Sunday, June 21, 2009

Alter Egos

Yesterday at a book fair in Oxford got chatting with someone on the Communist Party of Britain/Morning Star stall who explained that the Scargill Labour Party had been prepared to join the petty nationalist No2EU list but that there was a last minute hitch. Scargill demanded that he be No 1 on the list in London. Unfortunately, this had already been reserved for his Alter Ego, Bob Crow. They offered King Arthur the No 1 place on the list in Yorkshire (where presumably he could be expected to be better known and more popular) but he refused -- perhaps he had got wind of the fact that a number of ex-miners were planning to switch to the BNP. So the deal fell through. Don't know if there's any truth in this bit of gossip but here seemed the best place to record it for posterity.

In the event Crow beat Scargill in London, but Scargill's list beat Crow's in 7 of the 9 other regions. At least they settled the argument through elections. Which wouldn't have been the case in the state-capitalist ex-USSR the both of them so admired.

Monday, June 15, 2009

What's Left?

Bought a copy of Socialist Worker on Saturday as they happened to have a stall (or rather their front organisation Stop the War did) at the same Peace Fair in West London that we did. It was interesting to read the following in a piece headed "What about the radical left?":
Five years ago Respect polled 4.84 percent across London, beating the BNP. The combined left vote in London was down this year to 2.1 percent.
The No2EU (Communist Party/Militant list) got 17,758, or 1.02%. The Scargill Labour Party got 15,036, or 0.88%. That only makes 1.9%. So where does the other 0.2% come from. You've guessed. It must be our 4050, or 0.23%.

We should be flattered I suppose but because of the association of the "Left" with what went on in Russia and with Labour-style reformism we don't like to be classified as part of the Left (though we know what people mean when they do this). We certainly don't like being classified with these two lists, both led by ex-members of the Communist Party who still haven't broken with its ideology and still think the former USSR was socialist (and Militant too thought that the USSR was some sort of "Workers State"). In any event, we're no part of this State Capitalist Left.

But let's run with this for a moment. The total "radical Left" vote was 37,114. Our "contribution" was 4050, or 10.9%. So one in 10 of the "radical left" would be people prepared to vote for the SPGB, ie real socialism as opposed to the state capitalism favoured by most of the rest. Though this is probably more a reflection of their weakness rather than our strength. Still.

The same issue of Socialist Worker commits the SWP to convening a "conference of all those committed to presenting candidates representing working class interests at the next election". Be interesting to see if they send us an invitation as that's what we'll be doing. If they did, we could tell the gathering that the only way to pursue working class interests is to advocate a worldwide society of common ownership, democratic control, production solely for use not profit, and distribution on the principle "from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs", and nothing but. But, being realistic, we don't think they'd accept this.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

More statistics

All the London boroughs have now published the results of the election in their area (to see them in full, type in the name of the borough followed by These allow us to calculate the percentage of the vote obtained by the Socialist list, more significant than the actual number. Here they are, divided into above and below the overall average vote of 0.23% (4050 votes):

0.45 219 Haringey
0.43 227 Lewisham
0.32 149 Islington
0.31 164 Waltham Forest
0.30 150 Hounslow
0.30 146 Newham
0.29 135 Camden (*)
0.28 127 Tower Hamlets (*)
0.28 103 Westminster
0.28 99 Barking and Dagenham
0.27 158 Lambeth (*)
0.27 120 Hackney
0.26 138 Southwark
0.24 160 Enfield
0.24 114 Greenwich
0.23 163 Ealing (*)
0.23 93 Hammersmith and Fulham

0.22 137 Harrow
0.22 137 Havering
0.20 136 Wandsworth
0.19 151 Barnet
0.19 113 Brent
0.18 111 Bexley
0.18 111 Redbridge
0.17 149 Bromley
0.16 138 Croydon
0.16 98 Hillingdon
0.15 81 Richmond
0.15 74 Merton
0.14 66 Sutton
0.14 3 City of London
0.12 52 Kingston
0.11 32 Kensington and Chelsea

(*) = borough where the post office delivered our manifesto to parts.

These confirms that, as could have been anticipated, we did better in the inner London area than in the outer suburbs to the South. For those who don't know London, Bexley, Bromley, Croydon, Merton, Sutton, Kingston and Richmond form a continuous swathe of territory that has more in common with neigbouring Kent and Surrey than with the rest of London.

Why Haringey should be our best result is unclear though a lot of work has been put in there over the years including contesting the parliamentary seat of Hornsey on a number of occasions. With regard to Lewisham, it is tempting to speculate again that this is due to Militant, which has a couple of councillors there who say they are from the "Socialist Party" (though not on the ballot paper), being hoist by their own petard for usurping our name.

Kensington and Chelsea is where the knobs live.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The Lambeth Talk

On Sunday 6 members went to the count in the Assembly Hall next to Lambeth (ex-Brixton) Town Hall, before 2 of us moved on to the count at Southwark. We were met by the Deputy Returning Officer who knows us from previous elections we've contested in the area over the years.

The election agent was allowed to see the rejected ballot papers. Most had voted for more than one candidate, though the combination was not always comprehensible like the voter who voted UKIP and Yes to Europe. A number of others voted Labour or Liberal and Yes to Europe, presumably thinking that the Yes to Europe box near the bottom of the ballot paper was some sort of referendum on the issue. Others wrote rude things or drew rude drawings on the paper. Others wrote None of the Above. Somebody cast a write-in vote for Kylie Minogue. Curiously all these went into a pile marked "Uncertain" despite the intention of all of them being quite certain.

When the two of us went on to the Southwark count we, as candidates, were greeted as honoured guests by the Returning Officer who had not expected any candidates to turn up. However, Simon soon disagraced us by touching a ballot paper, which is absolutely banned. Also present was a tall young man with a beard and a badge saying "agent". I asked him for who and he replied, apologetically as if I might hit him, "BNP". I quipped you can't be as you've got a beard. It obviously takes all sorts.

Anyway, back to Lambeth. Here's the result:

Labour 15,990
Lib Dems 11,340
Con 10,537
UKIP 3,111
Christian 2,154
BNP 1,174 (2.04%)
SLP 653 (1.13%)
Eng Dem 488
No2EU 478 (0.83%)
Libertas 281
Jury Team 194 4%
Cheung (Ind) 187
Jananayagam (Ind) 176
Socialist Party 158 (0.27%)
Yes 2 Europe 155
Saad (Ind) 48
Alcanatara (Ind) 46
Rahman (Ind)36

There were 558 rejected ballot papers.

We have to confess that this was a bit of a disappointment as, in the same area last year, there'd been 917 votes cast for the Socialist candidate. So what happened to the "missing" 759 votes? The poll was lower by about a quarter this time, so that might account for 200 or so of them. And the rest? One possible explanation is that some of them were people who considered themselves socialists and who are prepared to vote for any party or candidate calling themselves "socialist" and who voted for Arthur Scargill's SLP, either because it appeared on the ballot paper before us or because they thought him or his party better than us.

Having said this, we have received a number of interesting replies to the manifesto which the post office delivered to two-fifths of the households in the borough which we'll be following up individually. Plans to contest the general election in Vauxhall, and two wards in the borough elections next May, are going ahead.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Breakdown by borough

Here it is, but the absolute figures can be misleading in that some boroughs are larger than others and there was a higher turnout in some. Not all the boroughs have yet produced full results so the percentages are only given for those who have.

Barking & Dagenham 99
Barnet 151 (0.19%)
Bexley 111
Brent 113
Bromley 149 (0.17%)
Camden 135 (0.29%)
City of London 3
Croydon 138
Ealing 163 (0.23%)
Enfield 160 (0.24%)
Greenwich 114 (0.24%)
Hackney 120 (0.27%)
Hammersmith & Fulham 93
Haringey 219 (0.45%)
Harrow 137
Havering 133
Hillingdon 98
Hounslow 150 (0.30%)
Islington 149
Kensington & Clelsea 32 (0.11%)
Kingston 52
Lambeth 158
Lewisham 227
Merton 74 (0.15%)
Newham 146 (0.30%)
Redbridge 111
Richmond 81 (0.15%)
Southwark 138 (0.26%)
Sutton 66
Tower Hamlets 127 (0.28%)
Waltham Forest 164
Wandsworth 136
Westminster 103
TOTAL 4,050 (0.23%)

This is more or less what you'd expect. We were above our average in the inner London boroughs and traditional Labour areas and below our average in the leafy suburbs.

It's a pity we've not got the full results yet for Lambeth. And it's tempting to speculate that our highest absolute number (227 in Lewisham) may have been due to some Militant supporters thinking we were them, but Lewisham is the sort of area where we'd have been expected to get a higher than average vote.

The best result was in Haringey. Which was also rather untypical for the rest of London and the country. What with the Tories and UKIP in 4th and 5th place and the BNP in 7th. And us beating the Jury Team and Libertas.

Elections for the European Parliament 2009

Votes cast in Haringey were as follows:

The Labour Party 14,093
Liberal Democrats 11,550
The Green Party 8,528
Conservative Party 7,396
United Kingdom Independence Party 2,164
Christian Party “Proclaiming Christ’s Lordship” 1,408
British National Party 981
Socialist Labour Party (Leader Arthur Scargill) 683
No2EUYestoDemocracy 618
English Democrats Party 339
Jan Jananayagam – Independent 297
The Socialist Party of Great Britain 219
Jury Team 202
Steven Cheung – Independent 131
Yes 2 Europe 111 96
Gene Alcantara – Independent 69
Sohale Rahman – Independent 51
Haroon Saad 23

Rejected ballot papers
Voting for more than one candidate 255
Writing or mark by which the voter could be identified 6
Being unmarked or wholly void for uncertainty 129
Total 390

Turnout: 32.35 %

The result

PartyTotal vote % votes
Conservative 479,037 27.4
Labour 372,590 21.3
Liberal Democrats240,156 13.7
Green Party 190,589 10.9
UK Independence Party 188,440 10.8
British National Party 86,420 4.9
Christian Party-Christian Peoples Alliance 51,336 2.9
Independent - Jan Jananayagam 50,014 2.9
English Democrat 24,477 1.4
No2EU17,758 1.0
Socialist Labour Party 15,306 0.9
Libertas 8,444 0.5
Jury Team 7,284 0.4
Independent - Steven Cheung 4,918 0.3
Socialist Party of Great Britain4,050 0.2
Yes 2 Europe 3,384 0.2
Independent - Sohale Rahman 3,2480.2
Independent - Gene Alcantara 1,9720.1
Independent - Haroon Saad 1,603 0.1

From The BBC

Discussion of the counts and various ruminations to follow.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

The turnout

It's 33.53%, with 1,763,025 votes out of an electorate of 5,257,624. See here. Just under 4 percentage points lower than last time (2004) but over 10 percentage points higher than in 1999.

8 of us are off to various counts this afternoon and evening (the counting is being done in each of the 32 London boroughs).

As a quick guide to our and other minority party candidates (well, more minority parties than others since, with 66.5% abstaining all parties are minority parties), and in case anyone wants to organise a sweepstake on how many votes we'll get, here's some figures:

2,5% 44,076 (to save deposit)
1% 17,630
0.9% 15,867
0.8% 14,104
0.7% 12,341
0.6% 10,578
0.5% 8,815
0.4% 7,052
0.3% 5,289
0.2% 3,526
0.1% 1,763

The only forecast I'm prepared to risk is that we'll get more than the 846 obtained by the candidate of the Weekly Worker in 1999. This time, incidentally, they are saying Vote Labour. I'm sure Labour will be grateful for any extra votes on offer.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Less low turnout?

We've received the following email from the person in charge of the count in Camden:
Following advice from the Regional Returning Officer in the light of the higher than anticipated turnout and also taking account of the ballot paper size, the Local Returning Officer has decided that the start time for the count of votes for Camden is to be put back to 4.30 pm on Sunday 7th June at the Camden Centre.
Higher than anticipated turnout? What does he know that the media speculators don't? Presumably a lot, as they started to "verify" the votes (ie check the number of ballot papers against the number issued) yesterday.

It is not clear whether this applies just to Camden or to the whole of London.

Friday, June 05, 2009


Because the last countries to vote in this EU-wide election will not be doing so till Sunday, the votes in the UK won't be counted till then. The votes in London are being counted by London borough, so we'll get an interesting and maybe useful breakdown of our votes. We'll have representatives at the counts in Camden, Lambeth, Tower Hamlets and Southwark and also at City Hall where the votes from the boroughs will be collated and the complicated D’Hondt Rule applied to decide who’s elected.

As we only had a blanket distribution by the post office of all households of our election manifesto in 4 Westminster parliament seats, we will be able to see if this makes any difference to the number of those who register a vote for socialism in the boroughts concerned. These are:

Camden 75,000
Lambeth 55,000
Ealing 51,000
Tower Hamlets 56,000

Members and sympathisers delivered a further 29,000 by hand in the other boroughs but these will probably have been in such small numbers as to make little difference to the overall outcome, except perhaps in Wandsworth and Kingston where 9000 and 5000 respectively were distributed.

Only in 5 of the 32 borough were no leaflets distributed (Brent, Barking & Dagenham, Havering, Redbridge, and Kensington & Chelsea).

We'll see. The turnout should be available later today.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Just Voted

Just voted for myself for a change. You're not supposed to canvass within a certain distance of the polling station but the Lib Dums (as Danny calls them) get round this by sticking their posters in the windows of nearby houses. But the Christian Party was better served. The polling station is a Christian centre and above the polling booths is a banner proclaiming "Christ is King" which fits in nicely with their slogan on the ballot paper about "Proclaiming Christ's Lordship". It's as if the polling station was in the Miners Institute in Barnsley with a banner proclaiming "Leader Arthur Scargill" which is the SLP's ballot paper slogan. This has happened before, though this time they've at least taken down the banner proclaiming their economic policy: "Jesus Saves". Naturally, I complained again about this but the staff said they couldn't do anything about it. Maybe an official complaint from a candidate and election agent will carry more weight. Watch this space. On my way back came across a Lib Dum canvaser delivering leaflets on polling day. They must be desperate.

The day before yesterday in Parliament

Danny Lambert reports:

The Party was invited to have a candidate attend a hustings meeting organised by the Public and Commercial Services Union on Tuesday evening at the Houses of Parliament and delegated me to attend. I turned up in good time, found my way to the entrance passing half a dozen well tooled up members of London’s finest, where I was asked to stand on the foot marks, had my photo taken, given a pass with it on to hang round my neck, then through airport like security and I was in.

What struck me immediately as I entered the Great Hall, which is huge, was the amazing level of craftsmanship embodied in the walls and floor and in the oak roof. All that skill was employed solely to aggrandise rulers and to intimidate the ruled.

The meeting was held in one of the many committee rooms that line the corridors. I counted 45 in the cheap seats, the panel of candidates represented No2 EU, Libertas, the Green Party, the Jury team, the Tories and some Baroness who wasn’t a candidate but was standing in for the Lib Dum. The UKIP and the Labour candidates didn’t turn up and I assume the BNP weren’t invited.

We were all given three minuets to give an outline of what we proposed and then it was questions from the floor which could be directed at a specific candidate but we were all able to comment. Most of the assembled were members of the PCS and their questions were all about whether we supported this reform or that one? What we would do about the corruption in the EU? What was our opinion on the Lisbon Treaty? And so on.

During the meeting which was very poorly chaired, members of the audience were allowed to ramble on and repeat themselves, The NO2EU lefty and the Baroness had a long pointless argument with no intervention from the Chair. I thought I gave a decent précis of the Party Case in my three minuets, however no one asked me to expand on or explain what I had put forward, so when it was my turn on a question I gave variations on the stock socialist position on reform and then threw in some of what they should acknowledge about capitalism and what real socialism was all about, and although the applause wasn’t as thunderous as I was anticipating, I did notice some nodding and smiling of recognition. The star of the show was the NO2EU lefty who gave them exactly what they wanted to hear.

The meeting lasted a little over two hours, and at the end I handed out leaflets and every one approached took one.

Just one regret. It's a pity other that some Party members didn't turn up and attend this meeting and put some difficult questions to the various representatives of the Capitalist Party sitting beside me.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The local press

We have to confess that coverage of our list in the local press has been disappointing. We had counted on them to help get across, in areas where the post office wasn't distributing our leaflets, the fact that we were standing and something of what we stood for.

Unfortunately, most of the local papers did not go much beyond giving a "public service" announcement of the list of all the parties and individuals standing. Some did not even do this.

Particularly disappointing were the two independent (of the big chains) papers, the Camden New Journal and Southwark News. In the first, we put in a paid ad putting our case but there was no editorial coverage. In the second (which had given us equal time in last year's GLA elections), we were only mentioned amongst the "also standing" while Labour, Tory, Liberals, Greens, UKIP and BNP got interviewed. We had understood that if we answered the same questions this would be in the following week's issue along with the replies of the other left-out parties. But nothing was published. So as not to waste the work that went into drafting the replies to their questions, here they are.

1. Should further enlargement of the EU be supported for countries such as Turkey and Croatia?

What intergovernmental arrangements those in charge of trying to manage capitalism make is irrelevant as far as the majority of us, who work for a wage or salary or exist on benefits, are concerned. What the Socialist Party advocates is a world without frontiers where the resources of the whole world will have become the common heritage of all humanity.

2. As the pound is currently weak, should the UK consider joining the Euro?
It makes no difference what the money we are paid in is called. As long as the capitalist system of production for profit exists there will always be economic crises, whether we are governed from London or from Brussels, or whether we are paid in pounds or euros. In socialism, the principle “from each their ability, to each their needs” would apply, making money redundant.

3. Is it fair that the UK pays more into Europe than it gets back, with funds being redistributed to eastern Europe countries?
It’s up to the big capitalist corporations and their political representatives to judge whether or not they get value for money out of their membership of the EU. These funds, like profits, originally come from the difference between the value of what we produce and what we are paid as wages and salaries. That’s what’s not fair.

4. What would you do for London as an MEP?
If elected I would be the mandated delegate of those in London who wanted to replace capitalism with socialism. Pending the emergence of the majority desire for socialism required to establish it democratically, I would use the European Parliament as a platform from which to broadcast the need for a society of common ownership, democratic control and production for use not profit.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The dying embers

Last night I went out on the leaflet run. I tried handing one to a dustman:

"Is it voting? Coz I don't vote." - he refused the leaflet.

Ringing a buzzer on a council block (see my rants about this passim) I said:
"I'm delivery European election leaflets."
"I'm not interested." *click* was the reply - one persons uninterest denying an entire block of people from receiving leaflets.

One woman refused the leaflet because she'd already voted by post. She hadn't voted for us.

People stormed out of their Islington homes to demand "what're you putting through my door", but I had already moved away, and was only just in ear shiot.

Uninterest rules the roost. So, I'll try and end with a bit more baiting of the Christian party.

Apparently, well, OK, let me let them tell their own story, from the last Welsh Assembly elections:
The [Welsh Christian Party's] leader, the Rev George Hargreaves, said, "We will not allow this evil symbol of the devil to reign over Wales for another moment.

"Wales is the only country in history to have a red dragon on its national flag.

"This is the very symbol of the devil described in The Book of Revelation 12:3.

"This is nothing less than the sign of Satan, the devil, Lucifer that ancient serpent who deceived Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

"No other nation has had this red dragon as its ruling symbol.

"Wales has been under demonic oppression and under many curses because of this unwise choice.

This is what we're up against.

20 seconds of fame

BBC London phoned yesterday to say that extracts of the radio interview would also be broadcast on their breakfast programme this morning between 6am and 9am, but said that two minutes would be devoted to comments from 6 parties, ie 20 seconds a party. I just spent over two hours listening to two non-entities twittering about nothing (the CIA should consider forcing people to listen to this programme as a substitute for water boarding) while waiting for this. It didn't come till ten minutes from the end, at 8.50. We were included with Libertas, No2EU, the Greens, the Christians and the BNP. The subject chosen was whether the minor parties would benefit from the sleaze allegations against the parliamentary parties. They just quoted me as saying that we'd been contacted by a couple of ex-Labour voters to say they were going to vote socialist, nothing from the rest of the interview about socialism, the economic crises, etc. After the 2 minutes were up some other non-entity called Vanessa came on to talk for well over 2 minutes about how she was going to interview the Liberal Democratic leader (called Clegg, I think, or some name like that) for a whole hour. The BBC's idea of equal time for all parties, it appears.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Asked to leave

A comrade who attended this event in Haringey on Saturday was asked to leave for handing out "political" literature. Another example of anarchist intolerance and inconsistency (see the list of stallholders there, propaganda, eg, for the Chavez government in Venezuela is apparently not political). Meanwhile on Dave Osler's blog we're accused of being anarchists. We're not of course but it seems we're damned if we are and damned if we're not.

The trade union front

This evening we will be present at two hustings meetings, organised by local trade unions:

(1) Council Chamber, Stratford Town Hall, 29 The Broadway, E15 at 6.30 pm.

(2) Phoenix Cinema, 52 High Road, East Finchley, N2 at 6.30.

These are public meetings if anyone wants to come.

The first has been organised by the Public and Commercial Services union, the second by Barnet Trades Union Council.

The PCS has also organised a Make Your Vote Count campaign amongst its members. Its London region has put a series of questions to candidates. The answers have been published on their website. Ours can be found here.

One PCS member has emailed us that he will be voting Socialist. Not sure that the PCS President, Janice Godrich, will be too pleased with this as she's also speaking this evening -- at a rally in central London in support of Bob Crow's narrow nationalist, petty reformist list. In any event we're not too pleased that posters have been stuck up round Euston claiming that the "Socialist Party" is supporting this rally. So this blog can serve as an official disclaimer that we are not.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Ban the Bomb (and all weapons)

Three members supported our candidate, Danny Lambert, (one out of the list of eight the Socialist Party is fielding in London) at a meeting organised by CND at Friends Meeting House, Euston, on Friday night.

Seven other candidates were also present, notable exceptions being representatives of the Tory Party and UKIP who were "too busy" engaging in electoral activities. The BNP were also absent having been denied an invitation by the "democrats" of CND.

Each candidate had three minutes to introduce their party's case -- in seven cases out of eight how they were going to make capitalism work in the interests of us all and to convince those present that nuclear weapons should be scrapped (with the exception of the Labour Party candidate who considered they had kept the peace for sixty years and the Lib Dem candidate who merely considered that Trident should not be replaced).

Our candidate argued that wars arose out of the competition built into capitalism over markets, trade routes, raw material sources, investment outlets and strategic points to protect or secure these. Banning nuclear weapons, even if it was possible under capitalism which he doubted, wouldn't make any difference to this as all the wars since 1945 and those still going on with their terrible carnage and destruction had been non-nuclear. Socialists were opposed to all wars and all weapons of war and only socialism could make wars impossible and end the waste of armaments, nuclear and non-nuclear.

The audience, mainly composed of members and sympathisers of CND, then had an opportunity to ask questions of the candidates, who had a further three minutes each to reply. A second session of questions were allowed and then the candidates had four minutes to wind up their arguments; Danny having the final word as, alphabetically, the Party was the last out of those present, UKIP having missed this chance.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Radio interviewed

Yesterday afternoon BBC Radio London phoned to say they wanted to do a telephone interview with a candidate in ten minutes. I happened to be there helping to stuff the June Socialist Standard into envelopes. I'm not quite sure what the interviewer made of the answers to her questions.

What is your party? The Socialist Party is an independent political party that has been going since 1904. We stand for socialism as a society of common ownership, democratic control and production for use not profit. Socialism has never been established anywhere and certainly not in Russia.
What will you do for Londoners? We're not standing just for Londoners, but for working people everywhere.
What will you do if elected? We're not going to be elected but if we were, we wouldn't be able to do much more than use the European Parliament as a platform from which to broadcast socialist ideas.
What can Europe do to help Londoners in the economic crisis? Nothing. Nobody can. Capitalism goes through economic crises every now and again as part of its normal functioning. There will always be crises as long as there is capitalism and production for profit. When unemployment has risen enough and driven wages down enough, then the recovery will begin. That's the way the system works.
How would socialism stop economic crises? Because there would be production directly for use and not for sale on a market for profit. It would be impossible, inconceivable, that production would stop while people still needed things.
Do you think your party will benefit from the MP's expenses scandal? Maybe a few people who used to vote Labour will vote for us.
What reaction have you had while canvassing? We get the impression that people are not very interested in these elections. And they're right. Whether Britain is in or out of Europe, or whether we use the £ or the euro, doesn't make any difference to their daily lives. Europe is remote, just like the Westminster parliament, and people know they have no control of what happens.
Why do you think this is? Because they really haven't any control over what happens. Neither have the politicians. Nobody controls or can control the way capitalism works.
When you are out canvassing what do you say you will do for people? We tell them we can't do anything for them. We don't promise them anything. We say that if they want socialism they've got to act for themselves. We can't establish it for them.

Obviously, all this won't be broadcast. We'll see what gets left when an edited version is broadcast by BBC Radio London on Wednesday (3 June)on its Drivetime programme between 5pm and 7pm on 94.9FM.

Friday, May 29, 2009

I'll Hust and I'll hust, and hust again...

Well, me and three others went along to the Hustings in Crouch End last night. It was in a Methodist church, so, I said, it meant the Christian Party's logo was on prominent display.

The audience amounted to about 20 people, including two journalists, three of our members, and companions of the other seven candidates present, and possibly four members of the public.

The format was the chair spoke for 10 minutes at the begining, we each had two minutes to introduce ourselves, in turn, followed by questions from the audience, which we had one minute each to answer.

The chair wasn't very strict on the questioners, so two of our members managed to make mini speeches out of their questions - almost what other organisations would call an "intervention" in the meeting.

I pointed out that although there were eight candidates present (all parties by BNP - who weren't invited - Tories and UKIP) there were only two parties - various factions of the capitalist party, and the socialist party (yay us!).

The most interestign thing was the Labour candidate. She was an effective politician, putting a clear Labour case, and getting the knife in to her rivals (as she should, elections are about accentuating the choices available). Interestingly, though, she also put in a spirited defence of capitalism, as the only system we've got. I kindly reminded her that that is a Conservative idea (l'espirit d'escalier later made me realise I should have said Tory).

There was what I can only describe as a fool from the Jury Team, promising to simply convey the opinion of Londoners to Europe, as if the point of elections isn't to find out what the opnions of the electorate are and to sort majority from minority.

Given that the Christian Party candidate announced how that now he had bathed in the blood of the Lord to overcome his gay urges, he could now love the gays and lesbians but hate gayness and lesbianism; and that everyone else said, that, to quote myself, who chooses to agitate genitals with you is irrelevent, then it's unclear which view the Jury team would transmit to Europe.

As as been mentioned here before, Jury Team are an anti-Party Party funded by a Tory - parties clarify positions, give accountability and choice to the electoral system. Non-partyism is usually a breed of conservatism. Why bother turning up to say you have no policies?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A No-No

Last night's PPB by the No2EU party was as bad as expected. A litany in which various people (mainly known Stalinists but also including Tony Benn and ex-Militant Labour MP Dave Nellist) chanted "No to the EU". As to positive policies, I think I heard Bob Crow echo UKIP and call for the "return of our sovereignity" and for "more investment in public services". Someone else called for the renationalisation of the railways and for "restoring Britain's fishing rights". If you missed it, you can see it here . Fortunately, the word "socialism" was never mentioned so at least there should be no confusion between this and the nationalist and timid reformist programme advocated.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

28 seconds of fame

Today's substitute for a Party Political Broadcast (which we've never had) can be seen and heard here if you watch it today or tomorrow morning (it will be moved elsewhere later).

Select top report 'BBC London' - 'see the latest programme in full' and it opens up in a separate window. It comes after an item about car-sharing and another item about a proposal to use the site of the former Ford factory in Dagenham to build (another kind of) prison.

Parting shot

Well, the unfortunate necessity of having to work means I've not had much keyboard time of late.

Although, I did get round to penning a guest post at Labourite and former Trotskyist Dave Osler's blog - plugging our stump speech. Check it out. Interesting debate follows.

Tomorrow I'll be at:

Thursday 28 May from 7.30 at the Methodist Church, Middle Lane, N8 (ie
Crouch End). Each candidate will have 2 mins to introduce themselves
but that all candidates will get a chance to answer all the questions,
then 2 mins at the end to sum up.

Saying much the same thing again.


Out leafletting yesterday with another comrade in the Shepherd's Bush area, we came across a rare thing -- election leaflets put out by one of the 5 independent candidates standing in this election (actually, this one is a "no description" candidate), Haroon Saad. It looked as if someone had driven down the street throwing them out of the car window. On closer inspection though, what they done was to put them under car windscreens. Unfortunately, it had rained heavily overnight and the next morning the car owners had simply thrown the leaflets on the street. What does he stand for? Don't ask me. He gives a website address. Which is actually quite well done, with music and all (so better than us), but tells us a lot about him but not much about what he stands for. Himself, by the looks of it.

Today at 11.30 in the morning BBC London Region TV are coming to film some of our candidates canvassing outside our offices in Clapham High Street. If you want a walk-on part come along. Otherwise you can see the outcome on the regional news at 1.30 and 6.30. If it's also broadcast after the 10 o'clock news, you can stay tuned to watch the No2EU or No2EU (No squared to Europe) Party Political Broadcast at 10.35 and see how far they (the Communist Party and Militant electoral coalition) go in their bid to steal votes from UKIP and the BNP.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


This morning, I caught the 393 up to Stoke Newington, to join in an unusual hustings. The format was meant to be like speed dating - electors would spend three minutes with each candidate, and ask a uniform set of questions to score them against. The trick was, we weren't to say which party we were from, they had to guess from our policies.

Let's just say it wouldn't have been hard for them to work it out from what I said.

Below are the "stock" questions they suggested (people could make up their own), and the replies I sort of had in my head.

Q1:What can you do as an MEP that can make a difference to pour lives?
A: Nothing. We're not making any promises, if you vote for us, you're the one making the promise to work towards abolishing capitalism and the wages system.

Q2:If you had the power what one EU law would you change and why?
A: None. We're going to parliament as rebels and not reformers, changing one law here or there is ineffectual, especially and until we have a mass movement for the abolition of capitalism and the wages system.

Q3:Given the current distrust of politicians what will you do to restore public confidence?
A: Mothing. We don't want to be ruled, and we don't want leaders. Only you know how to run your life properly, and so we seek a truly democratic society in which you don't have to place faith in leaders.

Q4:Would you be happy to publish you wages and expenses?
A: Yes. Our party is an open party, all our meetings are open to the public, and our delegates in the European Parliament would be fully answerable to our members, and would only take workers' wages.

Q5:What would you do as an MEP that would have an impact on climate change?
a: Nothing. You'll need to join the worldwide movement for socialism that will turn our environment into common property so that we can all look after it, instead of seeing it degraded in the tragedy of the commons that is capitalism.

Of course, the conceit never worked. I only talked to about seven people, onhe insisted that capitalism was a set of rules, and we need a set of rules to deal with immigrants coming to Hackney and depriving the locals of homes. Bizarrely, he had a strong West Indian accent... An old lady asked my marital status and if I had a maths qualification. Another lady talked about her freind's diabetes prescription problem 9I said all socialism can do is get us access to doctors and provide them with quality drugs and information, I'm not a medical expert, so I steered clear).

Anoteh feller turned out to be a journalist, with a blog of his own and we just chatted.

The theme of this election seems to be that there tend to be more candidates than electors at hustings, by the end this one did reach about ten electors, but still...

The ballot paper

Someone, no doubt entitled to a postal vote, has put up a picture of the ballot paper for London. Don't know if this is supposed to be allowed but anyway it can be seen here. (Click to enlarge).
Those who like to follow leaders have a choice between "Christ's Lordship" and "LEADER: ARTHUR SCARGILL".
Those who want socialism can see clearly where they need to put their X.

Friday, May 22, 2009

New Cross Hustings Report

In the end Simon represented the Party. We got the time wrong and arrived half-an-hour early and were surprised to find that a bottle of beer (as opposed to lager) cost £4 in the bar of the students union. It would seem that Goldsmiths College doesn't have a very effective student union.

The other participants were Joseph Healey (No 4 on the Green Party list), Onay Kasab (No 6 on the No2EU list), Sherif Malak (No 6 on the Jury Team list who explained that it was a coalition of independents, financed by ex-Tory Sir Paul Judge) and a young woman called Jemma from the Tory party (their prospective parliamentary candidate for Deptford : career politicians have to start fighting a hopeless seat for their party before being offered a winnable one).

There was virtually nobody in the audience except those who came with the speakers, some idiot having decided to organise a meeting for students in the middle of the exam period. The idiots turned out to be the local branch of Militant, to promote their member who was candidate on the No2EU list cobbled together by Bob Crow, the RMT leader.

As they miscall themselves "The Socialist Party", there were leaflets handed out saying that the Socialist Party supported the No2EU list. We of course made clear that this was not the case and that we were presenting a list in these elections opposed to Bob Crow's. Better, before the meeting we leafletted the nearby local council ward which has two Militant councillors. Now, they're going to have to re-leaflet it themselves to explain that they are not the Socialist Party.

The Green candidate claimed to be a socialist too (an "ecosocialist" one) but at least he stood firm and insisted that the free movement of people throughout Europe was a good thing. Simon also denounced the restrictions imposed by capitalist States on where we can go. The No2EU candidate was in a difficult position here as his list, as supporters of the "British Jobs for British Workers" strikes, is implicitly against this. In fact, one person in the audience took him to task for his nationalist approach. He had to admit that No2EU was not the best choice of name if you're claiming not to be a nationalist.

Afterwards in discussion with the Militants we were accused of being "utopians" for not demanding "something now" (something other than socialism, that is). Where have we heard that before?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Scargill Labour Party broadcast

Did you see this on BBC1 TV at 6.55? If not, you can see it here.
What a laugh, with Ricky Tomlinson blaming all the problems of capitalism on membership of the EU as if non-EU countries haven't been affected by the same problems. Withdraw from the EU and everything will be rosy in the garden! The good news is that there is no danger of their message being confused with ours. The bad news is that because they misuse the word "socialist" some people might confuse what we stand for -- a world of common ownership, democratic control, and production for use not profit -- with the petty Little England nationalism they spew out.
People like these calling themselves "socialists" is a cross we have to bear.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

First hustings meeting

We've been invited to a hustings tomorrow, Thursday 21 May, at 6.30 pm in the Stretch Bar, of the Students Union of Goldsmiths University, in Dixon Road, New Cross (near the mainline station). Hopefully, our anomymous friend from Catford will be able to get there easier than to Clapham. Anyone else is welcome too, I imagine. It's organised by the Public and Commercial Services Union, Battersea and Wandsworth Trades Council, and the South West London Anti-Fascist Group.

The message sent to get people to attend says:
Join us to put election candidates on the spot.
Vote for fair pay, quality public services and decent jobs and free education for young people.
Make your vote count and keep the fascist BNP out of Europe.
London EU candidates will be in the student's union Stretch bar at 6:30pm next Thursday 21st May to answer YOUR questions.
Your opportunity to ask the candidates questions about what they would do for you in Europe.
Find out which party to vote for to keep the fascist BNP out of Europe.

Our candidate is going to have to explain that the main issue in this election is not, as this suggests, how to keep the BNP out, but capitalism and its failure to meet human needs properly.

If people really think that the priority is to keep the BNP out then they should vote tactically for one of the parties likely to get an MEP, ie Tory, Labour, Liberal, Green or UKIP. Voting for anyone else (and there are 13 other lists or individual candidates) will increase the BNP's chances. This will include us insofar as we get votes from people who might otherwise have voted, say, Labour or Green. I hope I don't have to explain to the meeting why this is so under the D'Hondt (a famous Belgian) Rule used to apportion the seats. But of course the priority isn't to keep the BNP out, it's to get rid of capitalism.

Anyway, tactical voting is stupid. As Eugene Debs once said, it's better to vote for something you want and not get it rather than voting for something you don't want and get it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Leaflets, good and bad

The election leaflets that the post office are going to distribute for free have been delivered safely to the 3 mail centres concerned, even if they arrived an hour out of time due to, apparently, delays on the M3 on their way from the printers in Dorset. The post office say they'll still be distributed within 7 days, probably from tomorrow.

The areas (actually parliamentary constituencies) which will be getting them are: Ealing Central and Acton, Holborn and St Pancras, Bethnal Green and Bow, and Vauxhall. In all 240,000 will be delivered.

Meanwhile outside these areas members and sympathisers are distributing a further 30,000 by hand.

I've only had the Greens and Liberals leaflets put through my letter box so far. As you'd expect, they're pretty wishy-washy, not to say pathetic. But at least the Liberals are not beating the anti-EU drum like all the others. The Greens are promising "warm homes and new jobs" as if these had never been promised before or saying where the money's going to come from (the printing press, no doubt).

While distributing our leaflets I've come across those of UKIP and the BNP. Their John Bull nationalism is just laughable. The UKIP has a photo on the front of Churchill giving a V sign while the BNP's gives a list of famous British military victories: Trafalgar, the Somme, Dunkirk (a victory?), D-Day, the Falklands.

I've also had to do the sort of election agent's work we don't normally do. A sympathiser said he wanted to get on the electoral register (today was the last day) and a member wanted a postal vote. That's two more votes -- from socialists of course.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Spring showers

Well, the rain didn't stop me leafletting the Tufnell Park area, this morning. It was fascinating to feel how similar the area is to Clapham, when you begin to leaflet it. Most of my leafletting has been done in South London these last few years, and I always thought Tufnell Park was different, but once you start to plod up and down them stairs, the similarities start to abound - especially when I find the quiet out of the way council estates that I normally wouldn't walk into.

Well, I cleared 400 this morning, my feet ache, and I've another 600 in a box to clear (plus a few write-in vote leaflets I'm taking up North tomorrow).

I'm here at HO doing a couple of little extra duties - I've just sent a guest post to a blog (will keep you posted if they publish it) and I'm waiting for someone from an archive to look at a few things. Fun, fun fun.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Meetings and meetings

This morning I braved the cold and the wet to speak at Hyde Park - this time armed with a bundle of our freshly printed election leaflets to hand out. Not many people hung around in the rain to listen, but I did get interviewed by someone saying they were from the French media covering the Euro Elections over here. International stardom here I come.

This evening we had our "formal launch" meeting, or, rather, two of our candidates, Pat Deutz and Trsitan Miller standing up and speaking for an hour or so, followed by coffee and cakes (still going on downstairs here in Clapham).

That is, throughout the day, our candidates and speakers have been putting the simple case for common and democratic ownership. Hopefully, some of the work will see light in other forms.

Just to return to the leaflets, they do look good, nice and clear with a simple message and legible writing (well above the standards many other parties put into their literature). Should be going through letter boxes in our Royal Mail mailout sometime this week.

We've had a fewe invites to hustings/meetings, more details on when where shortly, no doubt.

Tommorrow, I'll start shoving leaflets through letrter boxes myself - you can find my thoughts on that joy passim on this blog.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


One thing that happens when you stand for election is that you get lobbied by interest groups who ask you questions saying their members will take them into account when deciding how to vote. Maybe.

Our candidates have received two so far. One was from the Electoral Reform Society conducting "a research project on the diversity of the candidates standing". This consisted of questions to elicit your age, gender, whether you're disabled and your "ethnicity". Those of our candidates will have answered this last by ticking the "other" box and writing "Human Being" or "Member of the Human Race". This is because we consider such questions (all too common on forms now) as unscientific and politically dangerous and divisive and in accordance with the policy re-affirmed at our 2000 Conference:
"For the coming census in 2001 the Party adopt the same policy regarding the question on so-called "race/ethnic origin' as for the 1991 census, namely that members and others should be urged to answer 'Other – Member of the Human Race'."
This may distort the results of the survey, but they shouldn't ask such questions or record the results.

The second was from the Public and Commercial Services Union asking if we supported their demands for better pay and conditions, etc (obviously, we said yes, but that it's up to the workers involved, not us, to see how to go about this). They also had a question on "race" under the heading "A fascist free zone for civil and public services" explaining that "the prison service and the police service are currently allowed to ban staff from being members of far-right groups" and asking:
"Do you support an extension of this ban to other civil and public services?"
To which we replied:
"We are opposed to all bans and prescriptions for merely holding particular views. This is a dangerous precedent which has been, and could be again, extended to people regarded as critical of capitalism. So, no, we don't support the extension of the ban on "being members of far-right groups" to the civil and public service generally, obnoxious and dangerous as their views are. That's not the way to deal with them."
The way to deal with them is to confront their ideas and try to convince them that they are wrong, not to ban them (or kick their heads in).

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Went to the election agents meeting with the Returning Officer in Lewisham Town Hall at Catford yesterday. (I can see what they mean when they say that the London transport system is destined to get workers into the centre and not to get people from one point in the South -- or North -- across to another. It took me over an hour-and-a half to get from Clapham to Catford. Glad I don't have to do it again).

We were told the details of the vote and count. The ballot paper will be a long strip and coloured pale yellow. An enlarged version will on display in all polling stations so that people can look at it before they cast their vote. It is well set out so that voters will be easily able to identify the parties. We're down under our full name of "The Socialist Party of Great Britain", near the end of the party lists. Immediately above us in "The Labour Party" and below us "United Kingdom Independence Party". We're the only party without an emblem (because a committee of the whole party has not been able to agree on one). UKIP's emblem is a £ sign.

The count won't take place till Sunday 7 June as other EU countries won't be voting till them, but the turnout should be available early evening on the Friday.

In London the votes will be counted in the 32 boroughs and then collated centrally. So, we'll get a breakdown of our vote by borough.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Another interfering millionaire

In today's Times there's a Populus poll on how people are thinking of voting. According to the paper's political editor, Peter Riddell,
Just one respondent backed the Jury Team, the new independent grouping and challenger to mainstream politics, set up by Sir Paul Judge, the former Conservative chief executive.
So we now know what JT on the BBC's list of candidates stands for. After James Goldsmith and the Referendum Party and Declan Ganley and Libertas, we now have another millionaire setting up his own party. As we said, political democracy under capitalism is distorted by the fact that some voters are more equal than others because they have the money to stand candidates to express their own personal views.


The old Tory Rottweiler Norman Tebbit has called for a protest vote against the big main parties for the European elections, in the light of the recent corruption scandal. He calls for a vote for minor parties, but doesn't specify which (possibly, given his anti-EU views, he thinks this is a move which would benefit UKIP).

Regardless, if anyone out there feels the urge to heed his call and vote for the Socialist Party in London, our message to you is clear. Don't. We don't want your vote. If you think it's a protest vote, we don't want it. If you think it'll send a message to the big parties, we don't want it. If you would oridinarily vote for Labour or the Tories, we don't want it. We don't want your vote.

We stand to enable any and all who would join the struggle to abolish capitalism to be able to signal to their fellow workers that that is what they want to do. We stand for the sole purpose of emancipating the working class, not soft-padding the chains. We only want the votes of those who understand what socialism is, and actually want it and are prepared to do something about it. We're not leaders, we're not looking for followers, we're only standard bearers.

Take Tebbits proposal and stick it in the right place.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

How not to stop the BNP

The editorial in is yesterday's Times argued:
The British National Party is both an ideological disgrace and hopeless in practice. The main parties must do more to encourage voting in the European elections.
We can agree that the BNP is an ideological disgrace and is hopeless in practice (though the ideology of the main parties is not up to much and they're pretty hopeless too). But we can't agree that voting for one or other of "the main parties" would be a way of discouraging the growth of the BNP.

That would be to ignore the lessons of history, particularly of Germany in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Then, the failure of the democratic, reformist parties to make capitalism work in the interest of the wage and salary working class (an inevitable failure given that capitalism can't be reformed in this way), in particular to prevent a deepening economic crisis, opened the way for anti-democratic parties advocating dictatorship and racial discrimination to blame political democracy, not capitalism, for their problems, with, in Germany, some ssuccess but disastrous results.

There is of course no prospect of the BNP coming to power in Britain but it can certainly grow stronger than it currently is. Naturally, people are concerned about this, but what the Times and others are urging is that the answer is to vote for one or other of "the main parties" (apparently, it doesn't matter which). But since it is the failure (and, at the moment, the blatant corruption) of these parties that allows BNP propaganda to make some headway, more of the same is not going to stop the BNP. It is more likely to encourage it.

In the end the only effective way to counter the BNP is to confront its arguments directly by pointing out that it is capitalism -- not immigration or immigrants or Muslims or Poles -- that is the cause of the problems workers face. That's what we do all the time and why we say a vote for any of the main parties, as a vote for capitalism, is worse than a wasted vote.

Monday, May 11, 2009

They've corrected it at last

The BBC have now published the complete list of candidates for the London region. But they've got one of our names wrong: James Martin has become James Carter. But I can't be bothered any more. And it doesn't matter anyway since it's the case not the face that counts -- fortunately.

Sunday in the Park

Most Sundays during the summer, some party members go to Speakers' Corner at Hyde Park to try and put the message out. During the election campaign, you've a fair chance of running into two or three of our candidates up there, myself included.

Yesterday, was nearly murdered by the pollen from the trees, which didn't help me speak for an hour and a half, but I soldiered on. An odd incident occurred, someone got up as an Italian politician (with translator, poster board and film crew) started speaking. He claimed to be a member of Berlusconi's party, but was more probably a spoofer - his policies were to cut taxes, build on parks, British only public transport and more breasts on the BBC. Come to think of it, that list is just as mad as any serious politicians.

The interesting thing was how the regulars to the bearpit responded. Although Speaker's Corner can reach sublime heights of argument, it is also capable of reaching the sublime idiocy of carnival, tearing down pomp and pose with purposely nonsensical questions. Serious politicians don't go there, for that reason. There is a chance, however, that my mention of myself as a genuine European parliamentary candidate might now appear on an Italian satirical programme...

Friday, May 08, 2009

They've done it again

Missed out candidates they don't consider important, that is. So I've just emailed in this complaint to the BBC news website:
Just listened to the 6 o'clock news on Radio 4 which referred listeners to your website for details of candidates for the European elections. Found here for London but this is by no means complete. 5 Party lists and 5 independent candidates have been omitted. For full list see here.
There is no excuse for this. You need to rectify it quickly to avoid being in breach of the Representation of the People Act.
Adam Buick, Election Agent, The Socialist Party of Great Britain.

Let's see how quickly they put it right.

The official list of candidates

The Returning Officer for the London Region, at Lewisham Town Hall, has published the full list of candidates on the council's website.
There are 14 lists and 5 independent candidates.
The 14 lists (in the order they will appear on the ballot paper) are:

British National Party -- Protecting British Jobs
Christian Party -- Proclaiming Christ's Lordship
Conservative Party
English Democrats -- Putting England First
Jury Team
Liberal Democrats
No2EU : Yes to Democracy
Pro Democracy :
Socialist Labour Party (LEADER ARTHUR SCARGILL)
The Green Party
The Labour Party
The Socialist Party of Great Britain
United Kingdom Independence Party
Yes 2 Europe

Political comment follows separately.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Some are more equal than others

This morning I bought the Irish Times to see what's going on there re these elections. It had an article about Libertas, who are standing a list against us in these elections here in London. Now I know who they are. It is anti-Lisbon Treaty list funded by the same Declan Ganley who financed the No Vote campaign in the Irish referendum on the Treaty.

For a democracy to be genuine everybody should have an equal say but, under capitalism, some -- those who have loads of money -- are more equal than others as they can afford to buy time, and finance, candidates to express their views. Ganley isn't the only capitalist doing this in these elections. The UKIP campaign is being largely funded by the millionaire Stuart Wheeler. And in the 1997 General Election here Private Eye's "Goldenbollocks", Sir James Goldsmith, set up and paid for the Referendum Party.

Some of those on the Libertas list have been recycled from the now defunct Referendum Party. It's doubtful if they would be paid as much to speak as the £50,000 the Irish Times reports Ganley paid Lech Walesa, but, after the election is over, it will be interesting to examine the Libertas list's source of income in detail. In any case, their intervention in this election pollutes it. Having said this, the election procedures are still adequate enough to allow a socialist majority to express its will and get its way.

Change you can't believe in

It's a little known fact that Old Etonians represent an excluded minority, long persecuted and barred from office. At least, that is the message of David "Vote for change" Cameron. Taking President Obama's campaign message, and using it to get Conservatives elected is the latest phase in the silliness that began with Hague's "Conservative revolution" campaign ten years ago.

At a European level the Tories aren't well placed to make any change. They've withdrawn from their European Parliamentary bloc (the European People's Party). They're going to try and set up their own bloc Movement for European Reform. Essentially, leaving the biggest grouping in the Parliament to set up their own potemkin party.

Of course, for our fine feathered revolutionary Tories, they're content to see the European elections solely as a referendum on Gordon Brown's government. Polliticking games to get their arses on Government benches. The Party of peopel "born to rule" want to get back in their rightful place. That's the change they can believe in.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Well, I was on the bus t'other night, and I came across the Green Party's fake newspaper they put out at elections times. You may recall I mentioned how they cunningly accept advertising to pay for it, which will help them keep individuals names from being donors, if nothing else, since a commercial service was received. It rather, though, dents their claims of not being in hock to big business, since clearly instead they are in hock to small/green businesses. Ho hum.

I also noted that they put the legal bit "Published and promoted by..." that indicates it is election related material in the smallest font humanly imaginable.

They re-iterate the water weak EU reasons for voting. They can't put anything as strong as "because you can get what ou want by voting" only the much weaker "you can have a say" - well, I could have a say without voting, voting is about having an effect. You can't, though, have an effect by voting for any politician who is committed to keeping capitalism and the rule of wealth.

Which is, of course, precisely what the Greens do support. Although they are against big business, that only means they favour the little variety, and still support the market system. Their radical pretensions only really put them just to the left of the lib-dems. More another day.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

More anti-EU than thou

One of the declared aims of RMT leader Bob Crow's narrow nationalist "No2Eu" list is to "keep out the BNP". They've evidently decided that one way to do this is to out-BNP the BNP on opposition to the EU. They have declared that, if elected, Bob Crow won't take his seat. They criticise the BNP for not taking up this position:
The BNP claims to oppose the European Union but its leader, who denies the holocaust took place, can’t wait to get on the gravy train and link up with other fascist parties from Italy and France in the European parliament.
Our position is that the EU is a essentially a trading arrangement between various European states and governments which is irrelevant from a working class point of view. While we don't of course support it we don't oppose it more than we oppose capitalism in general. We don't make a single issue of opposing it and certainly don't oppose it like Bob Crow and his supporters (mainly Militant and the Morning Star) on narrow nationalist grounds. Our alternative to the EU is not an independent Britain with its own currency but world socialism and no currency.

Oh, and, yes, if elected we would take our seat.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Thursday, April 30, 2009

A penny per household

It appears that the animal rights party that stood against us in Southwark & Lambeth in the Greater London Assembly elections last year won't be standing in London. In their press release saying they'll be standing in the Eastern Region instead, they say:
"As part of the EU election regulations, we will have a free mail-out of our election leaflet. We can reach one household for just over one penny; for £13 we can print an extra 1,000 leaflets. This is a one-off opportunity to reach so many people so cheaply. We're looking to raise more funds in order to print 500,000 leaflets. "
We hadn't made this calculation, but they seem to have got a better deal than us, no doubt because we are only planning to get the Post Office to distribute 240,000 leaflets : 1.3p per household and £12 to print an extra 1,000 leaflets. Maybe we should be more ambitious . . .

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Surveying the field

Well, since our nomination papers are in, we know who we are, and from the list on Wikipedia, a fair idea of who our rivals will be. Ten lists so far.

Of which four are nationalists of some stripe (UKIP, Libertas, BNP, English Democrats). So far, only Labour and the Green Party represent anything that can be called "the left" with the nationalists, plus the Tories being mainly on the right, and Jury Team and the Lib Dems bringing up the centre.

Anyway, I'll move one in future posts to examining party's manifestos...

To begin with, Labour. Although Labour will bring out their own manifesto, as part of the Party of European Socialists [sic] (PES) they will be committed to enacting this manifesto with their Parliamentary group. It makes for some interesting reading:
almost 17 million people in Europe [are] already out of work and many more in precarious jobs who are among the first to be hit by slow growth; the ever-present risk of home repossessions; and social inequalities, with some 78 million people – many of them children – living below the poverty line or at risk of poverty.
As ever, reformists are good at diagnosing the ills, but fail with their prescription. Their proposal? Regulate the markets. That's going to work. Honest. Of course, wing nut free marketeers nowadays try and blame market regulation for the crisis. After all, the markets are already regulated, it just didn't work.

We'd argue, though, that it can't work, that any system based on the market will eventually fall over. That issue, though, is going to be at the real centre of European politics though, regulation versus deregulation, for some time to come. The stale battle between capitalist parties.

Capitalist Parties? Oh, yes, that the piece of analysis I forgot, all but one of the parties standing is a faction of the capitalist party, there are ten lists, but only two parties. Go on, make the choice between capitalism or socialism, not what flavour capitalism you get.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Nomination Day

The nominations paper were handed in at 11 o'clock this morning. We were the first. They were accepted as valid. Also handed in was the £5000 deposit (which we'll get back if we get 2.5% of the votes cast).

One anomaly is that, being a list election, the full registered name of the parties contesting will appear on the ballot paper as well as any variant of their names they may have used on the nomination papers. We used, as in previous elections, "The Socialist Party (GB)", so both our full name and the variant will appear on the ballot paper. But this is how the Electoral Commission and the Returning Officers have decided to interpret the law. If we had chosen to put our full name this would have appeared twice.

Another anomaly -- in fact a stupidity -- is that the full registered name of the parties contesting will determine the order on the ballot paper in which the lists appear. But "The" is to count as the first word where this is included in the registered name, as it will be for most parties. So nearly all the lists will be under T. Another Electoral Commission and Returning Officers decision. Now if we'd called ourselves Aardwark Socialist Party then we'd be first . . .

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Candidate admits error - shocker!

I was wrong, I misremembered the address on the posters, it was actually I saw on the poster, and that is an EU advert for the EU's elections - essentially a political campaign to get people to support the election by voting. Here are some gems from their top ten list of reasons to vote:

It’s a small effort for a big outcome
Come on! It’s just a few minutes, maybe you can combine it with a walk in the park or a drink in a café. Not much effort to tell Europe what you want. After that it’s easy to follow what your elected members are doing for you - just visit!
It’s for people and prosperity!
Young or old, student or retired, man or woman, employed or independent, mainstream or alternative, town or countrydweller, Europe concerns all of us, often without us realising! Thanks to Europe, we can easily travel, study and work abroad. The EP works tirelessly for a cleaner environment, safer chemicals, better services and jobs. It is an ardent defender of consumer rights, equal opportunities and human rights both in the EU and abroad.
In the pipeline, even weightier MEPs
With the new Lisbon Treaty, once it can be implemented, MEPs’ decision-making powers over EU affairs will once more increase. It will place the Parliament on an equal footing as lawmaker with Member States’ ministers in virtually all areas of EU policy. The Parliament will also elect the President of the European Commission, strengthening its control over the EU executive. Furthermore, you as an EU citizen will have a right to initiate European laws.
Really, a very weak list of reasons to vote, pathetic even. We suggest a better reason to vote: to pursue your class interest by letting your fellow workers know you are opposed to capitalism, and getting ever more of us to bring our weight round to that end. Not consumer rights, nor extra competences for parliamentarians (who will become, gasp, the equals of Ministers and Eurocrats). The best reason to vote is revolt.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Putting the case

I went along, last night, to see Richard Headicar of the Socialist Party debating with John Meadowcroft an academic supporter of capitalism. Due to regent's Park football kick-about commitments, I missed the start.

What I was very interested to hear was the end. In his summation Meadowcroft basically abandoned defending capitalism, and resorted to the tried and tested "it's the least worst system we've got." A great rallying cry of conservatives throughout the ages.

Even more significantly, he ditched egalitarianism. It's often overlooked, that Adam Smith's strongest argument for the market was an egalitarian one. He argued that wages were equal (although they might command different money prices, the irksomeness or ease of the job would balance out over the cost, he claimed). More prosaically, his invisible hand was meant to indicate that pursuit of private trade could assist the general good (a useful selection of Smith quotes can be found here).

How could you look someone in the eye and ask them to be the poor part of society?

If that's the best that an ardent supporter of capitalism can muster now, they're in trouble. Let's hope for more opportunities to expose this weakness soon.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


You may have seen posters around London, urging you to consider the issues covered by the European Parliamentary elections: work life balance, the environment, etc. Now, at first I thought this was the European commission engaged in a voter drive, a political act which the UK government is guilty of often.

In the UK, the electoral commission spend thousands on adverts promoting voting. Choosing not to vote is a political choice - after all, if you think voting is pointless; that the parties on offer won't represent you; if you simply think the body being elected is illegitimiate; or think the elections are fixed or otheriwse unfair; then it is perfectly reasonable to refuse to vote.

As it turned out, however, the website given on the posters is actually something run by a group called CARE - a Christian activist coalition, or third party (as they're known in electoral law), trying to inform (i.e. influence) the vote.

This is a doozey:
In order to remind ourselves why withdrawing from the ballot box is a problem for the Christian, we must reflect on the implications of the Bible's endorsement of government and some of the problems associated with justifications for not voting. Christianity is 'for government'. There is no theological justification for anarchism. First, the Bible makes it plain that government is a good idea, instituted by God to create a legal framework that encourages right and restrains wrong (Romans 13, 1 Peter 2, 13-17, 1 Tim 2, 1-4). It also makes it clear that government doesn't always get it right (Isaiah 10. 1) and that the whole world, and thus including government, needs the projection of Christian salt and light (Matt 5. 13-20, Luke 8. 16).
And some wonder why we in the socialist party are hostile to religion. The above shows the whole problem. Firstly, that religions, in order to survive in the political world have accomodated themselves to the powerful, and thus become adroit at justifying the status quo. Further, their very existence is bound up with an appeal to authority - they say vote according to God's wishes (if you can guess what they are). A game of political "Simon Says". No wonder they find life without government hard to fathom.

We argue that indeed there isn't a need for the government of people, and that it can be replaced by co-operation and the administration of things. We don't need appeals to authority, but apeals to reason. We don't ask for votes based on appeals to loyalty or emotion - if you think common ownership is the solution to the worlds ills, indicate it by voting for us.

If you live, though, in a region where we haven't put up candidates, fine, don't vote for the parties that represent the continuation of capitalism. Or, as I've done in every election I've voted in for the past twelve years, postively abstain by spoiling your ballot paper (I write "World Socialism" across mine).

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Presenting our candidates

Our executive committee approved a list of candidates and, in keeping with party tradition of "it's the case, not the face", decided that the order on the ballot paper would be decided randomly.

The criterion for being a Socialist Party candidate is demonstrably understanding the party's case. The EC had to choose from a list of people who have managed to prove that they can do that. All our candidates are equals within the party, and the listing reflects no more than the order their names came out of the hat.

They are:

Dannny Lambert
Tristan Miller
Janet Carter
Bill Martin
Adam Buick
Simon Wigley
Frederick Allen
Patricia Deutz

You can come hear that case at the following meetings:

Sunday 17 May, 6pm
Speakers: Danny Lambert, Tristan Miller
Socialist Party Head Office, 52 Clapham High St, London SW4 (nearest tube: Clapham North).


Every Sunday between now and election time Hyde Park Speakers' Corner, Danny Lambert, Bill Martin & Adam Buick will be speaking from around 10 in the morning till mid afternoon.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Good News

We may get a free run of the use of the word "socialist" on the ballot paper in these elections. It seems that a number of those who falsely claim to be socialists will be backing the No2eu party led by Bob Crow, the General Secretary of the RMT union. This includes Militant who have attempted to hi-jack our name, but also the so-called Communist Party of Britain (who bring out the Mourning Star) which has a particularly despicable role in dragging the name of socialism through the mud by associating it with the state-capitalist dictatorship that used to exist in Russia under Stalin and his successors. It has been reported that the Respect George Galloway Party is considering joining this "narrow nationalist", anti-EU list. The SWP doesn't seem to be interested either in this list or in the elections.

On the other hand, it seems that the Scargill Labour Party might be standing a one-man list.

Good, if all the pseudo-socialist reformists get together that will make the issue in this election -- capitalism or socialism -- even clearer.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

It’s election time again

Well, we're back again, the go ahead has been given, we're standing a list of candidates in the European Election in June. We'll announce the list shortly, but first, our election address is below:

It’s election time again
Every few years groups of professional politicians compete for your vote to win themselves a comfortable position, this time in the European Parliament. All of the other parties and candidates offer only minor changes to the present system. That is why whichever candidate or party wins there is no significant change to the way things are. Promises are made and broken, targets are set and not reached, statistics are selected and spun.

All politicians assume that capitalism is the only game in town, although they may criticise features of its unacceptable face, such as greedy bankers, or the worst of its excesses, such as unwinnable wars. They defend a society in which we, the majority of the population, must sell our capacity to work to the tiny handful who own most of the wealth. They defend a society in which jobs are offered only if there is a profit to be made.

Real socialism
The Socialist Party urges a truly democratic society in which people take all the decisions that affect them. This means a society without rich and poor, without owners and workers, without governments and governed, a society without leaders and led.

In such a society people would cooperate to use all the world’s natural and industrial resources in their own interests. They would free production from the artificial restraint of profit and establish a system of society in which each person has free access to the benefits of civilisation. Socialist society would consequently mean the end of buying, selling and exchange, an end to borders and frontiers, an end to organised violence and coercion, waste, want and war.

What you can do
You can vote for candidates who will work within the capitalist system and help keep it going. Or you can use your vote to show you want to overturn it and end the problems it causes once and for all.

When enough of us join together, determined to end inequality and deprivation, we can transform elections into a means of doing away with a society of minority rule in favour of a society of real democracy and social equality.

If you agree with the idea of a society of common and democratic ownership where no one is left behind and things are produced because they are needed, and not to make a profit for some capitalist corporation, and are prepared to join with us to achieve this then vote for the SOCIALIST PARTY list.

The establishment of a system of society based on the common ownership and democratic control of the means for producing and distributing wealth by and in the interest of the whole community.