Sunday, April 29, 2012

The man in the blue turban

Yesterday was the last Saturday before the election. Unfortunately it rained all day so we didn't do our stall in Clapham High Street and our election meeting there had below average attendance (though there was still an interesting discussion). Some leaflets were distributed in nearby Larkhill ward (the ward we did best in last time).

We had received an invitation to a hustings at exactly the same time organised by the "British Organisation of People of Indian Sub-continental Origin" (BOPIO) in Tooting. Unfortunately Bill, our candidate for the area (Tooting is in Wandsworth) couldn't attend as he was out of London, but the organisers allowed us to be represented by his election agent. So I went. On my way I saw an SWP poster saying "Boot Out Tory Boris" and "Vote Ken Livingston for Mayor. Vote Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) Against Cuts for the Assembly." I took a photo of it for the record as another example of the SWP's policy of campaigning to vote Labour.

The meeting was introduced by BOPIO President, Sinna Mani. He told me before the meeting that he thought at first we were Militant but then realised who we were. He said he knew somebody whose father had been in the party. It turned out to be Baroness Joan Lestor. I told him that she'd been in the party too before defecting to Labour.

All the parties who sent speakers (Labour, Tory, Liberal, Green) sent someone "of Indian sub-continental origin" (however remote), the Tory (somebody from their list) wearing a magnificant blue turban but he sounded like any Young Tory. Also present was Siobhan Benita, the Independent candidate for Mayor and darling of the chattering classes. She revealed that her mother had also come from the Indian subcontinent. She came out with nonsense about things being better if they were run by an "independent" rather than representatives of a political party, as if that would make any difference to the way capitalism works.

Also present was a one-person list for the GLA, Rathy Alagaratnam, who also came out with the "independents" would be better nonsense. Surprisingly, the independent candidate for Merton & Wandsworth, Thamilini Kulendran, did not turn up.

Afterwards we were all photographed for the BOPIO website. The organiser said she would circulate their members with the views of the parties and candidates who had turned up. So our views should reach a wider audience than the 25 or so who were present.

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