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From: Notebook, 15 August 2017: Brief articles and notes on the Socialist Party website

Search site for keywords: Art - Labour - Cuts - Socialist Party - Deptford - Councillors - Housing - Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition - Labour Party - Minimum wage - Greenwich - Lewisham - Homelessness

'Ana Key MP' - Socialist artist responds to attacks

Socialist Party member Ellen Kenyon Peers is the artist behind imaginary socialist MP 'Ana Key', photo Paul Mattsson

Socialist Party member Ellen Kenyon Peers is the artist behind imaginary socialist MP 'Ana Key', photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Ellen Kenyon Peers, Lewisham Socialist Party

Ever felt like your local Labour MP was a Tory in disguise?

They push through the same cuts, take the same exorbitant wage (mine earned three times the median wage of her constituents!) and ignore the same problems. So it can be very hard telling them apart once the rosettes are off.

My studio is in Deptford - a wonderful, vibrant and diverse community that is suffering terribly from a lack of social housing, forced academisation of schools, high crime rates and nearly a quarter of residents on poverty pay. And these figures are rising.

After completing a project on homelessness in the area I felt like establishment politics was trying to make it so art had no place in politics. I began to feel very disillusioned about my own future as an artist.

That is how 'Ana Key' was born. She is an art project portraying an imaginary Socialist Party and Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) MP for the constituency of 'Deptford and Greenwich' - one that doesn't exist yet, but might next year if boundary changes go ahead.

Her pledges include building 10,000 new council homes over five years (recent figures suggest this would just about cover the 9,500 people on the local council's waiting list), caps on private rents, a 10 an hour minimum wage and an end to the 1% public sector pay cap.

Oh, and a promise to flatly reject all Tory cuts that are continually forced on strapped-for-cash councils - something the current Labour councillors don't seem too keen on doing.

In fact, so determined is the Labour Party's Blairite bureaucracy to eradicate every last trace of socialism from its ranks, I was myself promptly expelled for daring to point this out. But I am proud to be a socialist, and proud to have stood for TUSC when Labour was still led by pro-cuts politicians.

Ana Key does not represent the establishment. She represents the genuine views of many 'constituents' who kindly took part in my project.

But Ana Key is not just an art project. Ana Key is not a pipe dream. She is possibility, she is hope, she is the future.

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