Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/325/9441
Lewisham By-election 4 December: Why the Socialist Party is Different
IN FAR too many local elections, few people bother to vote. There's usually little to choose between two or more different candidates standing for Tory agendas of cuts and privatisation.
However, in Telegraph Hill ward in south London Socialist Party candidate Chris Flood is standing for Lewisham council under the slogan: "We're not like the rest of them."
Why are we different? Because unlike Labour, Liberal Democrats and the Tories, we don't put big business profits before safeguarding our public services.
The Socialist Party's record locally proves that. We already have one councillor in Lewisham, Ian Page, who is proud of the campaigning work he has done.
He fought alongside Honor Oak estate tenants and won £14 million to refurbish the estate. Since then he has constantly tried to sort out the problems caused by the council's penny-pinching attitude to repairs.
He's been fighting for a new secondary school to be opened in the north of Lewisham borough to ease the enormous shortage of secondary school places.
Along with Honor Oak residents he's been fighting the council's plans to charge local people thousands of pounds to clear up a problem that wasn't their fault.
Lewisham council recently found asbestos in flats in one section of Honor Oak estate. The council are threatening to take leaseholders (those residents who have bought their own flats) to court unless they pay £11,000 to get rid of the deadly asbestos.
But who built the flats and sold them to tenants without warning them of the problem? Lewisham council. The asbestos is their responsibility and they should be made to pay for it.
The council may also be planning to cut funds for the refurbishment money that Honor Oak tenants fought long and hard for. Ian Page and Chris Flood have joined in the campaign, led by local residents, to end this injustice.
Opposing the cuts
WE HAVE opposed the closure of old people's homes, opposed the demolition of Telegraph Hill school, which worsened the crisis over secondary school places. We have opposed the privatisation of education services, housing, leisure centres and parks.
We have opposed all cuts. Year after year governments Tory and Labour, have cut back the money they give to local councils. Lewisham, like other councils, doesn't campaign to get enough cash to keep vital services going so they're forced to cut them.
Chris Flood is a fighter - he proved that as a trade unionist, where he was active in fighting government threats to close Charing Cross hospital in the 1990s. We want Chris's fighting spirit on the council both to help Ian, at present on his own battling against the New Labour council, and to show that there's a socialist alternative to the rundown and sell-off of services.
We can show there's a socialist alternative to money being wasted on wars rather than spent productively on services like schools and housing.
If you want to help Chris Flood and the Socialist Party win this vital election, please ring the Socialist Party at 020 8988 8777.
In The Socialist 29 November 2003: