Thursday, March 31, 2016

Time to get loud

Sorry I've been quiet: the plague that never ends has been chipping away at me for weeks, so it was with some difficulty that I managed to travel across Norf Lahndon to Waltham Forest Town Hall (truly, a building fit for a national Parliament, a 1930's Art-Deco Palace set in vast grounds). So, my nomination papers are in, and I begin leafletting shortly (as soon as this cough closes). I already have one hustings invite: Date: Saturday 23rd April, 5pm – 7:30pm Venue: St Mark’s Church Hall (Lower Hall) in Dalston St Mark Dalston, Dalston Organised by Friends of the Earth. So, we're off! *cough* *hack* *wheeze*

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Lambeth and Southwark constituency: nomination accepted

The nomination papers and deposit for our candidate in Lambeth and Southwark, Kevin Parkin, were handed in at Brixton Town Hall this morning and accepted.

We won't know until, appropriately enough, 1 April who the other candidates, all standing for capitalism in one form or another, will be, though it's certain that Labour, Liberals and the Tories (all three same old, same old) will be standing along with the Greens (imaginary return to small scale capitalism) and UKIP (imaginary capitalism in one country).

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

South West constituency: Nomination accepted

The nomination papers and election deposit for our candidate in the South West constituency (Hounslow, Kingston, Richmond), Adam Buick, were handed in and accepted this morning at Hounslow Civic Centre.

This means that we will be on the ballot paper. There are 432,000 electors in the constituency. If it's the same as last time only about 40% will turn out to vote, but every elector there and in fact everywhere in London will receive a booklet with the manifestos of the candidates for mayor but also a list of all those standing for the Greater London Assembly. So even some of those who won't be bothering to vote will still be able to know we're standing.

As we arrived in Hounslow early we distributed a few of the election leaflets. A bit premature but we did see some evidence of other political activity -- a glossy leaflet from the Stay in the EU campaign headed "More Jobs. Lower Prices. Your family is better off with Britain in Europe". Rather misleading as more probably staying in will make no difference either to jobs or prices. We also spotted a sticker on a lamppost saying "Refugees, Fuck Off Back Home". So UKIP will be able to count on at least one vote here.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Education for competitiveness

Twenty or so people turned up for the Education Question Times meeting in Richmond last night. Our candidate got equal time with the others.

The discussion was mainly, but not entirely, on education. In answer to the last question, the other candidates confirmed our candidate's assertion that under capitalism the education system's main role was to turn out for employers workers of required types in the required numbers. They, and NUT Deputy General Secretary Kevin Courtney, spoke in terms of the need for a better education system in Britain to improve Britain's competitive position on the world market.

Only the UKIP candidate, Alan Caaig, dissented a little, saying he agreed with the socialist candidate that this was not what education should be about. A bit embarrasing but then he is a christian and so probably has a pre-capitalist view of education. He had in fact been the leader of the Christian Peoples Alliance until 2013 when he defected to UKIP. He wasn't heckled, so Richmond NUT can't have any SWP members as the SWP pursue a no-platform policy towards UKIP. He spoke last and got in a plug for the Vote Leave EU campaign. Speaking to him afterwards, he was surprised to learn that we weren't in favour of this but were neither for nor against as he expected a socialist to be against "the capitalist EU".

The Labour candidate, Martin Whetton, is the Merton Council's Cabinet Member for Education, i.e a full-time professional politician. He used up most of his 5-minute introduction urging people to vote for Sadiq Khan as Mayor of London. Incidentally, there's a full-page ad for him in this week's London local papers painting him as "The Council Estate Boy who will fix the Tory Housing Crisis". Oh yes? So he's going to buck the law of supply and demand?

The Liberal spokesperson (not a candidate for the constituency but on the LibDems all-London list), Merlene Emerson, said she was from Singapore and is the founder of the Chinese Liberal Democrats. Which may explain the presence of a reporter/photographer from a free English-language paper available in Soho. So, if anyone's there next week, pick up a copy to see if we get a mention.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Civic Centre formalities

Our candidate in South West and the election agent went to a briefing at Hounslow Civic Centre yesterday evening. Didn't learn anything we didn't know but it's always useful to be reminded of the regulations and meet those who will be enforcing them. The acting Returning Agent was a bit shocked when we said we'd pay the £1000 election deposit in cash. Apparently, she'd never seen that amount of cash before.

We'll be handing in all the nomination papers next Wednesday 23 March at 11am.

There was confirmation that the election booklet distributed to all 5 million or so electors in London will contain not just the candidates for Mayor and their statements but also the names and parties of all those contesting the GLA seats. So everyone who reads the booklet will know we are standing in 3 of the 14 constituencies and covering 8 of the 32 London boroughs.

We took the opportunity to look for a suitable spot to hold a literature stall one Saturday in April. Not difficult because most of the main street is pedestrianised.

Monday, March 14, 2016

No, we won't be

We have now recent an email letter from the local NUT organiser officially inviting us to their Education Question Time in Richmond on Thursday. We have thanked her and accepted, so we'll be there on the platform with the other declared candidates (except the outgoing Tory member for the constituency, Tony Arbour)

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Will they no-platform us?

According to a quarter page advert in Friday's Richmond & Twickenham Times there's a question time meeting on education in Richmond on Thursday 17 March to be addressed by the candidates standing in the GLA South West constituency which we are contesting. Full details here.

Even though the Greater London Talking Shop has no responsibility for education, "poverty and inequality", "affordable housing" and "exam factory conditions" need to be discussed. In fact, during this election, we'll be bringing up much broader issues: capitalism as the cause of these and many other problems and that there is no soluttion to them within one country. Capitalism is a world system whose economic laws limit what any government can do. Only worldwide socialism can provide the only framework in which they can be constructively and lastingly solved.

We were not invited, no doubt in the first instance because the organisers (the local NUT branch) would not have been aware that we are standing. The local press were informed a couple of weeks ago but have not yet informed their readers. We have now let the organisers know and we'll see what happens. In any event, West London branch members will be at the meeting to leaflet it and make sure that everyone attending knows we will be standing.

There may well be others standing too as nominations don't close till 31 March.