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Ian PagePDF: The real picture: Hospitals pay the price for New Labour’s ‘private finance’ policies - Lewisham NHS newsletter 2008 (PDF)

Picture: Ian Page, Socialist Party Councillor in Lewisham


Lewisham education update newsletter July 2007 (PDF)

Lewisham Socialist Party newsletter March 2007 (PDF)



Lewisham Socialist Party Newsletter June 2006 (PDF file 100K)

Increased votes for socialism in Lewisham (May 2006)

Newsletter March 2006 (PDF file)

Newsletter Dec 2005 (PDF file)

Housing petition (pdf file)

Telegraph Hill Newsletter 2004

Chris Flood joins Ian Page, Lewisham CouncillorsVictory! Lewisham By-election 4 December 2003

Picture: Chris Flood,  Socialist Party Councillor in Lewisham

2002 May Elections: Highest Ever Socialist Party Votes

2002 May Elections: Battling Socialist Councillors Build Up Local Support

2000 Elections: By-Election Victory for Sam Dias

2000 Editorial Socialist Challenges break New Labour's grip

Links:  He who pays the piper

A Worker's MP on a Workers' wage



May 2006

Increased votes for socialism in Lewisham

THE SOCIALIST PARTY councillors, Ian Page and Chris Flood, were both re-elected with increased votes in Lewisham’s Telegraph Hill ward.

Clive Heemskerk, Lewisham

Chris Flood was first elected, with 590 votes, in a by-election in December 2003. This time he polled 929 votes to secure victory.

Ian Page topped the poll this time, whereas in the last full council elections in 2002 he finished second behind one of the Labour candidates (see box). Moreover, his 1,118 votes were only bettered by five Labour candidates, out of 54, across the whole of Lewisham borough. It will be harder now for the (much-diminished) Labour group on Lewisham council to dismiss the socialist councillors as ‘unrepresentative’!

The only disappointment on the night was that New Labour managed to grab the third Telegraph Hill seat, despite a very good vote for Jess Leech in her first contest in the ward. The day-to-day work fighting for and alongside local residents obviously boosted the reputation of our sitting councillors, including amongst other parties’ voters. Some socialist voters were also confused about how many candidates they could choose, and only voted for Ian Page.

A re-designed ballot paper, as part of a Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) experiment with electronic counting, didn’t help. Also, two ‘early voting days’ at the Sainsbury’s superstore on the edge of the ward, another DCA experiment, benefited the main parties, with the wide publicity they get.

In contrast, we had to rely on door-to-door contact to get our message across and Socialist Party canvassers reported that many voters we spoke to after they had already voted, had been unaware that we were standing three candidates.

Another factor helping New Labour was the decision by the Green Party to stand against the Socialist Party councillors. In 2002, the Greens had only one candidate in Telegraph Hill.

The decision to stand three this time was contested inside the Green Party, with the 2005 Green parliamentary candidate for Lewisham West, Nick Long, issuing a personal endorsement of the Socialist Party candidates as best placed to defeat New Labour.

His approach was vindicated by the results. The Greens picked up council seats in Brockley and Ladywell wards but were not a serious challenge to New Labour in Telegraph Hill.

Across Lewisham Labour’s vote flatlined, with the main beneficiaries of a slightly higher turnout being the Liberal Democrats and the Greens, leading to a council with no overall control – the first time Labour hasn’t ruled in Lewisham since 1971.

In Telegraph Hill, however, there wasn’t the same ‘easy option’ available to unseat Labour. So it was a great sign for the future that so many voters backed a clear socialist alternative to the establishment parties.

Consolidating the socialist vote

IAN PAGE was first elected as a Labour councillor for the Telegraph Hill ward area in 1990 but was expelled from the Labour Party in 1995 for opposing cuts in council jobs and services.


In London boroughs, unlike most other parts of the country, councillors are only voted in once every four years, with three councillors elected per ward. In the first full council elections Ian contested as a Socialist Party councillor, in May 1998, he lost, polling 836 votes to an average Labour vote of 1,200. Fortunately, one of the Labour councillors soon resigned and, in June 1999, Ian won the subsequent by-election.

In the full council elections that followed, in 2002, Ian was re-elected with 1,065 votes, but a Labour candidate topped the poll with 1,132 votes.

This time, for the first time ever, the Socialist Party came top of the poll in Telegraph Hill.

Telegraph Hill result:

Ian Page, Socialist Party – 1,118 (37.4%)

Labour – 997 (33.3%)

Chris Flood, Socialist Party – 929 (31.1%)

Labour – 856 and 829 (28%)

Jess Leech, Socialist Party – 821 (27.5%)

Greens – 440, 427 & 413 (14.2%)

Lib Dems – 303, 248 & 202 (8.4%)

Tories – 235, 192 & 178 (6.7%)

May 2004

Fighting For Decent Homes

ON 10 June 2004, Londoners are voting in European elections, choosing a new London mayor and a new Greater London Assembly (GLA). 

Roger Shrives, Lewisham

Lewisham Socialist Party councillor Ian Page is Socialist Alternative candidate for the huge GLA constituency encompassing both Lewisham and Greenwich boroughs.

On the same day, there will be a by-election in Lewisham council's Evelyn ward following the resignation of a Labour councillor. Now Lewisham Socialist Party has selected Jess Leech to stand as our candidate in that election,

Jess lives and works on the ward's biggest housing estate, Pepys estate. Her three children are or were attending the local primary school, and Jess has been active locally on housing and community issues.

Jess says: "The average household income in communities like Evelyn ward is £8,000 - £9,000 a year. So defending good quality but low-cost homes for working class families should be a priority but Lewisham council recently sold off 145 two-bedroom flats on the Pepys to private property developers to be turned into luxury accommodation!"


Ian and Jess and the Socialist Party opposed this sell-off. Ian Page says 

"If I'm elected to the GLA, I will oppose all such transfers to the private sector - they are just aimed at making huge profits for private property developers. Particularly at a time of massive housing shortage, that's criminal."

Jess also says: 

"Two years after the last council election, there is still no secondary school for Deptford and a number of young people at Deptford Park school have no place in a Lewisham school." Ian comments: "Jess and myself have been fighting alongside parents in Lewisham for properly funded education for every child not one based on selection and SATs tests."

New Labour are calling the 10 June batch of elections 'Super Thursday' but they are worried about getting their vote out across London. In Lewisham Labour used to consider Evelyn ward a safe seat but they have lost the last four by-elections they have stood in, including the Telegraph Hill ward to Socialist Party councillor Chris Flood just before Christmas!

Jess stood as an independent with two other housing activists in the 2002 election and gained a very respectable vote of over 15%. We hope to do even better this time.

  • If you want to help the campaign for Ian in the GLA or Jess in Evelyn ward, contact Chris Moore on 020 8988 8777.

5th December 2003

Socialist Party Election Victory

CHRIS FLOOD has been elected as a second Socialist Party councillor in the Telegraph Hill area of Lewisham, south London. He defeated New Labour in a local by-election.

"It's fantastic" Chris told the socialist. "We won clearly by 100 votes, not only beating Labour but also beating another community campaign. The results show the solid support we built up locally through the work of Socialist Party councillor Ian Page ".

"At almost every door we knocked on the day of the election the answer was 'Yes, I voted for Chris' or 'I'm voting Socialist'", said Keith who was helping in the election campaign. "Our campaign and Ian's record reached out to a new layer - the young people, including some first-time voters. At the other end of the age range pensioners, some previously lifelong Labour supporters, turned out for us.

"We have built up the kind of rock solid loyalty in this working-class community that the Labour Party used to have and took for granted".

Lois, another campaigner told us: "Local issues were important, so was the war with Iraq. But many of the people I spoke to were clearly voting socialist."

Chris added: "The significance of this vote is that we now have two Socialist Party councillors in the Telegraph Hill ward and Labour have none. This will have a big effect in Lewisham and lets us raise more widely ideas about building an alternative to the left of New Labour".


Telegraph Hill by-election 4 December

Chris Flood (Socialist Party) 590

Labour 490

LEAP 355

Lib Dems 155

Tory 121

Green 88


Turnout: 17.2%

"Don't Worry, We Always Vote Socialist!"

Learning from Lewisham

From: The Socialist 15 November 2003

Lewisham By-election 4 December 2003

Vote For Real Change

Vote Socialist

THE SOCIALIST Party is standing in the by-election in Telegraph Hill ward in Lewisham on 4 December. The Socialist Alternative candidate is health worker Chris Flood - we aim to get another socialist councillor elected to work alongside Ian Page.

Local people have had enough of politicians who care more about big business and fat cats than public services or the interests of ordinary voters.

The biggest issue on the Honor Oak estate is the council's sheer gall in charging some leaseholders up to £11,000 to remove asbestos from their homes! As Chris told the socialist: 

"Local people tell us that there's a report going back to the mid-1980s showing that they were well aware of this asbestos problem.

"Yet the council sold the leaseholders these properties without telling them - this is clearly the council's responsibility. They should fund the cost of removing the asbestos and not charge leaseholders or threaten to cut the refurbishment budget for tenants on the estate.

"Local people are determined that the council won't win this battle and have launched a campaign already that we will get involved with - local residents welcome our involvement."

Another big issue is the fight for a new non-selective secondary school in the north of Lewisham borough. Socialist Party councillors put forward a motion to the council calling for Telegraph Hill school to be reopened as a fully funded community comprehensive school.

Labour opposed this and demolished the building, so Socialist Party members have played a big part in the new school campaign during the last couple of years. Chris Flood will keep fighting for a new school to be opened in the north of the borough.

Chris said: "People on the doorsteps often tell us they don't know who their local councillors are. Labour, both nationally and locally, just take their voters for granted.

"Many people though have seen what Socialist Party councillor Ian Page has done, including leading the Save Lewisham Housing Campaign which stopped the council selling off 7,500 flats and houses."

Practically every area of the ward has gained from our campaigns alongside local people to win improvements. As Chris Flood said: "There's a lot of disillusionment amongst Labour's former voters, over the war with Iraq and the occupation that has followed it, and on subjects such as education and housing.

"We're starting to see people turning their backs on New Labour, and if we can show that we're a party that's different, we can win a second socialist councillor in Telegraph Hill to fight alongside Ian Page."

If you want to help Chris Flood and the Socialist Party win this vital seat, please ring the Socialist Party at 020 8988 8777.

"Fighting together we can win battles"

CHRIS FLOOD, Socialist Party candidate in the Telegraph Hill ward by-election in south London on 4 December (see above), spoke to the socialist.

I'M A psychiatric nurse and a health service researcher, born and brought up in Lewisham. I was a shop steward in the NUPE union (now part of Unison) from the late 1980s.

In the early 1990s I was involved in a campaign to keep Charing Cross hospital open. The Tomlinson report into hospital services in London had highlighted it as a hospital that might close.

The workers and the union led a campaign which threatened occupation if necessary to save the hospital. It got a lot of support from NHS workers and the general public and successfully kept that hospital open - it's still open to this day.

I have never forgotten that campaign - through this fight, many people got to see the power of collective struggle. If we fight together, we can win battles.

I was also very active in the movement against Thatcher's blatantly unfair and undemocratic poll tax. Most of the nurses in our hospital didn't pay their poll tax and the national anti-poll tax campaign amongst nurses was largely led by Charing Cross workers.

In recent years I've been living in Deptford and been involved as a local resident in taking on developers who wanted to build huge luxury private tower blocks.

New Labour councillors have gone out of their way to encourage these developers and to ignore the concerns of local people, who are worried about the lack of social housing in what is still overwhelmingly a working-class and deprived area.

New luxury housing in the area has just made that worse. There's also the lack of planning and the impact that has on GP services and schools. All this has starkly shown up how far the local council was pro-developer and pro-rich.

I've also been involved in campaigns on bread-and-butter issues such as getting security at our local railway station and getting new traffic-calming measures.

I've worked with local community groups and raised the need for a new mass workers' party - New Labour is now clearly just another party of big business like the Liberals and the Tories. The electorate aren't being offered any choice in most elections.

That's why it's so important that working-class people stand in local elections and that the Socialist Party stands under its own banner.

I think the time is right now for councillors to take the opposition you hear on the streets into the council chamber and fight for a socialist alternative.

Some people may feel demoralised that there isn't a Labour Party as there used to be but we've got to argue that people should come to our banner where we think the lessons of collective struggle, of collective bargaining can be relearned.

May 2002

Lewisham Telegraph Hill

Highest Ever Socialist Party Votes

SOCIALIST PARTY candidates Ian Page and Sam Dias scored their highest ever votes in Telegraph Hill ward. 

Ian Page was re-elected with over 1,000 votes but Sam Dias just missed out by 43 votes. Local Education Action by Parents (LEAP) Helen Lefevre won one council seat as did the Labour Party.

Mick Suter, election agent

While this was a brilliant result for Ian it was disappointing to see Sam lose her seat. This was the first time that the Socialist Party in Lewisham had won a seat at a full council election, as both Ian and Sam had previously won in by-elections. Ian received 1,065 votes - the highest he has ever had in three elections. Sam nearly doubled her vote from eighteen months ago.

This shows the huge amount of respect that local people have for both of our candidates, and for the campaigning work they have carried out since being elected.

Sam has vowed to continue with her campaigning despite not being re-elected. Sam said "I would like to thank all those who supported me, and say I will not be going away but continue to work with tenants on the Honor Oak Estate and others. I will support Ian and continue to campaign with the New School for New Cross Campaign to fight for a new school on the Telegraph Hill site."

An important development in Lewisham was the LEAP and three independent tenant candidates who stood for the first time. Parents from the New School for New Cross drew the conclusion that the Labour council was no longer listening to local people and needed to take their struggle for a new comprehensive community school onto the electoral front.

LEAP stood six candidates in four wards and Louise Irvine for Mayor. They polled between 200-450 votes in wards outside Telegraph Hill and 3,710 votes in the Mayoral election. This has forced the education issue to the top of the agenda in Lewisham.

Labour’s new mayor will have to respond to the growing discontent amongst parents. Tenants on the Pepys Estate in Deptford face the Labour Council selling off properties to the private sector. Tenants also gained good results with over 200 votes ( 12.5%).

The significance of these campaigners is that they have seen the need to stand against the traditional parties and find a voice for working class people. These developments give an idea of how a new mass working class party will be built in the future.

At the count, one Socialist Alliance member said that it was tactically wrong for the Socialist Party to support LEAP. Despite Sam Dias losing her seat, we believe it was a correct tactic. It shows the difference in approach of the Socialist Alliance and the Socialist Party towards community struggles which move on to the electoral plane.

The Socialist Party has worked very closely with the New School Campaign - not attempting to dominate or control, but genuinely supporting the campaign. We don’t just go along to sell our paper. We help with leafleting, attend campaign meetings, move resolutions at the council, attend lobbies and build constant support for the campaign, winning respect from the activists.

The Socialist Party recognised that while we would be building support for LEAP amongst our existing supporters, LEAP would also be building support for Ian and Sam. In fact this is one reason why Ian and Sam’s vote was so high.

When the ballot boxes were opened it was quite clear that there was an increase in support for the Socialist Party around Waller Road polling area as well as strong support on the Honor Oak estate.

The Socialist Alliance on the other hand, gained an average of only 100 votes in the seats where they stood in Lewisham. Winning genuine support means working alongside working-class people, recognising the issues and putting forward a programme that can bring about real change and win some victories on the way.

The ward had an increase of 2,000 new electors which had traditionally supported Labour. These new areas did not know the Socialist Party or the campaigns which we have been involved in.

Both these new areas had low turnouts of around 15% compared with the 30% turnouts in Waller and the Honor Oak. Telegraph Hill ward had one of the higher turnouts compared with the other Deptford wards. This is down to the campaigning of the Socialist Party over years and the New School for New Cross Campaign.

The Labour Party have very few activists and certainly no longer campaign with local people. They have lost touch with working class communities and only represent themselves and the interests of big business.

Sam and Ian and the tenants on the Honor Oak Estate had won £14 million from the council for refurbishing the estate. The Labour Party sunk to smear tactics such as blaming Sam and Ian for the mess created by private contractors.

The Labour Party who have not been seen on the estate over the last six months attempted to say the problems were down to Sam and Ian and not the lack of support from the council and the private companies trying to make as much profit as possible by cutting corners.

Election night started badly for Ian Page as Millwall lost in the last minute to Birmingham in the play-offs. He was also nearly arrested outside the count when he confronted the BNP candidate in Downham ward. Over 300 anti-Nazi protesters mainly from Goldsmith College formed a lobby to stop the BNP entering the count.

However, neither Millwall losing or the sight of the racist BNP could stop the night turning out to be a fantastic result for the Socialist Party and the advancement of socialist ideas.

Telegraph Hill Ward

Labour (1) 1132*

Ian Page (SP) 1065*

Helen Lefevre 975*


Sam Dias (SP) 922

Labour (2) 904

Labour (3) 880

LibDem  457

Green 452

LibDem  309

Con  176

Con  164

Con  160

Lab average 38%

SP and LEAP average 39%

LibDem/Green average 16%

Tory average 7%

Turnout 26%

* elected



15 March 2002 

Battling Socialist Councillors Build Up Local Support

THE CAMPAIGN to re-elect Socialist Party councillors Ian Page and Sam Dias to Lewisham council this May, has begun.

Chris Moore

Sam and Ian's ward has been extended and renamed Telegraph Hill so we have to make sure our councillors' record is known in new areas. Although there's little interest in the elections, we've had a good response because our campaign focuses on working-class people's struggles.

We've organised several public meetings, local trade unionists have shown their support and workers involved in industrial disputes have welcomed Sam and Ian's backing.

"Innocent I'm innocent, for the crimes I've been convicted. By a wicked and evil system who don't care about the poor." These are words from a song written by Michael Davis from the M25 campaign and performed at an anti-racist meeting our party organised on Honor Oak Estate, the heart of Ian and Sam's support.

Michael described his experiences of nearly 12 years in jail. His conviction for murder was overturned after a heroic campaign with co-defendant Raphael Rowe.

Sam Dias also spoke of how she had been beaten and dragged down to a police station in her nightwear, and forced to walk home at night in the rain, all because of a parking offence committed by her boyfriend.

Young people on the estate often face being stopped and searched. Our demand for community control and accountability of the police went down well.

Schools campaigners

AT ANOTHER public meeting local campaigners were encouraged to stand independently in local elections. Members of the New School For New Cross Campaign have now decided to do just that.

Ian and Sam, the only councillors to consistently support the campaign for a new local comprehensive school, have put motions to the council, helped organise and spoke at lobbies, and went with campaigners to Westminster.

Leading campaigner Louise Irvine spoke of the damage done by selection in schools, and the lack of school places for local students. The campaign's pressure forced a climbdown by the Labour Party who previously opposed a new school.

The campaign now plans to stand several 'new school' candidates in the local elections, including in Telegraph Hill where there will be a supportive and co-operative attitude between ourselves and the school campaigners.

Local tenants' activist Bob Gardiner explained how, in a previous election campaign, he sent material on Sam and Ian to people he knew at a Bradford Mosque. They translated it into Arabic, and asked the Mosque in Deptford to support our campaign.

Workplace backing

OUR COUNCILLORS have sent letters of support to workplaces involved in or threatening industrial action, including rail workers, Benefit workers, postal workers, and library staff.

Ian had a friendly welcome when he visited picket lines during a local library strike over pay and re-organisation.

Ian and Sam were the only councillors who attended a local meeting of Transport and General Workers Union stewards, whose experiences of privatisation included harassment of union reps, disregard of health and safety, cuts to wages, and bullying and aggressive management.

This led them to unanimously support a motion from the floor withdrawing support for the Labour Party and agreeing to actively work for Sam and Ian's re-election.

Working-class people have little enthusiasm for a Labour Party embracing Tory policies. Ian and Sam are seen as different, both in words and actions, actively supporting working-class people fighting Labour's programme of privatisation and cuts.

Their re-election is important, not only to our party but also to working-class people in south London and beyond, inspiring campaigners and trade unionists to stand against the main three pro-big-business parties.

The Socialist 15 March 2002 

How socialists saw off Labour

Report from The Socialist, 1 December 2000

SAMANTHA DIAS is now the Socialist Party’s second councillor in Lewisham. This great achievement showed that where a serious socialist alternative is offered, voters will support it.

Martin Powell-Davies

Lewisham Socialist Party, particularly our councillor, Ian Page, has done years of consistent work in Pepys Ward.

Our canvassers put in weeks of hard work, distributing three different leaflets, knocking on hundreds of doors to convince voters that Sam could beat New Labour and their policies of cuts and privatisation.

We knew it would be close. When Ian was elected last year, Labour arrogantly assumed they could defeat us without campaigning in the ward. This time Lewisham councillors and local MP, Joan Ruddock, canvassed on streets that they couldn’t have visited in years.

We knew we’d win support from council tenants. Ian had led the successful campaign against the council’s attempt to transfer its housing to housing associations elsewhere in the borough. Sam is a well-known tenants’ rep on Honor Oak estate who helped pressurise the council into coughing up £12 million to refurbish properties.

But Honor Oak is only one part of quite a mixed ward. We also won support from middle-class voters disillusioned with Lewisham’s Blairite council leaders.

We launched a petition against Lewisham’s decision to close three elderly people’s homes. The private contractor the council wanted to sell the homes to had pulled out. Vulnerable residents would now be farmed out into the private sector.

On Telegraph Hill, where houses sell for over £250,000, many voters were angry at their local park’s deterioraton since the council privatised maintenance. A Parks User Group emergency meeting called on the council to keep their promise of match-funding the Lottery bid for park refurbishment.

Suddenly, gardeners were sent to Telegraph Hill Park to put things right, then councillors told park users that the funding was in the council’s budget after all! As Ian said, it was amazing what the council could do when a by-election defeat was looming!

Sam also made a good intervention, helping to counter Labour’s claims that she could only speak for council tenants.


Labour's Lies

LABOUR’S ELECTION leaflet incredibly claimed that Labour councillors “saved” the Honor Oak Neighbourhood Office. In fact the council had wanted to close it. Ian had to hand in the tenants’ petition after Labour councillors refused to do so!

Labour’s dirty tactics went further. They targeted Sam’s friends to try and persuade them to vote against her. Honor Oak tenants wrote an official complaint against one Labour councillor after he abused Sam at a meeting.

Socialist Party members were joined by local tenants and some members of the local Socialist Alliance.

We couldn’t always convince voters, sick of mainstream politicians’ lies, that we were a serious alternative. But we persuaded tenants who’d never voted before to vote for Sam. Several now want to join the Socialist Party.

On the final Saturday, Joan Ruddock and Labour councillors descended on Honor Oak estate. Quickly we set up a stall and our loudhailers warned tenants: “Don’t be taken in by Labour’s lies!”. Slowly Labour’s canvassers came back from the council blocks, dejected as tenants told them what they thought of New Labour!

That convinced people on the estate to get out and vote for Sam. On election day, I remember one young black man coming out of Honor Oak polling station, almost shaking with anger and shouting to the Labour teller: “I voted for Blair but you’re just like the Tories.” That anger with Labour helped us win.

On election day, voting was slow, but, against the usual pattern, heaviest on Honor Oak estate. But we kept knocking at the doors of our promised voters right to the end.

After a tense count, friends and Socialist Party members cheered Sam’s stunning victory. Sam, alongside Ian Page, will make sure Lewisham council hear the real anger of working-class people at their betrayal by New Labour.






23 November 2000

Socialist challenges break New Labour's grip

THE EXCELLENT victory for the Socialist Party in the Pepys ward by-election in Lewisham is another example of the potential support there could be amongst working people and their families for a credible and viable socialist alternative to the Labour and Tory parties.

This outstanding result, where Socialist Party candidate Sam Dias won 39% of the vote, was combined with good results for the Lancashire Socialist Alliance candidate Terry Cartwright in Preston (over 5%) and Scottish Socialist Party candidates in Glasgow Anniesland (over 7%).

The Socialist Party, a constituent part of the Socialist Alliance, now has five local councillors in Coventry and Lewisham and will work with other socialists to provide such a viable electoral socialist alternative.

The Socialist Party’s campaign in Lewisham saw a higher than average turnout for a local authority by-election. This was especially so in the Honor Oak part of the ward, where Sam Dias comes from and where sitting Socialist Party councillor Ian Page won £12 million of investment for the estate.

The extremely low turnouts in the parliamentary by-elections, where thousands of former Labour voters stayed away have caused panic among the establishment parties. Media pundits on election night programmes were also forced to comment on the sizeable votes achieved by socialist candidates on Thursday 23 November.

Even they had to recognise that anger with New Labour is causing huge swathes of former Labour voters to abstain, while a significant section of working-class people are looking for a credible alternative to the Left of Labour to vote for.

Incredibly, New Labour strategists tried to either blame the low turnout on the Tories - because they’re so ineffective as an opposition Labour voters couldn’t be bothered to turn out - or they tried to claim that voters stayed away because they were happy with New Labour.

The votes in last week’s by-elections make a May 2001 general election more probable. They also confirmed that New Labour is likely to retain power with a large but diminished majority on a much reduced turnout.

Though, as the events around the fuel crisis in September showed, nothing can be ruled out. Particularly if there is an economic downturn in the USA and other banana skins appear, Labour could still lose the election. It’s doubtful, however, that the Tories are capable of winning back enough votes to secure electoral victory.


THERE ARE significant lessons socialists can draw from last week’s parliamentary and local by-elections.

Firstly, that there is a constituency to the Left of Labour who will vote for a credible socialist alternative. Secondly, where that group has sunk roots in the local community it can not only prove a viable alternative but, as in Lewisham, can actually beat Labour.

In Preston and in Scotland the Lancashire Socialist Alliance and Scottish Socialist party were seen as providing a viable alternative and consequently gained a creditable result; as opposed to the increasingly marginalised vote for Arthur Scargill’s Socialist Labour Party.

Yet, it is Lewisham that gained the most success because of the years spent building up a solid base in a local area. As the Socialist Party has argued in the current debates in the Socialist Alliance, campaigning in a broad propaganda sense, while important, cannot be a substitute for building an electoral base from the bottom up and leading campaigns in the local community.

The Socialist party is confident that the Lewisham victory and the good votes in the other elections can see the beginnings of an electoral challenge to New Labour that provides a propaganda alternative to New Labour and can actually defeat them.

As has been seen in Coventry and Lewisham, where Socialist Party councillors have been elected they will be an extremely effective force for achieving change that improves working-class people’s lives.


He who pays the piper...

Links to a The Socialist feature on :

The Funding of the Establishment Political Parties:  

State Funding - Where do socialists stand?

Workers' MP on a Workers Wage: "Rise with your class, not out of it" 

The Tories: Paragons of sleaze

Fund the fight for socialism

Trade Union donations: Free the funds

Political Parties Act - full of holes

Would you like to find out more about the Socialist Party? 

Why not Contact or Join the Socialist Party?

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