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From The Socialist newspaper, 19 April 2007

Election reports

Leicester: A principled stand against opportunists

Steve Score, Leicester Socialist Party

Steve Score, Leicester Socialist Party

A Mercedes pulls up outside the Leicester Royal Infirmary; out jumps a group of Liberal Democrats holding placards saying "Liberals against NHS cuts". At that moment a photographer shows up to take a picture. Within a minute they have all gone!

Steve Score, Socialist Alternative candidate, Braunstone Park and Rowley Fields ward

This incident, witnessed by Socialist Party members holding one of our regular 'defend the NHS' campaign stalls outside the hospital, shows the unabashed opportunism of the main parties in the run-up to the 3 May local elections. These parties have not been seen on any of the protests against health service cuts and privatisation held in Leicester. On the other hand, the Socialist Party has been very much involved in building the anti-cuts demonstrations.

It illustrates that even the other political parties have realised that the latest round of cuts in the Leicester hospitals, involving 900 job losses and 200 bed cuts, is generating a lot of anger among local people.

Unfortunately one of the parties jumping on this bandwagon is the BNP, who issued a leaflet across the ward attacking Labour for NHS cuts and opposing privatisation. The Socialist Party has been out countering their lies, pointing out that not only have they done nothing in the campaign, but also that their approach would divide working class people in the struggle to save the NHS.

Because of disillusionment with all the main parties, there is the danger that the BNP will get support unless we can show that there is a genuine working class alternative.

In Leicester we have seen a seesawing of power on the council between Labour and a Lib Dem-Tory coalition. All have been responsible for cuts in services.

One of the biggest local campaigns in recent years was the campaign against the closure of Wycliffe school on Braunstone estate, in which the Socialist Party played a leading role.

To add to the complication, the local councillors in the ward have split from the Lib Dems to join the tiny "Liberal Party". This has nothing to do with principles and everything to do with them being left out of the spoils of office - ie not being given cabinet posts in the council.

There are 17 candidates from eight parties standing in this three-seat ward! This not only includes the BNP, but also the English Democrats. The Green Party is also standing a candidate.

We have been canvassing and running campaign stalls with good results; selling about 250 copies of the socialist in the last three weeks and raising hundreds of pounds for our party's fighting fund. There are a number of new people interested in joining the Socialist Party who are offering to help in the campaign.

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

In The Socialist 19 April 2007:

Kick big business out of the NHS

Nurses' fury at cuts and attacks on jobs

NHS London - delivering private health

Socialist Students

Build for national action against fees

Socialist Party election campaign

Election manifesto 2007

Leicester: A principled stand against opportunists

Young socialist standing for Save Huddersfield NHS

Wales manifesto launch

Save our NHS campaign fields five candidates in South Lakes

Nursery cuts campaign launch

Making a difference in Lincoln

Vote Socialist Alternative on 3 May

Socialist Party editorial

RMT victory: Union militancy pays

Campaign for a New Workers Party

Wanted - a new mass party for workers

Campaign for a New Workers' Party Conference

Socialist Party workplace news

Tube workers win big victory over Metronet

Campaigning for a 26,000 minimum wage

Young trade unionists reject New Labour

Greenwich UNISON steps up fight against pay cuts

International socialist news and analysis

Venezuela: Will the trade unions give up their independence?

Bush's man at the World Bank in corruption scandal

Socialist Party news and analysis

Bosses' Pension

Blockading Britain's warhead factory

Fighting for the right to walk in the countryside

Cuts reduce advice for the people who most need help

Bank that only serves the rich


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