Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/195/8122
Preston councillor joins Socialist Party
LANCASHIRE SOCIALIST Party are celebrating the recruitment of Preston Councillor Paul Malliband.
Max Neil, Preston Socialist Party
Paul, a lifelong Socialist and a former Secretary of Ribble Valley Constituency Labour Party (CLP). has been Chair of Fylde CLP and held many other leading positions in the 1980s and '90s.
Paul decided to leave the Labour Party in 1998, he said "members were leaving in droves, others were failing to renew their membership, hardly anyone wanted to be active because Blair was taking Labour so far to the right and opposition was being stifled."
At the time, Labour Lancashire County Council was closing down a number of Old Peoples' Homes. Cllr Terry Cartwright began a public campaign against this only to find that right wing members of his local ward organised to deselect him. Paul resigned from Labour to act as Terry Cartwrights' election agent and Terry stood against Labour for his Council seat in Deepdale, as a 'Labour Independent'. The imposed Labour candidate was defeated, as local people agreed with Terry and Paul's stand.
In 1999 Paul acted as Joyce Cartwrights' election agent, again they de-feated Labour. In May 2000 Paul stood himself for the third council seat in Deepdale, with Terry as his election agent, Labour was defeated for a third time!
In the by-election caused by the death of Audrey Wise, Paul acted again as Terry Cartwright's election agent. The Deepdale area provided a significant proportion of the 1,210 votes cast for the Socialist Alliance. While on the council, the Labour Independents have acted as the only real opposition to the council leadership, their votes were decisive in bailing out Labour by narrowly defeating a move by the Tories and Liberals to privatise the councils' entire housing stock .
Paul has recently been quizzing council bosses about plans by the council leadership and billionaire developers, Gros-venor Estates Holdings to demolish Preston's Bus Station - they plan to replace it with a 'Super - nightclub and a prestigious shopping centre'. Paul found out that the council leadership had spent over £2000 on a trip so they could fly down to London to beg Alan Howarth, the ex-Tory Arts Minister not to make the Bus Station a listed building.
He also found out that Grosvenor Estates are funding the salary of Mike Brogan, the council employee in charge of managing the 'Tithebarn Project', which includes the Bus Station area.
After Paul provided this information to the press, Paul was told by the Town Clerk Jim Carr that he would not correspond with him again! This publicly paid official clearly feels he is above democratic accountability to elected councillors!
"We in the Labour Independents are effective locally, but there needs to be a Socialist challenge to New Labour on a national scale. I've looked at the policies of the Socialist Party and they are more in tune with my way of thinking than any of the alternatives. The Socialist Party is also more democratic than any other party."
"The success of Terry Cartwright for the Socialist Alliance in the Preston shows that there is a basis for Socialist Groups to grow.
"The Socialist Alliance must not be dominated by one group, it should be a type of umbrella group for different groups campaigning for a Socialist alternative."
An asset to the Socialist Party
"I WELCOME Paul Malliband as a Socialist Party councillor. I first met Paul during Preston by - election last November. I'm sure he will be an asset to the work of the Socialist Party elected representatives , now in three areas, Coventry, Lewisham and Preston.
"This is a sign of increasing disillusionment with New Labour, that will undoubtedly increase in the months ahead, and of the attraction that the Socialist Party can have as an organised force in politics"
Dave Nellist, Socialist Party Councillor
In The Socialist 2 March 2001: