Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/182/7995
Labour rattled in Lewisham
SAM DIAS is causing a real stir as the Socialist Party/Socialist Alternative candidate in the Lewisham council by-election in Pepys ward on 23 November.
The local paper The Mercury, carried a very sympathetic half-page profile last week. It showed how Sam, a single parent with a disability, manages to cope with her three children while being extremely active in the community on Honor Oak estate.
Socialist Party member Ian Page won a seat in Pepys ward in June 1999. So Sam's strong candidacy has ruffled some New Labour feathers. A message went out on the Internet to Labour's declining party faithful recently, trying to solicit outside help in their quest to hold this seat.
It said: "Last year we lost another by-election to a defector to the Socialist Party. There will be a Socialist candidate this time too...
"It is vital that we hold this seat in order that the Socialists cannot claim control of the ward or that part of the borough. This is especially so with the general election looming."
The contrast between Labour and Socialist Party councillors could hardly be greater. Ian Page together with Sam Dias and other tenants activists fought to win £12 million refurbishment money for the run-down Honor Oak Estate.
Lewisham council wants to privatise all its housing stock. Last year Ian Page and the Save Lewisham Housing campaign defeated a referendum which tried to sell off 7,000 council flats and houses.
The council is also selling off three elderly people's homes and moving the old people out into the private residential sector.
Labour, the party of cuts, are having to pull out the stops for this election. Socialists should do the same and help build Sam's campaign. Campaigning and canvassing of voters takes place every weekday evening and weekends during the day. For details contact Ian Page on 0797 007 4230.
In The Socialist 17 November 2000: