Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/299/13864
Bootle and Wales: New Labour's lies and dirty tricks
SOCIALIST PARTY success in Bootle has continued. Our candidates scored 34% - 672 votes in Netherton and Orrell ward and 8% - 118 votes in Litherland ward.
The Litherland result is particularly good as our candidate, Michael Brierley, stood in the ward for the first time and, due to an error by the printer, our leaflet was not distributed across all of the ward.
In Netherton and Orrell, we increased our share of the vote despite one of the dirtiest campaigns in Britain.
Labour played the race card by raising asylum and immigration in two leaflets. The Guardian attacked the Tories for raising asylum issues in the election, yet Labour precisely raised this issue in Bootle to gain a few extra BNP votes.
Labour attacked the Socialist Party in their last leaflet falsely claiming that the Socialist Party supported "terrorism" because we're opposed to the curtailing of democratic rights under the draconian Terrorist Act!
Bizarrely, Labour claimed the Socialist Party supports "evil regimes" like Robert Mugabe's in Zimbabwe!
Labour tried to raise the fear factor with a leaflet with a cropped photograph of Peter Glover's eyes! - in the same way that the Tories attempted to demonise Tony Blair in a poster during the 1997 election.
On the night before the election, an army of Labour Councillors and supporters were spotted sweeping across the ward with their latest libellous leaflet.
Labour mobilised all their forces borough-wide and directed them to Netherton and Orrell ward yet still couldn't stop us increasing our share of the vote.
Labour lost two seats in Sefton including a cabinet member but they realise that the Socialist Party is their main enemy and will keep trying to lie about our policies and libel our candidates. Watch out for us next year!
Morgan's 'clear red water' helps Labour in Wales
RHODRI MORGAN and "Welsh Labour" are celebrating gaining two seats and a total of 30 out of 60 Welsh Assembly seats. But all the established parties lost votes in the Welsh Assembly elections, as the turnout tumbled from 46% to 38%. Vote strikers outnumbered voters nearly two to one.
Dave Reid, Socialist Party Wales
While the vote for left-wing candidates rose, Plaid Cymru lost five of their 17 seats and nearly half their votes from 1999. Labour, who won the election, shed over 50,000 votes. The election reflected disenchantment with politics but also the contempt that the Assembly is held in.
Labour gained mainly at Plaid Cymru's expense. Labour's leader, Rhodri Morgan, has cultivated an image of "Welsh Labour" which keeps "clear red water" between himself and Tony Blair. In 1999 Blair disastrously imposed Alun Michael as Welsh Labour leader to keep Morgan out. This resulted in massive gains for Plaid last time around.
Welsh Labour introduced free bus travel for pensioners across Wales, abolished SATS at Key Stage One, opposes foundation hospitals and promises free prescriptions and free primary school breakfasts. This built up an image of a Welsh Labour leadership different from right-wing New Labour.
Plaid Cymru's leadership on the other hand, has been trying to show how responsible it really is. The huge gains in 1999, when Plaid appeared a radical alternative to New Labour, evaporated as Plaid lost 145,000 votes, doing particularly badly in seats in Rhondda Cynon Taff and Caerphilly, where it controls councils. Working people have discovered that very little has changed under Plaid.
Only the left increased its votes from 1999. Maverick ex-Labour Assembly Member John Marek won his seat in Wrecsam and his list gained 11,000 votes in North Wales.
The best results for socialists in the constituencies were gained by Socialist Party candidates in Aberavon and Cardiff South and Penarth. In Aberavon Rob Williams got the best socialist vote in Wales while in Cardiff, Dave Bartlett got the second best socialist result and doubled his share of the vote from 1999.
In this Assembly election Welsh Labour used a few radical-sounding promises to shore up its position. However the differences with New Labour in London are minimal and Westminster still controls the purse strings. The "clear red water" that Morgan claims lies between Welsh Labour and New Labour will prove to be an illusion.
The problems facing ordinary working people will not go away. The chronic crisis in the Welsh health service remains unresolved. Public services are in a mess while council taxes go through the roof. As opposition to "Welsh Labour" develops, support for socialist ideas will grow.
Constituency socialist votes:
Rob Williams, Aberavon, (Socialist Party), 608 (3.24%)
Dave Bartlett, Cardiff South & Penarth, (Socialist Party), 585 (2.91%)
Raja Gul Raiz, Cardiff Central, (WSA*), 541 (2.63%)
Chris Herriot, Ogmore, (SLP* ), 410 (2.45%)
Hugh Pudner, Neath, (WSA), 410 (1.85%)
Leigh Richards, Swansea West, (WSA), 272 (1.40%)
Richard Morse, Newport West, (WSA), 198 (0.92%)
Alan Thomson, Swansea East, (WSA), 133 (0.76%)
- WSA: Welsh Socialist Alliance
- SLP: Socialist Labour Party
In The Socialist 10 May 2003: