Reports and Campaigns
Reports and campaigns:
Blairite warmonger misses chance to fight on Corbyn's popular policies
Walthamstow's Labour MP Stella Creasy speaking at a hustings on 17 May photo Nancy Taaffe (Click to enlarge)
Nancy Taaffe, Waltham Forest Socialist Party
The Walthamstow hustings on 17 May was a pretty dull and drab affair. The weather and level of debate were abysmal - the only saving grace was the surroundings, the beautiful 13th century St Mary's Church.
Socialist Party members brought leaflets explaining how the Tories could be kicked out and how Corbyn can win with socialist policies. We were received well.
The Tories, Lib Dems, Labour and Greens were represented - although the Tory candidate never turned up, and it was left to her election agent to put her case.
All four spoke in platitudes, with references to claptrap like 'enabling, empowering and facilitating growth and self-improvement'. In short, no real difference or debate was obvious.
This was mainly down to the reluctance of our Blairite MP, Stella Creasy, to promote Corbyn's recently released anti-austerity manifesto. Her opening pitch made no reference to Jeremy Corbyn; that was left to us.
The church organisers flashed up the first question - what we hoped Walthamstow would look like in five years' time. I said: "Well, that depends who gets in.
"If May gets in, we could lose our hospital, we could lose up to 500 teachers from our schools and we will see more homelessness on our streets. If Corbyn gets in it will be a much more welcoming and attractive place." I got a round of applause at the mention of his Corbyn's name.
One difference from when I stood as a candidate for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition in 2015 was Creasy's willingness to champion the "idea" of abolishing tuition fees, something she never supported last time. This shows how Corbyn has pushed the debate to the left.
But shamefully, Creasy still defended her decision to vote for bombing Syria when asked a question on refugees.
This event could have been an excellent opportunity to discuss how we can fight for Corbyn's popular policies. Without that, the hustings felt perfunctory. Win or lose, an organised working class fightback is what is needed, not bland Blairite platitudes.