “SWP posing ultra-left in PCS,” contributors such as “II, E, Ray, Alf,” have constantly described the PCS leadership’s decision to suspend strike action pending an offer of new negotiations as a betrayal and as an act of cowardice etc by the SP.
    To be fair to the actual SWP, the one that exists here in the real world, I’ve heard its national secretary Martin Smith saying that he and his party disagreed with the decision and that he was disappointed with it, but that it was certainly not a betrayal or an act of cowardice.
    There is a clear difference in tone if not in policy between real SWP people and people such as II,E etc, who post on here.
    But, having said this, there still remains a clear contradiction between the “left” stance being adopted towards the PCS situation and the unprincipled rightist strategy being pursued in amicus.
    The point I was making to “Alf” was that this is indicative of political disorientation rather than of getting one’s act together.

  105. rachel trickett on said:

    The one thing you can say for the far left is how resilient even the tiniest sect is. You can, if you try very hard, still get hold of the daily Newsline. This must be almost 40 years since the daily Newsline was launched and over 20 years since the WRP split into very small bits. Then you have the CPGB, Workers Power and Permanent Revolution, the AWL, the International Socialist Group and others I haven’t heard of, still fantastically unsuccessful in every way but still with a few members carrying on regardless.

    Even the biggest, the Socialist Party and the SWP have stagnated and gone back and they were never that big in the first place. As far as I can see these groups all have certain things in common, a belief there will one day be a socialist revolution, that it will need a Leninist party built on centralist lines, a belief they are that party, their leaders’ belief that they are Lenin’s rightful heirs and their super-optimisim that the upturn for them politically is never very far off.

    This is why they are so sectarian and why the left is in such a terrible state. They all believe they are absolutely right and eveyone else wrong so even if they are forced into some sort of unity, they are just waiting for the opportunity to do over the right wing opportunists or alternatively the ultra-left lunatics.

    As for the Labour Party, it is rotten and corrupt and the space for the left gets smaller and smaller. Even if George Galloway wanted to return to Labour, they would not have him back. Incidentally I am sure he does not want to, anymore than Salma Yaqoob wants to go to Labour, as anyone reading his Record columns without an axe to grind or anyone listening to his radio shows will know.

    Does this make the Greens the place for the left? The problem is their membership is tiny and inactive. They are more an idea than a party and they have a pretty unappealing record when their members get elected to anything. The only person to stand out is Caroline Lucas and even she is not that good.

    I have to confess it all looks pretty depressing to me, but I hope I’m wrong.

  106. terryfitz on said:

    And some news just in! It turns out that the Respect candidate at Mile End East had previously put himself forward to both Labour and the Tories as a candidate telling both parties that he could bring a substantial block of votes with him.

    He is also involved in the Burdett Rd Mosque which is run by Islamic Forum Europe a front for Al Mujirahoun. Nice people to do business with!

  107. The Vengence of History on said:

    Spot on Rachel

    But as the space for the left becomes smaller we need to regroup so how somewhere and the Labour Party gives us the infrastructure to do so at least in the short term

    The Greens if weak is maybe all to the good and a take over may be possible

  108. The Vengence of History on said:

    Why bother discussing Respect – it is busted flush.

    The whole thing went rotten when Mombiot jumped ship.

  109. Inigo Montoya on said:

    Karl, the SWP isn’t posing ‘ultra-left’ in the PCS, it’s just being left wing as opposed to opportunistic. Do you really buy the ridiculous line that entering government talks which we know will bring nothing was the right thing to do? Calling it off, then trying to remobilise a strike that was called of at 3 days notice a month later, about two weeks before Christmas? Utter nonsense, the SP are part of the right within PCS, their comrades on the left unity caucus wanted to accept the government’s framework for redundancies. Martin was being too polite, it was a shameful decision which has confused and demoralised significant layers of PCS members who I’ve been in discussions with over the past few weeks.

  110. ignorance is bliss on said:

    #124 Terry Fitzpatrick is, as usual, talking out of his backside.

    Al-Mujaharoun, not Al Mujirahoun you ignoramus, no longer exists, being a banned organisation under the government’s anti-terror laws. The Islamic Forum of Europe, which counts amongst its members prominent Conservaive, Liberal Democrat and Labour politicians, including Tower Hamlets council leader Lutfur Rahman, is not a front for Al-Mujaharoun, Al-Ghuraba or even Hizb ut-Tahrir. Nor does it run the Burdett Estate (not Road you ignorant twit) mosque.

    No doubt the rest of Terry Fitzpatrick’s testimony is bollocks too. Come on Tel, ‘fess up you are a front man for the deeply corrupt New Labour Councillor Helal Abbas (formerly Uddin when he was an undischarged bankrupt), strongly tipped to be going to displace Lutfur Rahman as leader of Tower Hamlets council in a palace coup next May.

  111. So when you say “the SWP posing ultra-left in PCS”, you mean a couple of blokes off the internet using some silly overblown language? Ok.

    (I don’t think that there’s a coherent argument that says you couldn’t support strike action in one union and a candidate who is not necessarily the furthest left personally in another, without being disorientated.)

  112. optimistic Larry Nugent on said:

    The SWP ultra left splitters are all coming out of the woodwork. Trying to retrieve a leadership role. Inigo Montoya has conveniently forgot about the SWP going nuclear. Is that still their idiotic opportunistic political position?

  113. Karl Stewart on said:

    Inigo, I’ve never been involved with the PCS and I really couldn’t say whether its leadership’s suspension of strike action pending talks will prove to have been the correct call or not.
    Viewed from outside, the PCS appears to be one of our most combative working-class organisations and it appears that the suspensions of action was the tactical call made in the circumstances by leaders acting in what they genuinely feel is the best interests of their members.
    I certainlt don’t think that the PCS leadership should be characterised as “cowards” or “betrayers.”
    However, the main susbstance of my point was in response to “Alf” at (112) who stated that the SWP was in good health, had not been damaged by the Respect split and was, in his words “getting our act together.”
    Now, whatever the rights and wrongs of the comparitive positions of SWP and SP within PCS, there is no doubt that SWP is taking a line to the left of SP here.
    I contrasted this with the rightist position – backing a full-time official and former Ken Jackson placeman for the leadership against militant shopfloor activist Jerry Hicks – being taken by SWP in amicus.
    My point was that this left-right contradiction, by the same party at the same time, was indicative of political disorientation rather than of getting one’s act together.

  114. Karl Stewart on said:

    Kris, Tacking left in one union and simultaneouisly tacking right in another certainly does not indicate consistency does it?

  115. Karl Stewart on said:

    Arguing against a suspension of strike action pending talks, in favour of taking the strike action regardless of the talks indicates something of the SWP tradition of rank-and-file militancy and is, whether in this instance it is right or wrong, at least consistent with that tradition.
    By contrast, backing a candidate whose background is further to the right than the current incumbent, and pulling out all the stops to stitch up the candidate who is a longstanding shopfloor militant with an examplary record of fighting for his fellow workers is a clear break from that tradition and smacks of a sharp jump to the right.
    The two positions are clearly inconsistent one with the other.

  116. Karl
    At what point do you understand the notion of democracy. Hicks choose not to be selected by the rest of the left. Thats his right of course. But to see you whinge on about the SWP backing the left candidate who was voted to be the left candidate is a bit rich.

  117. I have decieded to stand for “The left” in the East End of London, not sure which seat.. I am sure Karl will campaign for me because I am a socialist umm no need to discuss or select me because umm I am socialist. Knees up mother Brown!!!

  118. Karl Stewart on said:

    No Alf, a small and unrepresentative group of amicus members in SWP – who don’t even enjoy the full support of their own party – does not represent “the left” in any way, shape or form.
    Hicks is supported by two of the larger left organisations in the UK and the remaining significant organisation of the UK left – the CPB – has not formally expressed support for the former Jackson man Faircloth either.
    You need to stop trying to defend the indefensible “Alf.”

  119. Karl Stewart on said:

    Alf, If a left candidate stood for election, and if I agreed with her/his programme, I would be more than happy to support them.
    (Even if they hadn’t previously been to a obscure meeting in Preston!)

  120. I didn’t realise that the Gazzette was just SWP? I was obviously wrong and its all the SWP fault of course. Karl if you could just let me know who was present at Hicks selection meeting then that would clear up a lot of confusion. I bow to your superior knowledge of labour movement. I harboured an illusion that the Gazette involved differnet sections of the left.

  121. Karl Stewart on said:

    Alf,
    Whether or not Hicks can stand in the election will depend on whether he can win sufficient nominations from within amicus itself. This is the formal candidate selection process and we’ll see won’t we?

  122. Yes but Karl I understood that. Its just if you could reply to the following 2 points.
    1. What forces of the wider left were present at Hick’s selection meeting.
    2. Is the Gazette just the SWP?

  123. Karl won’t reply because he doesn’t know and doesn’t care because is doesn’t fit in with his contradictory politics.

    On the one hand he claims it’s wrong to fight against Browns attacks on the PCS while on the other he claims it’s right to split the left vote in Unite/Amicus. Surely a recipe for defeat methinks?

    As for all those bemoaning the state of the left well I’m sure they were saying the same thing twenty years ago. This type of whinging is pointless and ultimately damaging when we’re trying to rebuild the left. What we do need are activists who accept the situation and get on with it.

    Instead of looking inwards at the cause of the lefts problem by blaming each other how about looking outwards and locating the problem where it really lies in the betrayal of Labour and the vicious attacks on workers by exponents of neo-liberalism.

    If the left ever has a real hope of growing then it has to unite and direct its propaganda and the anger of workers at the real cause of the problem, Brown & Co., rather than frittering it away on petty infighting.

  124. Karl Stewart on said:

    (141) I don’t know what you mean by “Hicks’s selection meeting.” The process is, as I understand it, that prospective candidates must pass a certain threshold of branch or workplace nominations to get onto the ballot. There could, in theory I suppose, be a number of “selection” meetings at differenct branches where prospective candidates address them and seek their support. Again, I’m not in amicus, so I’m not entirely sure, but I think that’s the process. I really don’t thimk there is a “selection meeting” as such and, if there was, there’s no reason why a non-member would be invited.
    As to your other question about the political make up of the organisation backing Faircloth’s campaign I really don’t know. I did ask your friend “E” similar questions, but he declined to answer. Perhaps you could ask him again?

  125. Karl Stewart on said:

    Hi Ray, I see you’re talking crap as usual.
    You say that I “claim it’s wrong to fight against Browns attacks on the PCS.”
    Which post did I make that comment Ray?

    And you continue: “on the other he claims it’s right to split the left vote in Unite/Amicus.”
    I don’t think there is more than one left candidate, so the question of “splitting the left vote” does not arise. In my opinion, the left candidate is Jerry Hicks.

  126. Karl
    What I meant by Hicks selection meeting was the following. At what meeting was it decieded by those on the left to stand Hicks for general sec. If I am right Respect state that they are for working with the left. In terms of a campaign to win one of the largest unions in the country then obviously Respect would look to discuss with others on the left which would be the best candidate, what sort of platform, what sort of campaign. It would be a chance to hear other positions and views and at the end to vote on who the left feel would be the best candidate. Then on the basis of some sort of unity to build a challenge to Simpson. This to me seems straight forward. I am therefore asking Karl where this debate and discussion innvolving all who are interested took place and who were in attendance? Its just it appears and I know I must be wrong that Hicks on his decieded to stand. Now of course that is his right, and I am sure I am wrong and he met up wityh a broad spectrum of the left. Its just if you could let me know when or indeed re assure me if this discussion happend with others it would clear this up.
    On the second point. You argue that it is the SWP trying to stitch Hicks up! but I asked if you knew who was involved with the Gazette? is it just the SWP and you replied that you didn’t know. It seems to me rather odd then to make accusations based on no knowledge. I understand that the SWP is indeed involved in the Gazette but as a minoirty within it by some margin. So if you want to say it dreadful and right wing you should also say everyone else involved in it is as well.
    Strange you attack the SWP for being right wing but argue to stop strikes in the PCS!! I prefer to see the left walk the walk and less about talk the talk. So when people here give the SP a good press I take it with a pinch of salt.

  127. Karl Stewart on said:

    Apologies Vengeance, we lost our way.
    Alf, let’s keep to the “gazette thread” on this?

  128. George T on said:

    Inigo, Alf, SWPers – although the SWP is currently upset with the SP leadership of PCS, it still remains in the same Left unity leadership bloc. There has been little to distinguish the SWP from the SP/Left unity leadership at successive Conferences. The SWP has called on its comrades to vote for this SP leadership for many years – the same leadership they now describe as wobbling and some SWPers (no doubt outside the union) argue is unwilling to fight.

    The PCS leadership actually voted to postpone the strike for talks with the employers. The SWP may have been correctly critical of their SP partners as the employer has appeared to offer no concessions prior to this decision. However the SWP should be self critical – why did only 54% of PCS members vote for strike action and why are we no nearer national pay bargaining after several years of their joint leadership with the SP? In addition, why has the PCS no party political fund to challenge New Labour? Why does the union sign up to confidentiality clauses with the employer that leave members in the dark about the ongoing pay negotiations? Why does the Government think it can impose such rotten pay deals on Civil Servants, if their joint leadership is so inspiring and successful?

    The SWP is having a lovers tiff with the SP – no doubt they will still be on the same Left Unity electoral slate next year. The only consistent left opposition in PCS is the Independent Left.

  129. “Hi Ray, I see you’re talking crap as usual.
    You say that I “claim it’s wrong to fight against Browns attacks on the PCS.”
    Which post did I make that comment Ray?”

    Hi Karl. That’s what you are arguing by supporting a halt to the PCS strike even if you don’t want to acknowledge it. You agree with halting the momentum of the fightback of PCS workers for pointless talks with management who are intent on pushing through Browns pay cuts. You are for encouraging demoralisation as the momentum of the fightback is lost over xmas and the new year when it could have been strengthened. You are for letting the union leadership off the hook so that they have a better chance of capitulating to Brown. You agree with one of the most leftward moving unions squandering it’s fightback that is a beacon for all other workers in the country. So when you complain about so-called “fake-lefts” it does seem a tad hypocritical. Need I spell it out any clearer?

    “And you continue: “on the other he claims it’s right to split the left vote in Unite/Amicus.”
    I don’t think there is more than one left candidate, so the question of “splitting the left vote” does not arise. In my opinion, the left candidate is Jerry Hicks.”

    A candidate that ignores the majority of the left in the union, you mean? So you admit that the rest of the left is irrelevant. That the strategy of building a broad left is unimportant. All that matters is who you consider to be so-called “left” enough.

    Once again, you aren’t helping rebuild the left, you are posturing about so-called “left” credentials while at the same time hostile to any meaningful fightback. If, by some miracle, the left vote isn’t split by your strategy, Simpson doesn’t win and Hicks is elected are you going to argue for talks with management if industrial action is voted for by Unite members?

  130. I went to the Respect website as well and I think it is strange that no response from the leadership is forthcoming. Not sure what it means but it appears to let the members stew in the dark. I hear on the blogs a lot of members of RESPECT feel very let dwon by the result and are in the dark. Also heard some feel it should be just Galloway to stand in East London as not enough resources for the two campaigns. Time will tell I guess.

  131. Ger Francis on said:

    II is making a rather sad attempt at shit stirring. Don’t you have anything more useful to do with your time? Take your cue from the rest of your fellow SWP members who are keen to let bygones be bygones. Sectarian obsession rots the brain.

    We had a National Council on Saturday and there was consensus that the result was disappointing; that the defection of the 1 SWP member who was a councillor and the 3 others they influenced to Labour and the Tories had done huge damage to Respect; that despite the split there is a large hard core Respect vote; and that there was definite signs of a Labour bounce. All pretty obvious, although the feedback from the doorstep on Labour was interesting.

  132. Has anyone stopped to consider that the good burghers of Mile End East simply wanted as their councillor someone who was left of centre, someone who was anti-war, someone wbo regularly attends local area partnership meetings, someone who campaigned against strip clubs, someone who will actually speak her mind at council meetings and someone who will attend ward surgeries? Oh, and someone who is not only a trade union member, but who also devotes her working life to one…unlike any current Respect councillor in Tower Hamlets. I’d imagine Rob and Kevin would actually be quite comfortable with someone like Cllr Saunders.

  133. #156 Alan, it’s funny though ain’t it that New Labour only produce a candidate of such high quality when they have Respect to beat. Anywhere else and she would have been kept off the shortlist by the regional office.
    The New Labour teenyboppers at party HQ are laughing their heads off at you.

  134. actually, she stood in bethnal green north in 2006 and lost by 20 votes to the lib dems and beat Respect into third.
    Yep, they’re really laughing at me, Strategist. Stick to what you know if I were you.

  135. 111. Comrade Power Station you are deeply naive…

    Bargepole, naivete carries with it a certain freshness, a bloom, a spring in one’s step that I just can’t carry off any more…

    The SWP is facing a, “shit or bust,” moment but the fact that many of its members know this, and seem to be engaged in efforts to repair, means that one of, if not the, largest left of NuLabour forces in the UK might return to its senses.

    One of the main concerns I have about them at the mo’ is that the obvious “internal” arguments are just that; internal.

    To recover the trust and confidence that’s been lost over the past period much of what’s happening (all of it really) should be open for examination. It would shrink the bargepoles they may encounter.

  136. mile end east is red? on said:

    #156/8 If Rachael Saunders represented in the smallest degreee a threat to the New Labour consensus on Tower Hamlets council, the Blairite arse-licker Jim Fitzpatrick would not have personally promoted her candidacy and campaigned so hard for her. Get real. She is just another charmless careerist sponging off the backs of the impoverished residents of Tower Hamlets.

  137. bargepole problem on said:

    #159 BPS, what evidence is there the SWP leadership are going to change the habits of a lifetime? I see no evidence of glasnost but perhaps I’m looking in the wrong place.

  138. optimistic Larry Nugent on said:

    159@ BPs you are 100% correct , openness should be appreciated and therefore sought.

    However and there is a lot of howevers ………Is it worthwhile supporting a SWP cc makeover? It will still be a pathetic attempt to maintain the status quo by them.

    A good sign will be the sacking of John Rees that must includes an apology from the SWP cc

  139. The Vengence of History on said:

    What actually happened to Rees and German after the purge or are they just never mentioned now?

  140. @160
    What “consensus” on New Labour council? Are you aware of the split in the Labour party there?
    Saunders is from the Michael Keith/Jim Fitz wing, which is v concerned about the influence of the East London Mosque on the Lutfur Rahman wing.
    It is because there is no New Labour consensus that he promoted her (although, actually, her politics are less ‘new’ than his).
    Methinks you need to get real and stop looking at politics in Tower Hamlets through conventional eyes.