Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/434/5115
Coventry - re-elect Rob Windsor!
We are focusing in Coventry on getting Rob Windsor (pictured left) re-elected and regaining our third seat on the council, writes Lindsay Currie, Coventry
Defending our public positions is important because of the voice it can give to our party and our ideas.
We are also standing candidates in four other wards, building our base of support across the city.
We work all year round on behalf of the residents of St Michaels ward, which means that when we canvass local residents are already aware of our party and our candidates and so feel confident to vote for us.
In the past year, we have supported disabled residents whose homes are threatened with demolition. Socialist Party members took a petition around the neighbours and managed to get almost 600 signatures. One of the tenants, thanking us for our support, said he had no idea that so many local residents backed their position.
We have also campaigned to retain green space and play facilities in the ward and have continued to build support by getting local residents involved in the campaigns.
Councillors Dave Nellist and Karen McKay have fought hard for the interests of local residents when resisting planning applications for large developments and have gained many improvements in terms of parking, green space and accessibility.
Our involvement in campaigning on NHS cuts and privatisation has also gained much support across the city. A recent public meeting attracted over 70 people, including many health workers. While canvassing, we are able to raise these issues and invite people to become more involved.
While we have a strong base of support for our ideas within St Michaels ward we have to fight continually to maintain our position. The population of the ward is not the same as when Dave Nellist first won his seat in 1998. The original working-class population is disappearing, partly due to the demolition of social housing which is being replaced with expensive private developments, and there are a large number of students, asylum seekers and migrant workers moving in and out of the area.
However, when we speak to people who are new to the area and to the ideas of the Socialist Party, we find they support our ideas and so find it easier to support us than New Labour.
The canvassing we have done so far shows that we have a realistic chance of winning the seat back to ensure that St Michaels ward once again has three socialist councillors fighting and speaking up for working-class residents.
In The Socialist 6 April 2006: