AWL member Jill Mountford is standing in the Camberwell and Peckham constituency whose sitting MP is the prominent Labour MP Harriet Harman.
Over the last few weeks AWL members and our supporters have leafleted most of the constituency, and are building for our second meeting on a local estate.
Members have been working hard, discussing with residents and workers. Femi, a journalist from Nigeria, met us in Peckham Rye and commented that Labour had managed to hand out billions to the bankers but could not fix the pot-holes in the road [we were standing next to huge craters], or clear up the litter from outside his block of flats.
Almost no-one has anything positive to say about the New Labour government or the local council (run by a coalition of Liberals and Tories). Many feel betrayed and angry.
Edwin, an unemployed building worker from Camberwell, told us he had been looking for work for eight months and the strain is beginning to tell on his family. Others have very similar stories.
Commuters getting off of the train at Peckham Rye often stop to buy a paper, or take a leaflet and wish us well.
Jill Mountford told Solidarity, “The issue that is raised time and again is the state of public housing in the area. People with families, physical disabilities or who are elderly often find living in high-rise accommodation is inappropriate. Others complain that rents are high and that council stock is run-down and badly maintained.
“On the Aylesbury estate the residents are being pushed aside for a PFI privatisation project which will replace a great deal of council housing with a mix of new homes, many unaffordable to the people who currently live in the area.”
Jill said, “I had a letter printed in the Guardian against Harman’s risible, newly-manufactured, ‘class war’ pose. After that letter I had lots of encouragement from all sorts of people in the local area. People I only know vaguely came up and congratulated us. They want someone to stand up against New Labour and the other mainstream parties. They feel left out of the political process, with no-one to represent them.
“The nicest thing that happened last week was when a teaching assistant at my kids' school gave me a hug and a kiss in the playground after seeing the campaign leaflet that we’d posted through her front door. She had obviously passed the leaflet around other TAs — some of whom expressed support too.”
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