General Election 2005

Why George Galloway should not be reckoned as “the left in Parliament”

By John Bloxam

However weak the opposition, Galloway clearly got a big boost from his performance in front of the two US senators on 17 May.

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Why did the LibDems get the anti-war vote?

Pete Radcliff, an AWL member, stood in Nottingham East under the banner of Socialist Unity. He got 373 votes, or 1.2% of the poll, about a third of his score in 2001. He writes about the lessons of the campaign

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Cynics through and through

By Bruce Robinson

In Manchester Withington, the Liberal Democrats overturned an 11,524 Labour majority with a 20% swing to win the seat by 667 votes.

Early in the campaign, I was called by a Lib Dem phone canvasser. When asked why I wasn’t going to vote for them, I said “It’s because you’re a bunch of cynical opportunists.” (Not the whole reason, but a good enough starting point!) The Lib Dem campaign bore this out.

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Vote Socialist or Labour!

How should socialist activists, trade unionists and anti-war activists vote in the 2005 election? The immediate choices of government are miserable.

The main thing socialist activists can do in this election is to convince more people to become socialists, and to make efforts to organise workers more broadly towards socialist ideas.

That is why it is right for us to stand under our own colours and offer our own ideas to the electorate in as many areas as we have the resources for. But this can only be part of a longer-term campaign to win support for socialist ideas.

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Fighting for a workers' government

One thing is certain about the General Election. The new government after 5 May will be one that most working-class people regard as arrogant, unresponsive, accountable, and one that is attuned more to the drives of global capital than to the wants and needs of most voters.

A third Blair-Labour regime, a Labour/ Lib-Dem coalition, or a Tory/ Lib-Dem coalition - those are about the only possibilities, and none look good.

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How to fight anti-Muslim prejudice

By Mike Rowley

The racist rhetoric of the 2005 election is already leading to violent attacks. Devon and Cornwall police have made a public statement about "election-related racism" inspired by far-right parties.

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Galloway reaps what he sows

By John Bloxam

George Galloway, the loud cheerleader for the fundamentalists and others of the Iraqi "resistance", noticeably changed tack last week when some fundamentalists turned up on his own doorstep.

On Tuesday, 19 April, a group took over a meeting he was addressing in a tenants' hall. He accused the "fundamentalists" of holding him hostage, issuing a fatwa against him and threatening to string him up.

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Stop victimising travellers!

The Tories have used the election campaign to pour scorn and hatred on gypsies and travellers. This has spurred the Sun newspaper into an explicitly racist "Stamp on the Camps" campaign against travellers, and there has been an increase in physical attacks on travellers.

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Not alternatives to Labour

Many socialists, trade unionists and campaigners who would usually vote Labour are thinking of supporting Respect, the Green Party or the Lib Dems as an alternative to Labour in the coming general election. We examine the manifestos of these parties to see whether they deserve such hopes being pinned on them.

Respect

Respect's manifesto, "Peace, Justice, Equality", was launched on 17 April. An alternative title for it might have been "For good stuff, against bad stuff".

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The race-hate election: Why don't unions answer Tory racists?

Unison, one of the UK's biggest unions recently sent a broadsheet to its members, "Labour Link News", reminding them of the bad things the Tories did when power. One of the bad things it chose to highlight was this: "The total number of asylum applications increased by 45% between 1993 and 1997, while Michael Howard was Home Secretary".

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A case for workers' control

By Colin Foster

Tories are saying that pay-outs to top bosses should be curbed, and New Labour is saying no such action is necessary. That's a measure of where Blair and Brown have taken the Labour Party.

On 25 April the fund management group Foreign and Colonial called for insurance firms to require companies to make directors pay back bonuses if company's profit performance subsequently turns out to have been poor.

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Tubeworker 1/5/05: Shorter working week / General Election

The new issue of Tubeworker outlines how management are using the shorter working week agreements for stations and signalling staff as cover to push through attacks on the workforce, and calls for action under rank-and-file control. It also laments the worst General election in living memory, and reports on workplace issues including next week's TfL strike and the ongoing threats to our pensions.

Click 'read more' to read the text, and 'download' to download PDF.

Stations & Signals: Stop the Jobs Massacre

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Refugees and gypsies scapegoated in a race-hate election

By Rosalind Robson

For some months now the Tories and Labour have been trying to win votes by competing to see who can be the most “hardline” against asylum seekeers. More recently the Tories have added gypsies and travellers to their list of “undesirables”.

Michael Howard has probably beaten Tony Blair with his nasty populist election campaign. Now he is “out on the stump” spewing out his message — “It’s not racist to want to control immigration”; and “Let’s clamp down on illegal traveller sites.”

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Ugly contest in East London

By John Bloxam

The Respect coalition’s electoral prospects on 5 May are increasingly focussed on George Galloway, who is standing in Bethnal Green and Bow, east London. The electoral “breakthrough” that the Galloway-SWP alliance have been predicting for their “radical fourth party” has now narrowed to getting Galloway, a sitting MP with a high public profile, elected in a seat with a 50% Muslim vote. “Imagine the impact if Respect wins a seat…” (Socialist Worker, 9 April, emphasis added). Respect’s footsoldiers, the SWP have made this seat their priority.

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Why the IRA might go political

By Annie O’Keeffe

The 5 May UK election, which will return 17 Northern Ireland MPs to Westminster, will establish just what impact the months-long campaign by London and Dublin politicians and the media they influence has had on the standing of Sinn Fein with Northern Ireland’s nationalist electorate.

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Vote socialist or Labour!

By Colin Foster

Stay at home and curse at the TV? Go to the polling station and write something left-wing on your ballot paper, in the hope that you get a message across at least to the individual who counts your vote? Vote for the Lib-Dems, on the grounds that at least they criticised the Iraq war, however queasily and weakly, and gains for them will punish Blair?

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Nottingham challenge

At the count after the 2001 general election, Nottingham East Labour MP and government whip John Heppell gave over much of his victory speech to denouncing his socialist challenger Pete Radcliff. Not, unfortunately, that Pete Radcliff had come near to defeating Heppell and winning the seat — but Heppell was evidently aware that the socialist campaign had bitten into the core of previously committed Labour supporters, and did not know how to answer its arguments.

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Help socialist ideas get a hearing against Blair, Kennedy, and Howard!

Send a contribution to Pete Radcliff's Socialist Unity candidacy in Nottingham East, part of the England-wide Socialist Green Unity Coalition in this General Election. Cheques to "Nottingham SGUC" via P O Box 823, London SE15 4NA, or use the AWL online donation facility here and we will forward the money to Nottingham.

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Tubeworker 11/4/05

The new issue of Tubeworker assesses the forthcoming General Election, and sounds the alarm about stations de-staffing and attacks on pensions.

Click 'read more' to read the text, or 'download' to download.

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General Election: WHAT CHOICE FOR WORKERS?

<> vote socialist or labour <> fight for workers’ representation <>

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Where Michael Howard learned to "talk tough"

Michael Howard’s summary execution of Howard Flight, the Tory MP who talked candidly about the Tories’ tax and spending plans at a private meeting, has prompted a storm of protest in the Tory Party. Tory Party members are apparently not used to such “firm leadership”, nor diktats from the centre. They are used to pottering around their leafy constituencies, networking over sherry. Maybe that is why the Tory Party has such a high quota of eccentrics and mavericks.

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Vote for our side, not the least bad of theirs

In the Guardian on 26 March, Tariq Ali, who back in the late 1960s and early 70s was perhaps Britain’s best-known Marxist, called for a “tactical vote” for the Liberal Democrats in the General Election likely on 5 May.

Because the Liberal Democrats have become much more left-wing? On the contrary, they have been carefully “re-positioning” themselves as business-friendly and pro-privatisation. At their spring conference in March the Lib-Dems passed policy to ban any strikes which “will cause far reaching damage to the economy and national interest”.

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Hands off our bodies! Hands off our votes!

By John O’Mahony

The forces of militant obscurantism, bigotry, intolerance, and social regression, are on the march in Britain! Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor has implicitly advised Catholics to vote for Michael Howard’s Conservative party in the General Election, on the grounds that the Tories support a lower limit for legal abortion — 20 weeks of pregnancy instead of 24.

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Election 2005: The choices

Only 27% of adults think that their vote gives them a say in how the country is run, but 67% insist that they want to have a say.

About eight in 10 say that they are “interested in politics” one way or another, and on average questionnaires about interest in politics show no decline since the 1970s, but only 52% say that they are certain to vote in the coming General Election.

Young people are more likely to have been politically active — twice as likely to have taken part in a demonstration, picket, or march as older people — but much less likely to vote.

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