Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 28 November 2006

Socialist Party youth rally

OUT OF the comfort of the boardroom came a familiar sight to viewers of Question Time (but not so much to an audience at a Socialist Party youth rally!), a representative of the Tory party Mark Clarke, chair of Conservative Future, the youth wing of the Tory party.

Ian Slattery, Huddersfield

Alongside him for the closing Sunday afternoon youth rally of Socialism 2006 were some alternative views from the Young Greens (Aled Dilwyn Fisher), the Labour Representation Committee (LRC - Owen Jones), International Socialist Resistance (Sarah Sachs-Eldridge) and Socialist Students (Matt Dobson).

Each were given three minutes to answer questions posed by members of the audience: on education, the Iraq war, young workers and the environment. As the Liberal Democrats Youth and the Labour Students had failed to appear, Mark Clarke was alone in defending the policies of capitalism as he admitted, an embarrassing position to be in at an event like Socialism 2006. The representative from Respect also refused to attend.

However, if Mark Clarke thought that was going to let him off the hook he was rudely awoken. Question after question threw up incredible claims by Clarke that were immediately disqualified by any of the other four speakers. Emotions reached a peak when, to a huge cheer from the audience, Socialist Students national organiser Matt Dobson ripped into Clarke after Tory-boy had the audacity to proudly claim that he fully backed the war from the beginning. "Your party has funded murderers for the last 30 years by selling arms across the world", Matt exclaimed, followed by heckles of "accessory" from the crowd. Clarke sat smiling, but killers are killers and our disgust was real.

The first question set the tone of the debate as Clarke argued that "education is never free, someone always pays," before claiming, "one couldn't knock on a door, perhaps talking to someone not too well off, and tell them that they are paying extra taxes to fund education for people they don't even know." Needless to say all other speakers spoke above that embarrassingly patronising level, putting forward concrete ideas as to how to fight for the cost of education and its future funding.

Matt spoke of Socialist Student's campaign to defeat fees and the need for a united struggle involving all student groups, including those on the platform. Aled from the Green Party continued along those lines, describing a "conveyer belt" system from universities to jobs.

Sarah from ISR pointed out that the Green Party's position in Brighton (where they supported the setting up an ALMO a form of housing privatisation) seemed to contradict the anti-privatisation rhetoric of Aled. She also drew inspiration from the movements in Chile, France and Greece - mass campaigns of students fighting alongside workers against education cuts.

The fiery war debate followed. Sarah dealt with the position of those who argue that the UN should have intervened in Iraq, pointing out that the war was over "oil, prestige and power", so any UN-backed approach would have still had the same goal.

Matt again showed the hypocrisy of the Green position by pointing out that on their website they support an alternative to NATO, the OSCE, which is a free market organisation.

By this time Owen from the LRC had arrived. He immediately attacked the Labour Party himself, pointing out that "this war showed the complete lack of democracy in New Labour." He also began his 'vote John McDonnell' campaign immediately, stating his strong anti-war stance and pledge to immediately withdraw troops from Iraq.

Clarke continued toeing the Tory line with the next question about the minimum wage, arguing that "if we put wages up then the number of jobs available will go down"!

Sarah pointed out the importance of trade union involvement in low pay campaigns and that it is the most militant unions, like the PCS, who are gaining the most ground on the issue of raising wage levels. She added that young people are now so put off by Labour that by having 'Vote Labour' on their leaflets, unions like USDAW lose a large layer of youth.

Owen pointed out that the RMT and FBU both help fund the LRC, saying that "it would be easier and more likely for trade unions to support John McDonnell than any Campaign for a New Workers' Party." Easier perhaps, but that doesn't address the far more important issue of which would be more productive to support! Unfortunately Owen failed to develop any of his apparently socialist or left ideas enough to prove how they would work inside a party that has shown contempt for such policies and ideas.

The final topic of the environment still failed to help Aled prove to the crowd that his opinions were not just his own but reflected the party as a whole - his speech about the problems of capitalist parties sounded as nave as Owen's points about the lack of democracy in New Labour.

Most in the audience were hoping for a uniting of the four socialists on the platform, but it became obvious that while they were united in their derision of the 19th century Tory policies put forward by Mark Clarke, socialism is the idea of a minority inside both the Green Party and the Labour Party.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 28 November 2006:

Public health not private profit

Nurses against 'natural wastage'

Swansea says no closures

Ipswich campaign saves nurses' jobs

Pensioners lead the way

Socialism 2006

Socialism 2006 main rally

Films show a world of rising struggles

Socialist Party youth rally

Socialism 2006: a great success

Collection a big success

Socialism 2006 closing rally: defend the NHS

Sri Lanka


Stop the fat cats! No to Cutbacks! Fight tuition fees!

New Socialist Party publication

Marxism in Today's World

The Socialist Interview

Can Labour be reclaimed?

Homelessness Feature

Homelessness: Privatising the problem

International socialist news

Worldwide protests at MP's murder

Leicester protest

Thatcher's monetarist guru dies

Prodi government under siege

US rages but Ortega's victory is no revolution

Socialist Party news and analysis

Queen's speech says 'work till you drop'

Lincoln organises against the far right

Socialist Party workplace news

Local government pensions: We're no April fools!

Disciplinary action against UNISON secretary

JJB Sports workers score a victory

Fujitsu on strike


Home   |   The Socialist 28 November 2006   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:

Socialist Party:

triangleConference on state spies: who's watching who?

trianglePowerful picture of the Port Talbot steel workers' struggle

triangleHundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

triangle'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future

triangleCan you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?


triangleOctober 1917 reviews: 'More bright than any heaven'

triangleRussia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangleShocking insight into Isis

triangleChe Guevara 50 years on - revolutionary socialist and fighter


triangleCardiff East Socialist Party: Why you have to be Red to be Green

triangleDon't wreck our rec! Campaigning to save green space in Standish

triangleInterest at Nottingham Green festival

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns


North West

Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay


Democratic rights

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?



Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni


Royal Mail

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers



Balloting members on the pay cap



'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future



Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison


South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP



Uprising to save the NHS!



Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?


East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!


North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses



Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems



Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now



Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party out the Tories

More ...

triangle21 Oct Birmingham: NSSN Solidarity Forum

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice