The last of the nearly 20,000 leaflets distributed in the constituency was put through a letter box in Woodsmansterne Road, SW16 this afternoon. This is a long road at the southernmost point of the constituency. It's actually in Streatham (part of Lambeth), but continue too far along it and you end up in Croydon, take a wrong turning and you end up in Merton (one Labour canvasser had done the opposite as we saw a Labour leaflet supporting their candidate in Merton).
This is a reminder that "Lambeth and Southwark" includes areas which are not traditionally associated with these two historic places. Another is a letter we received from a Miss Wright of Pymers Mead, West Dulwich, SE21. She wrote:
I am returning the leaflet you put through my letterbox as I don't you putting anymore of your leaflets through my letterbox again".
We don't know if she wrote similar letters to the other parties about the leaflets they put through her letterbox, but they seem a polite lot down in Dulwich (she actually put a stamp on the letter, if she'd read the leaflet properly she could have sent it to our freepost address and saved herself 27p). Normally, people who don't like our leaflets tear them up in front of us and tell us they're voting for the BNP.
But the most common reaction we got on the doorsteps was "it doesn't make any difference anyway who gets in". Which corresponds with our analysis and shows that workers are not stupid: a lot of them do realise what's going on. Only they don't think they can do anything about it, so they just abstain and don't bother to vote at sll. It is highly likely that, tomorrow, the abstainers will be the absolute majority.
So, why if it makes no difference who gets in, were we standing? First, to use a period of heightened interest in politics to put across our case for a society of common ownership, democratic control, production for use, and distribution on the basis of "from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs". And, second, because if workers use their votes intelligently in their own interest they could change things, they could use the vote to help get rid of the profit system and bring in socialism.
It's voting for leaders to try to run the profit system in the interests of the majority that makes no difference, not voting in itself. That's why, where there's no socialist candidate, instead of abstaining we go to the polling station and vote, even if it's only a write-in vote. A way of keeping a potential weapon sharpened for the time when a majority are ready to use it in their own interest. Where there is a socialist candidate standing, we vote for them.
And there is a socialist candidate in Lambeth and Southwark.