Bought the "South London Press" yesterday to see if any mention of the election. There wasn't but on page 3 there was an item about a protest meeting against the threatened closure of wards and units in a hospital in Lewisham (actually, outside the constituency). The accompanying picture showed a woman with a loud hailer and behind her 3 people carrying placards saying "NO CUTS. NO A&E CLOSURES. DEFEND THE NHS. DEFEND OUR PUBLIC SERVICES". Popular sentiments these days but the top of the placard read "LEFT LIST. www.respectcoalition.org" and on the bottom something like "Vote Against War and Privatisaion 1st May". A change from "SOCIALIST WORKER", but only a formal one since the Left List is an SWP front. Demonstrators will now have to get used to tearing off "LEFT LIST" rather than "SOCIALIST WORKER" from the top of the free placards the SWP hand out on any popular protest demonstration.
But the SWP weren't the only vote-gatherers trying to exploit the situation. According to the news report so were "Mayor hopefuls Brian Paddick and Sian Berry" (of the Liberals and Greens respectively).
The SWP are always accusing us of "parliamentary cretinism" for saying that the workers can use the vote to get power to establish socialism. True, we do, but we always make it clear that what is important is not the vote as such but the socialist understanding behind it. We never go in for voting catching and never make any promises: we just advocate socialism and ask only people who want it to vote for us. But look how they behave when they contest elections: just like any other gang of vote-catching politicians. You wouldn't know that they are really a bunch of Citizen Smiths who in private dream of an armed uprising in Britain (Tooting is just outside the constituency too)..