Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/357/5888

From The Socialist newspaper, 24 July 2004

Save Our Special Schools campaign

"It's Been A Real Education"

JUST OVER three weeks ago Save Our Special Schools (SOSS) was a small local campaign that few outside the schools knew much about. But, as SCOTT HERBERT from Leicester reports, in the recent Leicester South by-election it made its mark.

SOSS WAS started after the local education authority (LEA) came up with proposals to close Leicester's six special schools last October. They have since been campaigning to get the LEA and the council to listen to our concerns and even look at new ways forward into the education of special needs children.

However, after many months of campaigning it felt that its main aim was still being ignored. So, with the support of the group, Pat Kennedy decided to stand in the by-election.

Although the Socialist Party had initially decided to stand, we decided to stand down and assist SOSS and we urged other Left groups like the Socialist Labour Party and Respect to do the same. We felt that one candidate supported by the Left on such an issue would have a bigger impact than three standing separately.

At a Leicester Social Forum meeting, the Muslim group, friends of Al-Aqsa, asked for a meeting to be convened to decide a "left of labour" candidate for the election. Their representative indicated that they would be able to deliver 5,000 votes to whomever it was agreed would stand.

When the meeting took place everyone from the Left in Leicester, including the Greens, attended, except Respect - who had initially indicated they would participate.

Socialist Party member Steve Score proposed to the meeting that Pat Kennedy be the candidate. After some discussion over whether or not a single-issue candidate was a good idea there was a consensus to back Pat as the unity candidate.

Almost immediately after the decision a Respect representative - a member of the Socialist Workers' Party - burst in and demanded we reverse our decision and support a Respect candidate.

Hard work

FOR THE next two weeks a lot of hard work was put in by the SOSS campaign and Pat who had claimed at the start of the campaign: "I know nothing about politics". He soon learnt.

At the first hustings meeting of the campaign - organised by friends of Al-Aqsa - Yvonne Ridley voted against the SLP candidate's request to answer the questions. Yvonne Ridley claimed to be the only anti-war candidate but both Pat and the SLP candidate were opposed to the Iraq invasion and occupation.

On election day 204 people went out in the wind and rain to vote for Save Our Special Schools candidate Pat Kennedy.

It may be thought that because Pat only got 204 votes his supporters may have been disappointed. But when I asked SOSS members if they had a good time the reply was: "It's been a real education. It's so unfair that the media only takes any notice of you if you've got lots of money to throw at an election!"

The Save Our Schools campaign have learnt a lot in the last two weeks, not only about the media and mainstream politics but about the attitudes of the different groups on the Left as well.

This is only the end of an election campaign as far as SOSS is concerned. And they will still be there campaigning to save special schools in Leicester when all the other parties and media circus have gone.


No Respect

DURING QUESTIONS from the floor at the Respect hustings in the Leicester South by-election, Socialist Party member Tim asked George Galloway if he supported the establishment of a new mass workers' party, preferably on a socialist programme.

He also asked George about how he would see the development of such a party taking place in Britain. Part-icularly, he asked what approach should Respect take towards sections of the working class who enter political struggle even on a single-issue or a limited programme, such as SOSS.

Tim pointed out that the Scottish Socialist Party had stood down in the Stobhill by-election to support local hospital campaigners.

Tim received a warm response and was clapped. However, George Galloway's response to this legitimate questioning was extremely hostile.

He said: "The gentlemen is a Socialist Party member who doesn't support Respect and his question is disingenuous''. He added that at the next meeting of the Respect executive he would recommend that they had nothing more to do with the Socialist Party!

Although the SWP members present gave this a huge round of applause, other people in the audience couldn't comprehend or accept Galloway's hostility. SWP members followed this with a torrent of abuse against our members, leading a woman, who was in no way allied to the Socialist Party, to say that it was a free country and we were right to say what we wanted.

After the meeting Socialist Party members were harassed out of the door by SWP members.

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


In The Socialist 24 July 2004:

United Action To End Low Pay, Stop Job Cuts and Defend Public Services

Stop The Civil Service Jobs Cull

Fight For Your Rights

Save Our Special Schools campaign


Socialist Party news and analysis

Blair: Clinging On To The Wreckage

Labour's Crime Policies Won't Work

Iraq: The Brutal Truth About Occupation

Take Back The Railways!

'Off-Shoring': The Bosses' Global Attack On Workers


 

Home   |   The Socialist 24 July 2004   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Education:

trianglePlans to launch no-cuts campaign at Kirklees College

triangleDemonstrations by uni students and staff greet Bath vice-chancellor resignation

triangleTeachers strike in Sheffield

triangleBrighton Uni lecturers strike against job cuts

triangleSocialist Students day of action demands free education

Respect:

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

triangleYoung people accused of extremism

triangleResignation of five Respect councillors in Bradford

triangleBradford Respect: Where did it all go wrong?

Schools:

triangleOpposition to new academy school being built on Leeds playing fields

triangleTeachers, students and parents demand an end to the schools funding crisis

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

Socialist:

triangleTamil Solidarity AGM & public meeting

triangleBirmingham South East Socialist Party: Can the Labour Party be changed?

Socialist Party:

triangleCoventry Socialist sales hit 1,000

Election:

triangleBlairite horror and Labour's divisions graphically exposed

Leicester:

triangleGlenfield victory shows people power can save our NHS

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

7/12/17

RMT

Anti-DOO lobby of Liverpool's transport committee

7/12/17

Blacklisting

Unite protest against blacklisting

6/12/17

Donald Trump

Mobilise to stop bigoted billionaire Donald Trump's state visit to Britain

6/12/17

Transport

Arriva bus strikers stand firm

6/12/17

Pensions

BT pensions review - oppose the attacks on the pension schemes

6/12/17

PCS

Driving examiners walkout hits first day of new test

6/12/17

Newham

School staff strike against privatisation

6/12/17

Rail

Brutal rail privateer Abellio takes over Midlands rail services

6/12/17

PCS

PCS Left Unity celebrates 40th anniversary at annual conference

6/12/17

North Yorkshire

Court maintains injunction against fracking protesters

6/12/17

Waltham Forest

Waltham Forest Universal Credit protest

6/12/17

Coventry

Coventry Socialist sales hit 1,000

6/12/17

TUSC

TUSC conference to debate 2018 elections

6/12/17

Liverpool

Liverpool John Moores Uni landslide for Socialist Students

6/12/17

Kirklees

Plans to launch no-cuts campaign at Kirklees College

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


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

triangle8 Dec Local government pay: fight for the full 5% claim

triangle6 Dec Strikers rally in Liverpool

triangle6 Dec Corbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

triangle5 Dec Victory at Glenfield shows people power can save our NHS

triangle5 Dec Labour council Blairites deselected

triangle30 Nov Victory: Glenfield Children's Heart Centre saved!

triangle30 Nov Dramatic retelling of Grunwick strike

More ...

triangle11 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Campaigning workshop

triangle11 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas Quiz

triangle12 Dec Birmingham South East Socialist Party: Can the Labour Party be changed?

triangle12 Dec Liverpool Socialist Party: Fighting council cuts

More ...

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

Archive

Archives:

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2