167 comments on “Respect – SWP Can’t Use the Name

  1. andy newman on said:

    yes – we can use it.

    Linda Smith is the nominating officer, and electoral law gives the nominating officer discretion over use of the name.

  2. Surely the two ‘sides’ just need to have a fraternal meeting and sort it all out amicably- however, the fact that neither side seemingly can may indeed mean that most working class people darw their own conclusions?

    Persoanlly, though, I think there is something to be said for co-operating anyway e.g. in antideportation campaigns, unions, campaigns against privatisation and anyway Respect as a name- I mean come on it’s not that good is it?

    Smacks too much of Blair’s Respct agenda. Move on I say.

  3. Martin

    Stop speculating on stuff you know nothing about. :o)

    I have studied this as a national exec member, and as Treasurer of Socialist Unity – (you will recall that SU allowed the AWL to use the name in the 2005 general election, and in local elections on 2005 and 2006.)

    As a matter of fact the EC send most correspondence to the party leader, even when it would be more convenient if they sent it to the Treasurer.

    The nominating officer is the key post holder for standing in elections. Everything else can be worked around.

    There are issues though which still need sorting out, and I suggest that the SWP need to negotiate now.

  4. Jason #7

    All along we have been prepared to negotiate. We are still prepared to negoitiate.

    The SWP however preferred to gamble on winner takes all.

  5. Thought you guys said you kicked Respect out of 9 Club Row because we weren’t allowed to use it?

  6. Thought you guys said you kicked Respect out of 9 Club Row because we weren’t allowed to use it?

    What is there in this letter which is inconsistent with that?

  7. Electoral law gives the nominating officer the right to sign nomination forms, use of the name and logo is something different in law I would suggest.

    On what basis would you suggest that? The government agency that adjudicates on all these questions is the Electoral Commission. As I’ve mentioned before, they have a Web site, with lots of interesting documents that can be downloaded free of charge – including rules that specifically relate to party names and emblems.

  8. red flintstone on said:

    Dave has a point. Galloway said it was illegal to continue to let Respect run from his office. He locked democratically elected officers of Respect out of their offices, and confiscated their property in the process. Now we discover that he lied about this, as he has lied about so much else. Galloway has sub let his office those who split from Respect under the Respect Renewal name, while passing these imposters off as Respect. I guess the Commons Standards Committee needs to investigate illegal activity by Galloway. As for this letter, it is meaningless. The author is clearly labouring under a misapprehension about Linda Smith’s circumstances. Self-evidently, they are unaware that Linda Smith is no longer a member of Respect. Had Smith fessed up to the fact that the reason she is unable to sign Respect’s nomination papers is because she is no longer a member, I suspect she would have received a very different kind of response:

    “Stop wasting our time, Ms Smith. You have no right to walk away with the name of a party just because it’s members refuse to vote for you any more. Don’t be such a pillock.”

    Yours sincerely,

    The Electoral Commission

  9. There is no suggestion in this letter that Club Row offices are being sub-let to the national orgaisation of Respect, merely that the Ec wrote to them at that postal address.

    The most obvious aspect of this letter is of course that the SWP cannot use the electoral description.

    BUt there is another very personal problem for Elaine Graham leigh, which is that she cannot stop being the treasurer, with the legal responsibility that entails for expenditure, without Linda Smith’s agreement.

    RR will play this with a stright bat and send all fnancial details to Elaine Graham Leigh, but does she want to continue indefintaly with all the responsibility for compliance, but no control of what expenditure is made, and no first hand knowledge of what donations and loans may be made? that sounds a mugs game to me.

    And what amazing incompetance from John Rees, the SWP went ahead with their unconstitutionalal charade of a conference thinking they were outflanking RR. BUt a simple phone call to the EC to check thei position in advance would have saved all the SWP’s blushes.

  10. Where, exactly, did you get your headline from? The substance of the letter seems to be that changes to who holds which officer positions cannot be settled by one faction alone; the advice is to reach an agreement or, failing that, to seek legal advice.

    Nothing Earth-shattering, really, nothing worth publishing unless you’re desperate for an anti-SWP headline. Or am I missing some sectarian legalese; is there somewhere where it does ban the SWP (by which I presume you mean RESPECT minus Galloway’s splitters) from the RESPECT name?

  11. Galloway has sub let his office those who split from Respect

    It says this where exactly? First, the EC’s records had the Club Row address; this is because nobody had asked for it to be changed. Then, EG-L asked them to change it. Then, they did. It’s not the most exciting story.

    Had Smith fessed up to the fact that the reason she is unable to sign Respect’s nomination papers is because she is no longer a member

    Entertaining as these despatches from DelargyWorld are, I feel compelled to point out once again that, back on Earth, Linda Smith has neither resigned from RESPECT nor been expelled. If she weren’t a member any more, Rees or EG-L would certainly have told the EC.

  12. Dave

    Perhaps you do need to understand the background in electoral law to see the significance.

    Only the nominating officer determines who can and cannot use the name for electoral purposes. That nominating offcier is Linda Smith, and Linda Smith has told the SWP quite clearly that she will not approve any candidates until the outstanding issues are negotiated.

    opinion on the RR NC is I think unanimous or at least overwhelming against letting the SWP use the Respect name. And the power lies with Lnda Smith. The EC have upheld that Linda Smith cannot have that power taken away from her by the SWP.

  13. OK, so I missed the return address. Probably a good idea for RR to get their post sent somewhere else.

    Dave (not Dave): am I missing some sectarian legalese

    I don’t know about ‘sectarian’ (the Electoral Commission?) but the relevant legalese is the bit where it says Linda Smith remains RESPECT’s nominating officer. So no RESPECT candidate gets to stand in any election unless Linda Smith says so. So RESPECT/SWP can’t contest elections – at least, not without negotiating with RR.

  14. Does it mean that Lindzee is now legally free to call herself the “Queen of Sheba” in the upcoming election? It is a question that has vexed many, for so long.

    Perhaps, given the fighting spirit, she might stand under the banner of “Salvestro de’ Medici” given that it’s appropriate, for her at least, to use their name in attacks on ken livingstone…

  15. Aled Dilwyn Fisher on said:

    Let me get this straight:

    A political party organises a Conference.

    A group within the party disagrees politically with another group, and disagrees with how that conference is organised.

    The group, rather than going to the democratically called and delegated conference to debate their political and organisational differences, decides to give itself a different name and organises a separate conference under that name on the same day as the democratically called and delegated conference.

    Then, just because the group includes the Nominating Officer of the political party, they get to keep deciding how the whole party operates electorally.

    Andy, I like your blog and I am very happy to see Derek Wall writing for it. But how can you go along with this? Can you not see why some people criticise it?

    You keep saying that Linda Smith and others did not recognise the legitimacy of the democratically called and delegated conference – so why didn’t she either go to the conference and debate the differences (before leaving if they could not be resolved), or challenge its legitimacy legally?

    As you may remember, I am a member of the Greens, not the SWP, and have watched this with curiosity. A couple of years ago, the Chair of the Green Party (our Nominating Officer too, I believe) put themselves forward for our House of Lords nomination, despite the fact that the party had a clear internal process of democratically electing our Lords nominee (which the Chair ignored, by filling in the form and signing it in his own name). However, he didn’t get a Lords seat and was removed from the post (indeed, we didn’t get any Lord in the end, not that that exactly matters). Can you imagine how undemocratic it would have been if he’d been allowed to take a Lordship?

  16. “Only the nominating officer determines who can and cannot use the name for electoral purposes. That nominating offcier is Linda Smith, and Linda Smith has told the SWP quite clearly that she will not approve any candidates until the outstanding issues are negotiated.”

    I do not give two figs about electoral law Andy, I’m a socialist, I don’t believe in bourgeois laws. Linda Smith is just a name on a piece of paper, it is just one person, she is not the Respect party. If you wanted to ‘negotiate’ this you should have come to the conference and not boycotted it like juvenile dwarves.


  17. It is a disgrace that an unelected body can decide as to whether or not an organisation may or may not use the name it otherwise uses for public purposes on a ballot paper.

    It is a disgrace that socialists happily accept that an unelected body can decide as to whether or not a political body may or may not use the name under which it otherwise functions quite legally.

    It is a disgrace that socialists apear to be believe that running in bourgeois elections under the false colours of a populist party is the way towards the emancipation of the exploited.

    No Respect.

  18. Aled Dilwyn Fisher,

    While I’d agree with you too some extent, for some it a revenge thing. the SWP screws people over, and throses it screwed enjoy it when it screw back.

    That said however I’m supprised just how meany people, once screwed by the SWP, end up in another formation ran by them, may be it’s something akin to stockhome sindrome, but they do appear to be suckers for it.

  19. Oh my goodness ! what a bunch of Bigoted Pillocks you lot of Fractionalist really are.


    Elaine Graham Leigh wrote to the Electoral Commission on- 13th Nov “Yes” you twits the 13th of November when talks were being held to kiss and make up!

    Where did the permission to change the address come from?

    Why were bank account details changed to be sent to a member of staff personal address?

    Who give the permission to shut the constinency staff out of the computers by changing the password?

    Where did all the petty cash go?

    Why was access to the membership lists denied even though there was suppose to be a conference coming up?

    When did she get the permission to do the above you ask.

    On the 11th December at the officers meeting


    “There was a unanimous approval that Elaine be given approval to redirect post from the former office”

    Those in attendance

    Jacki Turner. Richard Brackenbury Salvinder Dhillon Oliur Rahman Elaine Grahame Leigh
    John Rees Lindsey German and two members of staff receiving full time salary’s from Respect

    yes 11th Dec a full month after!

    work that one out.

  20. Patience pays dividends. Its now in the court of the SWP cc to resolve this matter fully by negotiation.

    As I said before, their selection meeting of the 31st will be interesting. They will have to call themselves something other than official Respect.

    Everyone outside the SWP knew it was always going to be a downhill battle for John Rees and the SWP cc. His grasping takeover mentality is finally being undone. Will he think twice before he walks out on negotiations again?. His ego must be crushed by now and his rearguard action a lot weaker by the hour.

    How many last stands can the SWP membership afford him and his motley crew. They are pathetic if they dont ask questions of him.

  21. red flintstone on said:

    Linda Smith split from Respect a long time ago. She has not informed the Electoral Commission about this. As a consequence of this, their letter is meaningless. The nominating officer cannot resign from a party and set up a new party from scratch and deprive the members of her old party of their name. I think you will find the law quite explicit on this. The role of nominating officer technical, ceremonial, not absolute. Galloway’s interpretation would permit the nominating officer of the Tory Party, New Labour and every other party to resign and then flog off the party’s name to the highest bidder. The name of Respect is NOT Linda Smith’s personal property, and only a cretin could pretend otherwise. Smith only ever held the post by means of authority granted her by the membership. She lost the support of Respect’s members. She pissed off. Let her set up her own party. Galloway’s attitude towards Respect parallels those who fought for the counterrevolution in England four and a half centuries ago: those who fought for an absolute monarchy. Had they won, the Queen could simply dismiss Prime Minsters and their governments at her whim. But they lost. The monarch’s role in Britain today is purely ceremonial. Exactly the same holds true for the nominating officer of Respect, and every other political party. If the individual in question refuses to rubber stamp candidates selected by her party, then she gets expelled. Simple as that. In Smith’s case, however, expulsion is not necessary. She walked out of Respect when she set up Respect Renewal with George Galloway and Andy Newman. Now go forth and multiply.

  22. #30

    Obstruction is the only ploy left for you and it is easily dealt with. Your opposition to “Democracy Matters” is well logged on the blog. For all your misplaced abuse on Linda and George, they has shone through and delivered.

    So go forth and disappear, you are a sore pathetic loser.

    Its now post mortem time for the SWP cc. Lets all drink to the death of a clown. (John Rees)

  23. In Smith’s case, however, expulsion is not necessary. She walked out of Respect when she set up Respect Renewal with George Galloway and Andy Newman.

    Tom, do you actually read other people’s comments or is this a write-only medium for you?

    Aled – you don’t challenge the legitimacy of a conference by attending it. Attending that conference would have meant that RR split from RESPECT after its positions had been defeated and its members removed from office, by a purportedly democratic vote of the membership: “OK, you defeat our faction and then we’ll leave”. At the level of the leadership, in particular, this would mean the Chair and Vice-Chair consenting to what they saw as undemocratic manoeuvres aiming to replace them, for the sake of observing the forms of party democracy – i.e. conniving with Rees to maintain the pretence that those manoeuvres weren’t happening.

  24. Can you imagine how undemocratic it would have been if he’d been allowed to take a Lordship?

    Yes, of course. The undemocratic nature of the House of Lords is well documented. It seems the leading echelons of the Greens haven’t read about it yet.

  25. John Rees on said:


  26. On the address:

    I’m only doing this for those who weren’t around. The sectarians and anonymous SWP members posting in here know all these facts, so they’re just doing what they always do: Trying to stir shit.

    It was ruled out of order by Parliament for an MP to sublet his/her offices to his/her political party. It was either Gordon Brown or David Cameron who got caught out.

    Respect had an arrangement where Parliament/Galloway paid most of the rent, cos it’s his constituency office, but the national office of Respect paid some of it and used almost all of the space.

    Parliament, as has been publically documented (which is why the SWP trolls are just shit-stirring), ruled that this was in contravention of the rules – it amounted to a state subsidy of a political party.

    George gave Rees etc. notice to leave – they completely ignored the letter. Having tried to lock Rob Hoveman out of the constituency office and bullied him while he was there, and having used the constituency office to organise the splitting of 4 councillors from Respect, people decided enough was enough – the SWP had ignored completely George’s letter and was bullying his staff.

    So, moving forward, we understood immediately that we could also not, as a platform within Respect, use the same offices. It’s no problem at all to receive letters at that address on the odd occasion, but we moved out of the office.

    You’ll notice that we use a P/O box address for all correspondence, but when Linda wrote to the EC, it was from the Club Row address. There’s no problem with that, cos unlike the SWP, we took steps to make sure we were not receiving any subsidy from the state.

    All along, two things have been really consistent: The SWP/Respect people have made colossal mistakes in their understanding of law (and in their strategy of pretending we don’t exist), and the SWP/Respect anonybots have shown no interest in ever discussing the actual politics of the issue.

    I don’t see either of those changing.

  27. “Flintstones meet the Flintstones there the yabba dabber do da gang”

    Because they certainly ain’t RESPECT!!

    Now let me see didn’t four elected Respect councillors leave the Respect whip and set up a renegade party.
    “remember that one”

    and wasn’t it now let me see.
    “God almighty” oh! sorry- John Rees who set up a press conference – paid for by- now where did that money come from? Oh! yes Respect coffers- well wasn’t this silly little outfit in talks with doing deals with now let me see. The Lib Dem’s.
    (who I know for definite)
    were not interested in the little splinter group,

    what is it you cannot grasp from the thread.

    You who constantly criticize
    you ARE NOT

    “Enough already”!

    crawl back under your stones from whence you came.

    Respect Renewed is not a splinter of Respect we are Respect BUT renewed GET IT! Renewed from the driftwood out there.

    Get your heads from the sand and

    “See The Light”

    by the way do you know about the slander laws?

    I sure Aysha or Rob could give you some advice on them in Georges Constituency Office at now let me see where is that Aha yes Club Row the Constituency office
    at Club Row.

  28. Oh dear what a mess,we have two Respects but only one can use the name – the Respect (Renewal) faction. The other faction – the ones who want to be Respect but can’t be respectful and alredy have a political party called the Socialist Workers PARTY want to be called Respect too. It’s like an episode of the 70s sit come Soap.

    Whether comrades agree with “bourgeios laws” or not they exist, you can’t really live beyond them. You didn’t care about “bourgeois laws” when registering Respect in Scotland despite an agreement not to have Respect in Scotland and when the SSP was in trouble threatening to stand against us. The Electoral Commission are a pain, but it is their rules that is exposing “cash for questions” and the corruption particularly the corruption (or numptiness) in the Labour Party.

    Splits by their very nature are never nice. When the CWI split in 2000, the Scotish comrades never saw a bolt of the money the Militant had accrued. We walked away with just what we had. The SSP split and luckily we were able to keep the name, finances, offices etc but Sheridan et al with assistance from the SWP took money from wages accounts, threatened to make the party bancrupt (and tried to do so). But at the end of the day no one died.

    Splits in Argentina etc usually means someone gets shot. And to my knowledge that hasn’t happened. The SWP just have to get over it – their “united front of a special kind” north and south of the border has not worked. Be honest and just be the SWP – you might like it, instead of hiding behind fronts etc.

  29. So the split is final then…

    all the politics over on Lenin’s Tomb and Mac Uaid and
    all the bickering and vitriol in the SUN

  30. Aled #24

    Linda Smith acted completely properly. She did not simply not go to the conference, she rasied her constitutional objections to it in advance at every appropriate level within the party. The conference was out of rule, and was not constitutional.

    The proper thing for Linda to do then was not to legitimise the conference by attending it.

    We are currently in the situation of a seperated couple who are not yet divorced. Hopefully the ruling that the EC will not allow Linda to be replaced will force the SWP to negoitiate.

  31. And it’s worth reiterating once again the difference in the position of the two sides. Respect Renewal have always said that both sides need to negotiate an agreed settlement. Respect-SWP have insisted that there is nothing to negotiate about because they’re the ‘real’ Respect, ergo there is nothing to discuss. Now, reality is catching up with Rees & Co. Hopefully they’ll see sense and return to the negotiating table. Is that really too much to expect? Time will tell.

  32. Jim Monaghan on said:

    “but Sheridan et al with assistance from the SWP took money from wages accounts,”

    A wee bit more clarification and some evidence that Tommy and the SWP took money from SSP accounts Cat?

    It is a fact that the SSP failed to declare all of the money donated to the party by Tommy Sheridan. It may be an oversight but I believe that they bypassed the rules on declarations for political gain.

    I will give you exact details on this when you supply me with some details over your alleged raiding of SSP bank accounts by Tommy and the SWP.

  33. “Respect-SWP have insisted that there is nothing to negotiate about because they’re the ‘real’ Respect, ergo there is nothing to discuss”

    In some ways it’s worse than that. They pretended we didn’t exist. The SWP’s conference had a motion that talked about “now that the row has been resolved” or some similar form of words.

    As far as the SWP was concerned, the day they claimed we split away was the last day of the row.

    Of course, they also denied that they were in negotiations in the first place, and they still haven’t admitted that they deliberately misled both the Renewal side, and the mediator, before walking away altogether.

    Shit, actually I just realised, it’s the SWP method writ large: Demonise you, push you out, then pretend you don’t exist.

  34. And people like me who are looking for a party to vote for will carry on looking for a party to vote for, or sadly return to New Labour.

    get you act together or die.

  35. ‘And people like me who are looking for a party to vote for will carry on looking for a party to vote for, or sadly return to New Labour.

    get you act together or die’

    good advice methinks – or do you just want to feed on your pyrrhic ‘victory’ instead?

  36. What now happens to the staff that decided to leave Respect to go to another premises and work for the SWP fragment (whilst still receiving there salaries from the Respect Party)

    Where now for the four Tower Hamlets councillors who resigned the whip with the full backing of the SWP to work against the existing Respect Councillors.

    More so what about Eileen Short who is the Political advisor to the Tower Hamlets Respect Councillors
    (surely this is against the SWP guidelines that you can only have one master)
    see 3th Dec East London Advertiser
    ‘Groundhog Day’ for Eileen tedjeory@archent.co.uk

    who is NOW advising the 4 councillors 2 SWP 2 other surely not Eileen.

    Wasn’t KO and RH sacked from the SWP for working with the ONLY Respect MP Galloway?

    case of double standards ‘methinks’

  37. I can’t see how any independent candidate standing as a member of RESPECT would be allowed to use any of the registered party emblems in their publicity, either. (To be fair, I don’t suppose they’d want to use the one with ‘George Galloway’ on.)

  38. Confused on said:

    In 2004 Lindsey stood for Mayor and the ballot papers said ‘Respect the Unity Coalition (George Galloway)’. Surely that must have had something to do with the number of votes she got? Will she get as many this time without that emblem on the ballot paper?

  39. If Lindsey still wants to stand for mayor.

    What flag will she be under?

    What money will she be using to fund her campaign?

    Not the money raised from funds that were raised under the Respect Name?

    A little bit there for any future court proceedings

  40. Passing Leftie on said:

    If this is not sorted out soon, at the GLA elections and Mayoral vote, there will be at least one – if not by the sounds of it nearly half a dozen – candidates from the SWP/Respect/RespectRenewal groupings all standing under the term “Independent”

    And yeah, those of you who don’t want to accept the rule of the Electoral Commission can huff and puff about unelected bodies dictating this and that all you like. Until some agreement is reached, the name “Respect” can only be used by a candidate when that party’s officials allow it; and that person is Linda Smith.

  41. Passing Leftie on said:

    “If Lindsey still wants to stand for mayor.

    What flag will she be under?”

    54) – If she wants to stand as Respect – and the only person who can decide that is, as the letter above clearly states, Linda Smith

  42. Prinkipo Exile on said:

    Presenting a candidate as if they are from a registered party, when in fact they are not, is also probably illegal under electoral law. It’s a grey area if the literature implies/gives the appearance that they are a “Respect candidate” but does not actually say it.

    This is why the SWP’s literature in the Preston and Leyton by-elections says they are “Respect members” not the Respect candidate.

    The leaflet for Barry Hill in Preston is probably okay as there is no logo or title saying “Vote Respect” or similar. It simply says that he is a Respect member (though for some strange reason does not mention that he is an SWP member or what trade union he is a member of).

    The leaflet for Carole Vincent in Leyton probably overstepped the letter of the law and has now been withdrawn from the SWP-Respect website.

    Of course none of this matters unless someone challenges the outcome. But in the event of an SWP-Respect candidate winning or coming close to winning, one of the other (mainstream) parties – Lab, Con or LibDem – could be expected to challenge the result through an electoral petition, on the grounds that the candidate misled the voters. This will probably be an issue in Preston on 1st May, as in theory SWP-Respect ought to be the front-runner for the Town Centre seat. If they give the impression they are a bona fide endorsed “Respect candidate”, they will probably be breaking the law.

    Until now the SWP have chosen to hide their heads in the sand over the law – Hain’s resignation may be making them realise how hight the stakes are.

  43. On the website of The Respect The Unity Coalition

    (“please please let us be the Respect Party because the only thing left with any credibility is the name Respect”)

    Respects screening of the Battle Of Haditha is a success and is completely sold out!

    how kind of all those Respect supporters to continue to raise funds for the Respect Party

    Someone give the organisers a pat on the back.

    Oh great the organisers were fully paid up Respect staff

    Nice to know they only have the Respect Party’s interest far before any SWP fundraiser

  44. Confused on said:

    From the London elects website – http://www.londonelects.org.uk/info_for_candidates/standing_for_mayor_of_london.aspx

    “If you decide to stand as a candidate for Mayor of London and you meet the criteria, you have to complete a nomination form and a signed and witnessed ‘Consent to Nomination’ form. As well as the forms, you need to get 330 signatures from people on the electoral register supporting your nomination: 10 from each London borough and from the City of London. You will also have to pay a deposit of £10,000, which is returned if you get more than 5% of first choice votes in the election.
    If you are standing as a candidate for a registered political party, you must have a certificate from the party. If you want to use the party’s emblem on the ballot paper you must submit a signed request. A candidate not standing for a registered political party can either use the description ‘Independent’ or have no description.”

    I still don’t get how the SWP faction calling themselves Respect the Unity Coalition can put the Respect logo on their leaflets if they aren’t representing Respect legally (i.e. the nominating officer hasn’t signed their form). Surely that is illegal, not to mention dishonest with the voters!

  45. Prinkipo Exile on said:

    Confused: I still don’t get how the SWP faction calling themselves Respect the Unity Coalition can put the Respect logo on their leaflets if they aren’t representing Respect legally (i.e. the nominating officer hasn’t signed their form). Surely that is illegal, not to mention dishonest with the voters!

    You are right – it would be illegal for them to portray themselves as the Respect candidates if they are not endorsed as such. The SWP are in danger of sailing very close to the wind. If they want Scotland Yard crawling all over them, they are going the right way about it.

  46. the EC have clarified that Linda remains the registered nominating officer of respect and only she can sign nomination forms. That’s the beginning and end of her powers. To imply that she owns the party name, or it’s emblems is another matter completely and something over which the EC would clearly have no power.

    Martin, before you start pontificating about what the EC can and can’t do, do you think you could possibly have a look at what the EC actually say they can and can’t do? It’s all in the public domain.

    I supplied a link to a page on the EC Web site which lists the emblems with RESPECT are authorised to use in elections. It’s part of the EC’s register of parties, which includes party names, addresses, officers and emblems. A large part of the purpose of that register is to prevent confusion between different candidates at elections: that’s why the SP can’t stand candidates under that name. I don’t know how you can imagine that an independent candidate would be allowed to use an emblem registered to a party.

  47. I suppose when you’ve lost the activists and support then you’ll try to cling on to anything, not only out of spite but to save face too. Maybe you should concentrate on recruiting some of those 10,000 new members, eh?

  48. Prinkipo Exile on said:

    Actually re-reading Barry Hill’s leaflet, I think it is also sailing closer to a legal minefield than I first thought.

    The SWP’s m’learned friends will be able to argue it doesn’t actually say “Vote Respect” or say that he is the “Respect candidate”.

    However, the question is whether it gives the impression in the mind of an ordinary voter that he is a legitimate Respect candidate.

    In their coverage of the election, the local paper says he is standing for Respect. The Preston SWP website – prestonrespect.org – is given on his leaflet and says he is a Respect candidate. http://www.prestonrespect.org/?p=12 There are numerous references to Respect on the leaflet.

    I have no doubt that when they are out canvassing, his supporters will be saying “Good evening, I am canvassing on behalf of Barry Hill, the Respect Candidate in the by-election”.

    It probably only needs a few affidavits and a bundle of the literature to create a pretty strong case that he is misleading the voters. Of course he’s not likely to come anywhere near winning, so it will probably never come to an electoral petition this time, but they’ll have to be more careful in the other wards in May as Labour, in particular, will be looking for any chance to stop them (Barry himself won’t be standing in May in this ward – the SWP are not prepared to stand in that election against New Labour as the candidate is a friend of Lavalettes).

    Why would anyone worry about this bit of legal trivia?

    Well, one of the points of the PPERA was to prevent candidacies like that of the Richard Huggett standing as “Literal Democrat” in Winchester. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Huggett

    The other point is that if you stand as a candidate with “no description” then the organisation behind your election campaign is not registered or regulated under the PPERA. If you were for example an overseas donor, let’s say the boss of a construction company in Dubai, then you could bypass the law by paying money to an unregistered party, let’s say the Socialist Workers Party, who could then fund an election campaign for an individual who was running under “no description”. If they presented themselves as if they were the candidate of registered party, but didn’t actually register any of the details of the donation because it was not for the registered party, but for the “no desciption” election campaign, then the law would be circumvented. Still with the logic of this?

    Personally I don’t think there’s any way the legal establishment and other parties would tolerate that for one minute. Hence the idea of Lindsey German standing as “no description” but passing herself off as the “Respect Candidate” is a legal non-starter.

  49. And were she to try to do so, then with a combined total (first plus second pref)of 125025 votes last time, the Labour Party for example would have a motivation for legally challenging her.

  50. Adamski on said:

    All this piece of paper that Andy has posted signifies is that the Electoral Commission won’t intervene in an internal dispute within a political party.

    Lyndsey German was elected Respect candidate for mayor at a meeting legitimately constituted. I wonder what the Electoral Commission will make of the nominating officer refusing to abide by the democratic decisions of the organisation? In any legal process, Linda Smith’s refusal to sign the papers of democratically selected candidates would weigh heavilly against her.

    My own opinion is that both sides have equal right and attachment to the name (afterall it was a coalition which everyone built) and really the most straight forward thing to do, if both want it, is to have two organisations called RESPECT – X, and RESPECT – Y. Maybe, RESPECT – PEACE, JUSTICE & EQUALITY and RESPECT – PEOPLE NOT PROFIT or RESPECT (GEORGE GALLOWAY/SALMA YAQOOB) and RESPECT – THE UNITY COALITION

  51. Adam – Your own opinion is not worth anything.

    Linda Snith IS the nominating officer, and SHE gets to decide who can be a Respect candidate. YOU DO NOT.

  52. the digger on said:

    Thank god we have the legal eagles of the SUN urging legal challenges to paid up Respect members, selected as Respect candidates, by Respect members in Preston and London. Without your contribution to socialist unity what a parlous state the movement would be in.

  53. Digger

    We are not urging legal challenges, we are clarifying what the legal position is.

    The arogant assumption by the SWP that the law of the land doesn’t apply to them is part of your hubris.

  54. Adam: ” I wonder what the Electoral Commission will make of the nominating officer refusing to abide by the democratic decisions of the organisation?”

    You are just making a fool of yourself. Please do not speculate on issues of which you clearly understand nothing.

    The legal authority to decide who is a candidate is held by Linda Smith. The Electoral Commission will not take a view on how she exerecises that authority.

  55. Prinkipo Exile on said:

    Digger “elected as Respect candidates, by Respect members in Preston”

    When was that then?

  56. the suggestion of both sides using the name with some qualifier was on the table

    There is a problem here, though, which is that it’s hard to imagine any two variants on ‘RESPECT’ which would get past the EC (cf. SP vs SPGB). In the long run there’s only going to be one group called RESPECT standing candidates in elections.

  57. Confused on said:

    I agree with Andy’s comments about the ‘split’ being like a separation in a marriage. However, the difference is that in a marriage breakup you don’t normally have one side going round trying to keep the name and pretend there hasn’t been a split!

    John Rees told SWP members at the SWP annual conference (I was there) that ‘if we go knocking on doors most people won’t even know there has been a split’. Surely if we are being honest with voters it would be our duty to explain that there had been and then let the public vote as they wish without hoodwinking them into voting for someone on falce pretences?

  58. Prinkipo Exile on said:

    Andy: “Incidently, the suggestion of both sides using the name with some qualifier was on the table, and then the SWP walked out of negotiations.”

    Indeed as I understand it several suggestions were actually made by the SWP CC about what the new names might be for people to go away and discuss/think about. Pity they didn’t turn up to the meeting that was set upt to actually agree it and finish the job. They will pay the price for this particular piece of disengenuity.

  59. Prinkipo Exile on said:

    #73 Phil. That’s why the other component was an electoral coalition/pact. Each side would not compete against the other and would support each others candidates would be the ideal. Again the SWP did not bother to complete the discussions but walked away.

  60. 66 “All this piece of paper that Andy has posted signifies is that the Electoral Commission won’t intervene in an internal dispute within a political party”

    Thats quite a big ‘all’ as it actually signifies that the EC will not intervene on behalf of either party to the dispute. Therefore, in the eyes of the EC the status quo stands- a status quo favourable to RR as it happens…

  61. Adamski on said:

    By the way, why are Respect Renewal keeping secret who was added to their NC as “associate members”?

    Andy seems strangely reluctant to put the names of the unelected, secret committee who are running Respect Renewal into the public domain?

    A secret committee, that doesn’t publish minutes, that is unelected, unaccountable to anyone, untransparent.

  62. Ian Donovan on said:

    The person in the most unenviable position thanks to the SWP’s futile manoevering is Elaine Graham-Leigh. The vesting of ownership of the Respect name to Linda Smith gives Respect Renewal control of the use of the Respect name in elections, but EG-L is legally responsible and accountable for every penny spent. Yet she has no power over how that money is spent and used, none whatsoever. Legal responsiblity without power – that’s the position she is in now. Would you put yourself in that position? I wouldn’t!

  63. Passing Leftie on said:

    Given that the Socialist Party was forced to register as Socialist Alternative, to avoid possible confusion with the Socialist Party of Great Britain, I cannot imagine the EC allowing “Respect – Something Something” and “Respect – Something Else” to be perfectly honest with you.

    Dare I suggest the SWP registering under their own name….?

  64. Confused on said:

    Is it possible that RESPECT (i.e. Linda Smith for this purpose) could sign nomination papers for some people and say they can only appear on the ballot paper as ‘RESPECT (The Unity Coalition), and others can only appear on the ballot paper as ‘RESPECT(George Galloway)’, with nobody being allowed to just use ‘RESPECT’?

  65. Don’t be silly
    standing as the
    even they know that they are unelectable!
    Apart from the few partisan extremists who post there drivel on this thread who else would want to vote for there underhanded way of doing things

  66. For all the indignation, you’re just plain wrong about what you can put on campaign literature. All the test cases are about confusion with candidates in the same seat in the same election.

    I refer you to “UK Election Law: A Critical Examination” by Bob Watt on the question of unauthorised use of party names.

    “There is nothing in PPERA 2000 that prevents the candidates in any way they wish in every place save on the ballot paper… under the legislation as it stands a really determined spoiler candidate may vigorously contest the entire election campaign using the chosen misleading name and description all the way, as it were, to the ballot paper. Their name may then appear on the ballot paper, albeit without a party name or party symbol.”

    Not Scotland Yard or anyone else will be crawling all over it.

  67. #81 I don’t think that would be acceptable as for the Respect(SWP) to stand as ‘Respect – the unity coalition’ would fall foul of the most basic understanding of the words ‘unity’ and ‘coalition’ – it truely would be deceiving the voters.

  68. unseen on said:

    Does this mean that if Labour’s Nominating Officer joined the BNP, then

    *they could nominate BNP members as “Labour Party”
    *The Labour Party couldn’t nominate anyone as the Labour Party
    *Labour couldn’t fire or replace the nominating officer?
    *Nobody could do anything about it?

    This is bizarre. The EC hasn’t made a ruling based on a belief that Galloway is in the right, just that Nominating Officers are somehow inviolable. That surely can’t be the correct answer or it leads to ridiculous places.

  69. Passing Leftie on said:

    “M” – I take that point, and understand that PPERA has a certain “hole” in this regard, but in this specific case, the EC has made it clear in the letter printed above that Linda Smith is the ONLY person in this case who can sign the necessary and relevant forms required for any candidate to use not just “Respect – The Unity Coalition” but ANY (underline, bold) of the alternative descriptions registered with the Respect entry on the EC register of political parties.

    Of course someone can act in the way you describe, but whilst Scotland Yard may ignore it, I doubt a good Returning Officer would turn a blind eye.

  70. m #83

    If that is the SWP’s plan A, I hope they have a plan B.

    How credible will her candidacy be once the Evening Standard pick up on the fact she hasn’t got the support of her own party?

  71. Unseen #85

    This is tedious, do you have no experience at all of how organisations work?

    They have a rule book and a constitution, sometime an organisation will have an internal disputes body. Normally the chair is considered the arbiter of the ruole book, hence the damaging nature of the fact that the SWP held a conference that the chair had declared a priori unconstitutional.

    All behaviour is expected to decided by the rules and constitution, and ultimately there is recourse to the civil courts to decide interpreation of the rules and constitution. In the meantime status quo ante prevails.

    I cannot believe all this bluff and bluster, which carries with it a sense of entitlement that you think you are above the law.

  72. Ian Donovan on said:

    #85 of course not. The LP would just go to the high court.

    The problem is that in this case, if the SWP/Respect went to the high court, they would lose – because of the obvious constitutional violations at the illegitimate Westminster conference.

  73. 85- a nominating officer could still be removed by constitutional means, such as a properly constituted conference.
    It speaks volumes that the SWP does not have the courage of its own convictions to let a court rule on the validity of the disputed Respect conference…

  74. unseen on said:

    Andy and Rob: you’ve missed the point here, which is that the EC has made no determination about the legality – or otherwise – of the SWP-repect conference. Even if there had been no RR and Linda had just lost a straight election, the letter would have looked the same.

  75. An uninformed visitor on said:

    I’ve heard that the ec has told both groups they can not use the name Respect on it’s own, but both groups can use the name with some kind of postfix. I understand also that it takes three ‘officers’ to be present to sign approval of the use of the name Respect on it’s own, is that true, do you need more than just Linda? I’m interested because that would mean no one can stand as ‘Respect’, just as ‘Respect… postfix’, can someone clarify if they have heard anything of the sort?

  76. Passing Leftie on said:

    I wouldn’t take much credence to this “I’ve heard…” stories.

    Take a look at the Register Of Political Parties on the EC website. The ONLY(underline, bold) names which LINDA SMITH (double underline) can ALLOW to be used are those on this entry in the register.

    Anything else is, well, uninformed, visitor.

  77. EC haven’t ruled anything, merely confirmed that Linda remains the nominating officer

    EG-L requested that she be removed. The EC ruled that they couldn’t remove her.

    as pointed out before there is nothing to stop swp-respect using whatever they like on their literature

    Not according to the EC, which has jurisdiction over party names and emblems (as I’ve told you before).

    any junior barrister could make a case that the respect logo etc actually belongs to them and that RR cannot use it- the EC has no power to rule on this.

    This is not true, as I’ve told you before.

    the EC has not ruled that Linda is still the chair or nominating officer, only that she is the registered nominating officer

    This is just nonsense. ‘Nominating officer’ is the Electoral Commission’s own term: it’s the official they recognise as competent to nominate candidates. The registered nominating officer is the nominating officer.

  78. “uninformed visitor” #93

    What you are saying makes no sense.

    It sounds like you have never been a nominating officer, or a candidate or agent.

    Only the nominating officer is required to approve a candidate. No more is required than just Linda Smith. (Of course you also need the agreement of the candidate to use that description, and optionally you need an election agent).

    In fact the EC letter is absolutley clear, Linda Smith remains nominating officer with responsibility for following the requirements of that post in accordnace with the law.

    Linda Smith can still approve candidates to stand with any of the electoral descriptors already registered with the electoral commission.

    What the spin sounds like is a distorted account of the negotiations, where at one stage the SWP did accept that each group could use the name with a qualifier. But this was a negotiated position, and nothing to do with the elec commission.

  79. 91 “Andy and Rob: you’ve missed the point here, which is that the EC has made no determination about the legality – or otherwise – of the SWP-repect conference.”

    No, that is precisely the point- the EC says it is not in a position to make such a ruling itself and for it the staus quo prevails. The EC therefore invites the parties either to sort it out for themselves (negotiate) or seek legal advice (fight it out in court). The SWP has refused the former and knows it cannot win the latter.

  80. Karen Elliot on said:

    It is silly to suggest that the SWP should stand under their own name. They are perfectly well aware that they cannot stand in elections under their full program, not do they wish to do so – that is why they have tried to create alliances with those to the right of them. Unfortunately as it turned out, those to their right turned out to be terribly right wing, relatively speaking, and they’ve had to jettison them. They remain, however, committed in principle to the strategy of the electoral united front – albeit that in order to achieve this aim their partners in future will have to be notional.
    There are many advantages to this approach, especially as the revolutionary core of the organisation will be unopposed by evanescent, notional partners. Their program for elections, of course, will have to be watered down considerably compared to their actual politics. That is why I suggest, in all good faith, that in the age of the internet they follow the example of software companies and call themselves on the ballot paper, eg., ‘Hallas-Lite’, or ‘Rees – Special Edition’.

  81. An uninformed visitor on said:

    No one answered the point about the postfixes? Do you think your former comrades can use the name Respect with a postfix?

  82. Lets be clear – its all over for the SWP-Respect.

    The Electoral Commission is agreed that Linda Smith IS the registered Leader and Nominating Officer for elections for Respect as recognised by the Commission.

    The SWP will never again be allowed to abuse and use the name ‘Respect’ in an election. Their ‘Coalition’ of one Party (just how can you have a Calition of one Party??)- is dead in the water (did it EVER float?).

    Since November on at least two clear occassions RESPECT Renewal have called on the SWP to enter into negotiations to resolve oustanding matters. Their sectarian position has been to pretend RESPECT Renewal disappeared of the face of the earth as they do to ALL who disagree with them (its a big word beginning with A I cant remember). They gambled on a winner takes all position – well my friends they lost and lost big time.

    If now after all this the SWP do not take up the offer of negotiations on outstanding matters, that is still on the table, then all that will follow will be on their own heads. I cant however see them doing this, everything they have done so far tells me it will not happen.

    Who will now in these circumstances work with them on the left? – who will now join their one Party (SWP) Caolition? And who will vote for Lindsey German as a non Respect candidate for Mayor of London while the right attacks, every day, Livingstone for his more progressive policies? Its sad to watch this self destruction and self delusion. Its like watching someone hooked on crack cocaine who every day and minute by minute is going down hill fast but still cant resist that next fix – now that is really sad!


  83. Adamski on said:

    Neil, your comments and sectarianism are quite disturbing.

    So you think that Michael Lavalette, the finest socialist councillor in Britain, elected on a landslide as a Respect councillor shouldn’t be allowed to call himself a Respect Councillor?

    Or Oliur Rahman, the first elected Respect representative doesn’t have the right to call himself a Respect Councillor?

    The trouble is that Respect Renewal’s triumphalism and sectarianism will actually alienate many independents in Respect such as Valerie Wise, former labour leader of Preston Council or Raghib Ahsan, one of the most well known black political figures in Brum – a former Labour Councillor and President of Birmingham TUC.

    I know my own Respect branch is made up of independent trade unionists, environmentalists and anti-war activists, as well as the SWP who have all worked well as a coalition. Some even have sympathy for Respect Renewal, but we have seen no reason to split our organisation, we are united as a coalition.

    Neil’s sectarianism is not going to win these independents to the very small Respect Renewal organisation but rather alienate them.

  84. andy newman on said:

    99 Uninformed visitor.

    No the situation is absolutley clear in law. The SWP cannot use any variant of the name Respect without the agreement of Linda Smith.

  85. Adamski on said:

    Neil says: “And who will vote for Lindsey German as a non Respect candidate for Mayor of London”

    Is this Lindsey German who was elected in a meeting that nobody has disputed the validity of? By what right, do Respect Renewal overturn the democratic decision of Respect members? If Linda Smith is refusing to sign the papers of democratically selected candidates then her position will be seen by all to be untenable.

    I should note that one component of Respect Renewal (Alan Thornett and Socialist Resistance) has stated that they will support the democratic decision of Respect members and call for a vote for Lindsey German.

  86. andy newman on said:


    if noone is contestinging that seletcion process, how come the SWO are holding another meeting on 31st January tp select six more candidates for the list?

    What happened to the original six? if their candidacy is no longer vaid, then nor is Lindsey’s

  87. Neil how sad that for you Respect always = George Galloway. You say how can Respect have a coalition of one party? Leaving aside that you are happy to be in a party that is now based on one person, there are more non-SWP activists in Respect than the total sum of Renewal members. You have no students left and all the most well-known grassroots activists have not opted to join Renewal but to remain with Respect.

    You can keep cheerleading for Renewal/Galloway for a while – but eventually you’ll have to face facts that you really have no footsoldiers left anymore. A few high profile names ain’t gonna get you very far with no one to shift leaflets on the ground.

    But you were always so obsessed with George that you would rather have him all to yourself anyway so, in your eyes at least, you win!

  88. Adamski on said:


    George Galloway announced to the media that your comrades were forming a new list to contest the GLA.

    The obvious conclusion was that the 6 candidates therefore had withdrawn their candidacy.

    Unless, Respect Renewal are going to support the original slate

  89. Mark P on said:

    Adamski said: “So you think that Michael Lavalette, the finest socialist councillor in Britain, elected on a landslide as a Respect councillor shouldn’t be allowed to call himself a Respect Councillor?

    Did Lavalette pick up the title “finest socialist councillor in Britain” at an awards ceremony somewhere?

    There are quite a few socialist councillors in Britain and I think that people like Ian Page or Dave Nellist, with considerably longer and more effective records as socialist councillors might be surprised to hear that they play second fiddle to Lavalette.

    As for whether Lavalette should be allowed to call himself a Respect councillor, I certainly don’t think that any socialist should be looking to the state to decide.

  90. Following Karen’s suggestions (@ 98):

    Solitude Without Parameters
    Simply Wrong in Principle
    Still Wishing 4 Parliament
    So What? Period!

    “Borrow” the Nike swoosh, position it as Socialism As A Service, and let readers of The Independent create their own mash-ups on the website…

  91. I observe that posts on Burslem, the BNP, the left in Germany, and CND on Livingstone, receive about 6 comments combined, and then each and every post on Respect vs Respect-Renewal gets 150-200 comments each. It seems that everyone is waiting for this type of thread, so they can endlessly rehash the debate, whilst debate on other topics is dreadfully suffering.

  92. bystander on said:

    109- I’m an anagram man myself- it always amused me that Socialist Worker was ‘Low Risk Erotics’ and Alex Callinicos ‘Lexical Oil Cans’

    I’ll get me coat.

  93. inf4mation on said:

    It is clear that Andy is committed to the “all power to Linda Smith” as now bestowed on her by the capitalist courts/commission. This is desperate stuff from a guy that claims to be promoting a socialist unity project.

    Red flintsone got it right: “Linda Smith split from Respect a long time ago. She has not informed the Electoral Commission about this. As a consequence of this, their letter is meaningless. The nominating officer cannot resign from a party and set up a new party from scratch and deprive the members of her old party of their name. I think you will find the law quite explicit on this. The role of nominating officer technical, ceremonial, not absolute.”

    I don’t give a toss about the terms of capitalist democracy and it’s whacko legalities although I know some of the left sectarian meta-jokester’s on this site do (simply because it fits in with their immediate anti-swp agenda and particular concept of “reality”). Why would socialists accepts its determinations?

    Ordinary workers don’t like people who claim to be socialist but in practice celebrate the concentration of all electoral power and key party decisions in the hands of one individual – particularly when it’s to their own left sectarian splinter group’s adavantage. For them the argument about the respect name is “settled” because their position is unprincipled and not from a grassroots socialist perspective.

    Tis truly is desperate, desperate stuff – if I was MI5 I’d put Andy his supporters on the payroll. This is deep, deep comedy – but in strange way I kinda really connect with it. But Andy I suspect I’m getting my rocks off on it for different reasons than the majority of your contributors.

    SUN – Suits you.

  94. Scott @110, other threads aren’t suffering because of RR/R-SWP posts. It’s a trend long established across left discussion forums and blogs. For instance, there isn’t much to argue about re: the Burslem dispute, because everyone on here would back their struggle. Also, the overwhelming majority of readers will not have first hand knowledge and experience of the dispute and could well be reluctant to launch a ritualistic denouncing of the CWU leadership, or whatever. However, nearly every *does* have experience of and an opinion on the SWP, which is why threads and posts on them attract commentary, especially if one has a stake in defending/attacking that organisation.

  95. I don’t give a toss about the terms of capitalist democracy and it’s whacko legalities … Why would socialists accepts its determinations?

    There are two answers to that question. If you’re talking about the Electoral Commission, RESPECT has been committed to playing by its rules from day one; if you don’t like abiding by Electoral Commission decisions, don’t contest elections. On the other hand, if you’re talking about the RESPECT constitution (which you seem to hold in equally low regard), that’s not capitalist democracy at all – it’s the democratic structure of a campaigning left party. You seem to want to belong to a party whose National Secretary can expel members whenever [s]he sees fit – but that’s got nothing to do with democracy of any kind, capitalist or socialist.

  96. threspectsurvivor on said:

    #113 –

    So she calls for a second preference for Ken in the Socialist Worker, which has a readership of how many?

  97. “So she calls for a second preference for Ken in the Socialist Worker, which has a readership of how many?”

    Well, she hasn’t called for it. She’s got a column in which she says she will be calling for it.

    Actually, the right thing for a socialist running for mayor to do was to issue a press statement defending Ken Livingstone last week. Aside from helping a victim of a right-wing attack, it would’ve given her more credibility.

    Shame she never had the politics to consider such a thing, instead choosing the very time Ken was most under attack to pen a further attack on him from the left, without any comment on Boris Johnson.

    This is elementary stuff, and she failed. I’m sure Adamski will be along in a minute to tell me it’s not as important as Respect Renewal’s Special Secret Ruling Elite, and that’ll be me told.

  98. There’s a lot of talk on this thread about going to law. It’s worth noting that it’s the SWP who have threatened to go to the police or courts several times. They haven’t, because it’s a bluff. But they are the ones who’ve introduced the legal route.

    The issue about independent candidates masquerading as Respect candidates won’t, surely, be an issue for Scotland Yard, but a narrowly defeated candidate might pursue an election petition.

    As for the undisputed nature of the GLA selection last year – the SWP now dispute that, without stating their grounds, they’ve removed elected representatives and trade union officials with no explanation. They’re in no position to claim that others have broken the law in not living up to their contractual obligations.

  99. inf4mation on said:

    #116 Phil, you seem to be defending Andy’s position re: celebrating the concentration of all electoral power and key party decisions in the hands of one individual. Brilliant.

    Gets me every time.

    Absolutely brilliant.

  100. Well spotted, tonyc.

    She can write now that she will issue such a call. That could be the day before the election. Meanwhile, it’s stick the boot into Livingston.

  101. 124: the SWP can prove that such a situation is illegal and unjust by going to court to declare that Linda Smith has illegally attempted to circumvent the constitutional decision of an association and that members have suffered as a result.

    Why don’t they do that? It will settle things quickly.

  102. red flintstone on said:

    Respect should call for a second preference vote for Livingstone. In the context of what has been going on, I see no possibility that abstention will be argued. However, Andy Newman posted an article by Seamus Milne who defended Livingstone while not neglecting the fact that a credible critique of Livingstone from the left is possible. Since he has not pinned his colours to the mast in favour of a second preference vote, rather than a first preference vote, and since his article made a case that I fully endorse, while supporting Respect standing against Livingstone, it is hardly surprising that Seamus Milne did not elaborate his credible left-wing critique of Livingstone. However, given the fact that Lindsey German was announcing her candidacy for Mayor, it is hardly surprising that the emphasis of her article focussed more on why she was not writing Livingstone cheque. The crucial decision on what to do about second preferences has to be taken before polling day. Waiting any longer is to delay just a bit too long. In general, it is best to delay the decision if there are many factors at play, as there are in the Livingstone case. However, that position changed when the smear campaign intensified to a point where the differences between the two main candidates took on differences that could not be ignored by Respect. Timing is crucial in politics, and a decision on how to respond to this witch hunt, specifically whether or not to recommend a second preference vote took on a new significance. From wanting this decision to be delayed, I came to the conclusion that this was no longer tenable. However, should Lindsey German have taken a unilateral decision and imposed this over the heads of Respect’s membership? Absolutely not. Socialists treasure collective responsibility and democratic accountability. Galloway tells readers of the Daily Record and the viewers of Big Brothers Big Mouth what he thinks, and members of his party have to like it or lump it. The ISG used to advocate the correct response to these maverick tendencies. They insisted that he be brought to book,.The decision about what to recommend vis-a-vis second preferences was never a foregone conclusion. It was always a judgement call. But the decision has an impact on all Respect members. It would be appalling for Respect’s activists to read that the decision had been taken against their wishes. The membership have to become the owners of the decision making process. It would not be good enough for the SWP to take a decsion and ask the rest of Respect to take it or leave it. Bring Respect’s democratically elected leadership together (by means of the internet and conference calls if necessary) and hammer out the pros and cons of what to do about second preferences. I am sure that the entire SWP central committee agree that a second preference is needed. But they cannot take it for granted that the rest of Respect’s leadership agree with them about this. They will lose yet more members if this decision is taken with giving all parts of the leadership an opportunity to take the decision. If there is a minority for abstention, then they will accept the majority decision, provided they have had a fair chance to make their case, and lost in a fair vote. If the SWP want a second preference but actually lose the vote within Respect’s leadership, that causes problems. Either they decide that this is so important that they will ignore the majority of Respect, which will destroy the organisation, and they will need to stand under their own name. Alternatively, they can abide by what they take to be a seriously mistaken position. That calls into question the nature of this coalition. The only way out is for the SWP to encourage more democratic debate within both the SWP and within Respect. Let those with mistaken ideas have their say. Defeat them by persuasion.

  103. Yeah, Delaghy, timing is important. LG announced her mayor challenge nine months ago not last week. She chose to use the Guardian blog to attack Livingston. Her disembling in Soc Work this week could be a sign that the SWP know that she’s made a big mistake

  104. Actually if you read SW’s “Editorial” column you’ll find an extremely grudging recognition or the argument made on this forum for Lindz 1, Ken 2. (if you’re that way inclined).

    I’ve no doubt that there is growing recognition within the SWP CC that, the times, are indeed, a changin’.

  105. Can you post that leader, BPS. Can’t access it. Maybe this is another example of Rees going ape and embarrassing the rest of the CC.

  106. 124: I’m defending (a) an electoral party abiding by the decisions of the Electoral Commission and (b) a democratic organisation abiding by its own rules and constitution. How about you?

  107. Here’s SW’s editorial:

    Respect’s Lindsey German offers a clear and consistent alternative in this year’s race for London mayor. In response to her campaign, supporters of mayor Ken Livingstone have resorted to a tired old theme reiterated whenever Labour faces a radical challenge from the left – “don’t split the vote and let the Tories in”.

    Of course no one on the left wants to see Tory toff Boris Johnson as London mayor. But this is not a “first past the post” election, as there is a transferable vote. Lindsey will be urging the second preference vote of everyone who votes for her to be cast for Ken Livingstone.

    The vast bulk of her votes will come from people so sickened by New Labour’s warmongering and love of the free market they might not bring themselves to vote for any official Labour candidate.

    But on a wider level the argument is simple. If you swallow the reasoning that a left electoral ticket will simply let the Tories in then we might as well pack up and back the likes of Gordon Brown for evermore. This is the kind of self-serving argument you would expect New Labour to offer. The left should reject it.

    Shorter SW: “Vote Lindsey 1 Ken 2 – only don’t vote Ken if you don’t want to, and why the hell should you?”

  108. Thanks, Phil. Typically this piece conflates Livingstone with New Labour. Why not Corbyn or McDonnell? Do the SWP have illusions in them?

    The big question is at kind of campaign is to be run by German’s pals? We’ve seen that, not in vacuous leaders but in a relatively prominent piece adding to a witch hunt during a major with hunt.

  109. Strategist on said:

    Re #133 SW editorial.

    “Lindsey will be urging the second preference vote of everyone who votes for her to be cast for Ken Livingstone.”

    I don’t see how anyone could ask for any more than that. And it underlines that a strong, principled and successful campaign could have been fought by Respect with Lindsey German as candidate had the lunatic hubristic self-indulgence leading to the Respect split never taken place.

    But given that it appears that Lindsey German herself has a big share of the blame for the “nuclear attack” on George Galloway’s staff that triggered the irrevocable split, then it seems to me that she doesn’t deserve our first preference vote.

  110. True, Strategist. Isn’t it also a question of what calling for a second preference means. A 99 per cent tirade against someone, wit bearly mentioning that there is a worse candidate, followed by a perfunctory call for a transfer doesn’t add up to political strategy.

  111. Andy BH on said:


    “Or Oliur Rahman, the first elected Respect representative doesn’t have the right to call himself a Respect Councillor?”

    If you recall (or maybe you’re just hoping that the rest of us don’t), Oliur Rahman resigned the Respct whip on TH Council (with the help and connivance of John Rees), and in so doing lost the right to call himself a Respect councillor.

  112. And I guess Olie will never be going to the voters again as a Respect candidate if he continues to resign the whip and go with John Rees.

  113. Personally, I think it’s vitally important that the name of the coalition, formed by Respect for the GLA, be as distinctly different as possible.

    The SWP seem to have gone collectively nuts! Here are my predictions:

    a) From now till the day of the election SWP foot-soldiers and a small number of less fortunate hangers-on will canvass, argue for, dole out leaflets with and present themselves to the media as Respect-The Unit Coalition [note the singularity, it’s important].
    b) They will present themselves and Lindzee as ‘the Respect candidate’ throughout, while double proof-reading anything that’s going into the mainstream media.
    c) The internal argument used to stiffen morale will be that Lindzee is still a member of Respect and that RespectRenewal is an illegitimate splinter group of right-wing, communalist, electorally motivated careerists.
    d) At some point the media are going to ask who’s who.
    e) At that point the argument (see c) is going to spill out and if the canvassing ain’t going too well they’ll simply calculate that they can get away with it and retain members and supporters.
    f) Voters will be confronted with a ballot form with Lindzee German (To Be Determined).
    g) Dismal results for Lindz will be ‘explained’ by point c. above.
    h) In the aftermath, a new theory of the “United Front – Super Size Me” will be rolled out to the membership, The Organisation for Fiercly Fighting All Labourites (OFFAL).

  114. Confused on said:

    Re #140. I agree with your analysis.

    The most striking thing for me is that the SWP seem to be happy to mislead and lie to the voters in order to score points over Galloway and the other so called ‘splitters’.

    For John Rees to suggest to SWP members that the split in Respect is mainly amongst the leadership and not the rank and file, and that if we go knocking on doors people won’t even know about the split is just ludicrous!

    Where is the political honesty from Rees and the rest of them?

  115. But it just IS mainly amongst the leaders and not the rank and file (as the ISG call them rather comically ‘foot soldiers’). Four ISG members in a room does not really a Respect branch make. Car crash stuff.

  116. JOhn you overestimte your numerical advantage, and indeed the weight that advantage brings.

    In key areas RR has more members than you, and this is also true of Bristol, Manchester and other places.

    In any event, if you can mobiilise a few hundred more activists across london than us, that doesn’t amount to a hill of beans compared to the scale of the city.

  117. Martin Smith Out Of The SWP on said:

    Yeah, I wanna say 3 things about all of this.

    One, and it’s one cos it’s important, you need to think about this, you’re a bunch of wankers.
    Two, You really do look ridiculous, and I just wanna say 3 things about why I say that.

    One, just look at yourselves.
    Two, I’m just despairing about you all. I wanna say three things about why.

    One, Who has time to post to blogs all day, eh? I stand up and I say what’s on my mind. I don’t do email. Who does email? Poncy Galloway supporters, that’s who.

    And I just wanna say 3 things about them

    One, Just look at them. Make no mistake, it’s “one” cos it’s so important. I don’t think the class will listen to them.

    Let me give you 3 reasons why.

    One, Cos just look at them.

    That’s all.

  118. Halshall on said:

    #145 Whoever you are.

    I take it that this is meant to be a parody ?

    If so then why bother, it ain’t funny and even if it was what’s your point ?

  119. Confused on said:

    Re johng @ 143 “But it just IS mainly amongst the leaders and not the rank and file (as the ISG call them rather comically ‘foot soldiers’)”

    With an attitude like John Rees has, where you don’t tell the SWP members what’s going on, let alone the Respect members and supporters up and down the country is it any surprise there is a perception the split is ONLY amongst the leadership. I am quite confident that if the rank and file members and supporters were allowed to know the truth and decide for themselves then the SWP would not be getting away with masquerading as the ‘Real’ RESPECT anymore!

  120. Ah Confused, we’re all simply misguided and if only we knew the full truth we’d agree with you. Its certainly possible. Not a very good argument though.

  121. 148. Not a very good argument but the one that Chris Harman used about RRs socialist component in his recent ISJ article.

  122. The difference being that the revolutionary socialists he was referring to were the ISG and those SWP members who had jumped ship. Whilst Confused is referring to the majority of the membership of Respect the Unity coalition, and attempting to explain why most of them joined the other side. Aside from anything else its not a very good tactical move to accuse people you want to win of either being stupid, spineless, cowardly wasters (the dominant SUN position) or on the other hand dupes unable to tell the difference between truth and fiction (the minor fraternal key). Increasingly it feels like a therapy session for the initiated rather then a political blog.

  123. So it’s OK to describe the ISG and ex-SWP as confused but not OK to describe the majority of SWP members who make up the bulk of SWP?respect as confused. Of course not because the SWP is never wrong is it, John? It’s also not a good tactical move to ascribe specific comments – “stupid, spineless, cowardly wasters” to a entire ‘dominant’ position on a blog but then tactics haven’t been the SWP’s strong point recently.

  124. Confused on said:

    Re Johng @ 148 “we’re all simply misguided and if only we knew the full truth we’d agree with you”. If you prefer to consider yourself as misguided rather than being rational enough to accept there may be two sides to the Respect ‘split’ story then that’s your perogative.

    I was merely trying to raise the point that as a political party (or a ‘coalition’) unless you tell people the truth then you lose all credibility with the very people you are trying to attract.

  125. ‘johng’, you’re right, it is deeply therapeutic.

    ‘Halshall’ (146), sorry but it made me laugh (in a ‘you had to be there’ kind of way’) and I think the point is something to do with a lack of politics.

    But there seems to be some progress (Lindzee may even be publicly encouraged to call for a 2nd pref for KL – publicly, in this case, includes the few ones and twos who *don’t* read SW). And there’s the implicit nod to the split being a leaders vs. led affair by johng. I hope he realises that that works for both sides…

  126. Adamski on said:

    Andy and other Respect Renewal members:

    Why have you consistently refused to name the additional members (or associate members) added onto your NC?

    Why are you keeping details of your unelected leadership body secret?

    Indeed, RR are extremely cagey about revealing much about their organisation.

    I would also contest the deception attempted to imply that Respect Classic is just the SWP when Andy knows full well that it contains a wide range of independents.

    I am a member of a small Respect branch. I’m not a member of the SWP and don’t intend to join the SWP. Our branch includes union reps, environmentalists, LGBT and and anti-war activists. I doubt whether any of these independents will be won to Respect Renewal by their wrecking attempts to stop us mounting a left challenge to the mainstream parties.

    To return to a point made by Kevin Ovenden on another topic, he argues that the crisis was soluable within Respect. I, too, share this view. Where I differ is that I don’t believe that it was solely the SWP who were pushing things to a split, I am of the opinion that Galloway’s behaviour was reprehensible and that key elements of Respect Renewal were very keen to drive the SWP out of Respect.
    The decision of Respect Renewal to walk away from Respect rather than conduct a political fight and discussion within the organisation will be marked down as their downfall.
    Still it’s sad to no longer be able to work with many talented comrades and socialists who I have great respect for in a common project.
    Indeed, Andy has clearly played a very malicious role in creating SocialistDisunity. I don’t believe that this split has advanced the cause of the left and hope that the best elements of the two sides can re-unite as part of some wider re-allignment of the left in England and Wales. As clearly, several small left groups contesting elections on near identical platforms is pretty pointless.

    One step forward, two steps back.

  127. But Battersea you’ve been deeply hostile to Respect since its creation. The only thing you know about any of this is what you read on this and other blogs. And you have no commitment at all to either side in the debate. It must be fun, but its hard to see why anyone should take you seriously. Your only here for the beer after all.

  128. And back in the real world where Respect Renewal grows daily:

    Oxford Respect Renewal meeting,Wednesday 30 January
    Oxford supporters of Respect Renewal have organized a meeting early in the term of the city’s two Universities, to follow up the very successful mobilization of students last year against the invitation to BNP leader Nick Griffin and holocaust-denying “historian” David Irving to speak at the Oxford Union (a private members’ club).

    The meeting, in the Town Hall on January 30 (7.30pm), will feature Respect MP George Galloway, local Stop the War activist Ed Griffiths, and other speakers from local campaigns, and will be chaired by John Lister, health campaigner and joint editor of the new Respect newspaper.

    The main theme will be the need for a new, progressive alternative to the bungling and reactionary New Labour government of Gordon Brown, which is now threatening real terms pay cuts for 5 million public sector workers every year for the next year years.

    As the leaflet says – “working people deserve better than New Labour: let’s build it”.


  129. ‘johng’ (155).

    Johng, you should still be able to differentiate between being critical and “deeply hostile”. My beef with the SWP is that it wasn’t and then it was (toward RR). I *am* deeply hostile to the type of “politicking” embodied by certain members of your Central Committee. If I must pick a ‘side’ then I think it’s fairly obvious which one I lean toward. And as for being taken seriously… I am an empty husk, but my chimneys rise boldly skyward still…

  130. Passing Leftie on said:

    “And back in the real world where Respect Renewal grows daily:”

    Yes, RR may well grow daily, I am sure it is…But the EC will not allow the name to be used on ballot papers.

    Can’t you lot understand this point?


  131. Yeah your horrified by the CC’s politics and thats about it really isn’t it Battersea? Other then that alls right with the world.

  132. andy newman on said:

    Passing Leftie. #158

    You keep saying this, but it is wrong.

    The nominating officer for Respect is Linda Smith, and she can approve who she chooses to stand as a respect candidate, subject to the conditions voted through by the 2004 Respect conference.

    If Respect Renewal seek to stand a candidate, and Linda beleives it is appropriate to use the name Resepct on the ballot paper, then that lies with her, not with the electoral commission.

  133. Adamski on said:

    Andy, why do Respect Renewal refuse to publicise the names of the associate members added to their NC?

    Why are Respect Renewal keeping their highest leadership body a secret?

  134. Adam I have answered this before.

    We need to decide a communications policy, and when we have a policy I will follow it. I am sure that will include publishing the names of the associates co-opted onto the NC, and we will publish minutes, etc.

    There is nothing very interesting to disclose.

  135. psephology rules ok on said:

    ‘If Respect Renewal seek to stand a candidate, and Linda beleives it is appropriate to use the name Resepct on the ballot paper, then that lies with her, not with the electoral commission.’

    How will Linda decide which candidates should get the name and which should not?

  136. #160 if this is true then presumably both sides can use the Respect name if they wish- presumably Linda Smith wouldn’t block the SWP side of Respect using the name?
    #156 Working people do indeed deserve better than New Labour- what’s wrong with having a movement and poilicies decided on by working class people and to run services on the basis of workers’ democracy? In other words, socialism.

    I said this to a leading member of RR and was told that ‘concessions have to be made to the movement’- but perhaps working class people deserve better than this?

    Let’s argue and organise for socialist politics.

  137. Congratulations to the comrades of RR for successfully resisting a serious sectarian attempt to de-rail your project and to the hosts of this blog for all their efforts. I salute your indefe…, your indefa…, the fact that you never get tired.

    Hundreds of thousands of workers are preparing to vote Ken Livingstone in the London Mayoral elections if for no other reason than to keep the dangerously right wing Boris Johnson out of office. By putting full weight behind his campaign socialists will gain the ear of these workers and a chance to put across their programme. With any luck they will be rewarded with a platform in the GLA from where they can expose this reactionary, spinless body and explain that the reformists cannot for much longer hold back the reactionary and sinister forces gathering behind Johnson.

    Nobody will believe the SWP’s conversion to calling for a second preference vote for Livingstone. Their campaign chimes more and more with that of the right wing witch-hunters every day. Workers will not treat them as serious because they are not serious but they will increasingly come to see them as a danger. If there are any thinking people left in the SWP they should fight for the withdrawal of the SWP candidate from the election and solidarise with the workers wholeheartedly.

    RR are making intelligent use of the electoral tactic and that marks a seminal moment in the movement. RR deserves a voice in the GLA. The efforts of RR comrades might be the difference between victory and defeat for Livingstone and workers will not forget that.

    Good luck in the GLA elections. All vote Livingstone for mayor first and only preference.

    Any psephologists here, will it be possible to tell by analysis how many of those voting SWP actually cast a second preference for Livingstone after the election?

  138. post 165.. “[Respect’s] campaign chimes more and more with that of the right wing witch-hunters every day.”

    Utter tripe..
    meanwhile what really is being said…?

    “I have many points of agreement with Ken Livingstone – his anti-racist and anti-imperialist policies are a credit to London and he has seriously attempted to cut car use in the city.

    He has been a high profile mayor who has attracted controversy and is now under sustained attack from London’s main paper, the Evening Standard.

    We should defend Ken against attacks from the right, and we should support him against the Tory candidate Boris Johnson and his right wing agenda.”

    “However, it is very important that we don’t let the Tory in, which is why I will be calling for all my voters to give Ken their second preference.”

  139. Kevin Murphy on said:

    Andy Newman: “The nominating officer for Respect is Linda Smith, and she can approve who she chooses”

    How democratic! Yes, Andy we get it already–we don’t need to hear your silly opinion about this a a million times: Socialist DisUnity thinks that after bolting from Respect that Linda Smith is now dictator for life.

    If your lawyering skills were an order of magnitude better than your political skills then Respect might have something to worry about.

  140. Socialist DisUnity thinks that after bolting from Respect that Linda Smith is now dictator for life.

    Very funny. But also untrue: Linda Smith is only Nominating Officer for RESPECT until she’s either constitutionally replaced or constitutionally expelled.

    RESPECT/SWP’s negotiating stance appears to consist of alternately insulting the other side and refusing to recognise they exist – and if neither of those work, appealing to their sense of loyalty. It’s novel, I’ll say that.

  141. red flintstone on said:

    Poor Phil. Can’t get his head around the bleeding obvious. Linda Smith does not need to be expelled, given that she split along with Galloway. These people set up an alternative organisation. They cannot hold on to the Respect name. Galloway tries to threaten the Independent for printing the reality of what has gone on. But he will get no apology because there is nothing to apologise for. If you stand candidates against members of your party, you are out on your ear. Every member of Respect who pretends they can remain a member while backing candidates standing against Respect simultaneously announces their resignation from the party. There is no court in the land that would defend the rights of Respect members not to be expelled given such circumstances. It is an insult to the intelligence of everyone for Galloway’s supporters to try to pass off this crap as a credible argument. Doing so will only undermine your credibility when you stand candidates in the GLA. As for Linda Smith, let us explain what happened. She and Galloway declared the expulsion of the democratically elected London Mayoral candidate and the democratically elected national secretary. This backfired. Respect members up and down the country responded by seeing to it that supporters of these two dictators were denied represention on their branch’s conference delegation. As Liam MacUaid explained on his blog, thanks to incompetence and authoritarianism on the part of the chair of the Tower Hamlets recall branch meeting that was to give members a chance to select between competing slates, Tower Hamlets ended up without a conference delegation. In Birmingham, Ger Francis mislead the SWP as to the numbers of delegates their branch could send, which deprived them of what was agreed as a balanced slate. Even if Galloway’s supporters had not screwed things up for themselves in Birminghan and Tower Hamlets and had total control of conference delegations, they would have lost every vote by massive margins. They knew that. They knew they were on a hiding to nothing. So they ran away. They set up their own organisation: Respect Renewal. They set their sights on splitting the SWP membership from their central committee. Did not work. As soon as they discovered this fact, they tried to pretend that they had never split from Respect. However, the evidence is there on this blog and on Liam MacUaid’s blog. Supporting Livingstone against Respect’s democratically elected London Mayoral candidate and standing candidates against Respect for the GLA merely piles on yet more proof that Galloway, Smith and the rest of these people have split. However, this the icing on the cake, from Respect’s point of view; the arsenic on the cowpat, from Linda Smith’s perspective. Since Linda Smith has mislead the Electoral Commission as to her status as an ex-member of Respect, it is crucial for Respect’s national secretary to contact the Electoral Commission to put them straight. A vote on an unambiguous statement voted through by Respect’s national council should lend weight to these arguments. This matter should not be allowed to fester any longer.

  142. Poor Phil. Can’t get his head around the bleeding obvious. Linda Smith does not need to be expelled, given that she split along with Galloway.

    Being patronised by Tom is a bit like being called dishonest by the Daily Mail. I’ll wear it with pride.

    Back in the real world, Linda has neither left RESPECT nor been expelled. In constitutional terms, Renewal is a platform within RESPECT.

    These people set up an alternative organisation. They cannot hold on to the Respect name.

    That’s not what the Electoral Commission says.

  143. “If you stand candidates against members of your party, you are out on your ear.”

    so what about those councillors that resigned the Respect whip? who was it who organised the press conference for their split again?

    as a reactionary enemy of the working class (Labour member) I am interested to see how non-Labour left projects get on. the one thing that surprises me is the tolerance of the SWP – they have now trashed three organisations that had potential – Socialist Alliance, SSP and Respect. shouldn’t that teach you a lesson? you might think you need them in terms of activists on the ground, but look at the price you pay. if they fear losing political control they always seem to stab you in the back.

    where are the SWP going anyway? they can’t stand on their own because no=one will vote for an SWP candidate. they have an image that is repulsive to the general public. and they have little leverage in the unions. add to that their inept politics (dodgy cheque for a TU conference). what do you really gain from their involvement?

    If you are ever going to get anywhere (and I am doubtful that you will without PR) surely you will need to build up your own activists rather than make a faustian pact with the SWP.

  144. Passing Leftie on said:

    Tom #172 – I would hope some people on this site would listen to the kind of message you put in your message. Given that, as you say, three “fronts” have all collapsed/gone awry with the only common factor being the SWP, one would hope similiar mistakes wouldn’t be made a fourth time…

  145. Seriously, why do people keep giving the SWP second and third chances? It’s not like you haven’t been warned before. It’s the same with the SWP in Ireland; constantly forming fronts (normally with alliterative names) which they always ensure they have a governing majority in. Since the average voter wouldn’t throw rocks at them, they have to do everything in the power to hide the fact they’re associated with the SWP at all.

    Their latest wheeze was to set up an anti-Lisbon Treaty group; in the announcement, they listed the founding members (all SWP) without mentioning their connection. When someone called them on this point, they claimed that SWP was already mentioned on their web site – but someone proved with Google cache that they only changed it _after_ they were found out!


    The constant surprise that the SWP should, once again, act like the SWP reminds me of abused people defending their rotten partners:

    “He didn’t mean to hit me, officer, he’s a good man. Don’t take him away! I fell asleep in the driveway and he done run over my head with the truck.”