One comrade came along with a box of sweets saying “it’s May Day, let’s celebrate”. All this was overlooked in the scramble for votes in the local election campaign. Well there was a celebration organised in Wolverhampton but not one in Birmingham ’til Saturday 3rd. May Day has been erased from the calendar by – who else “New Labour”. Maybe the voters will appreciate the significance of the peoples’ celebration by voting for a socialist candidate, here and in London. Wow.
We trudged round the streets on foot banging on doors. Everyone we spoke to was responsive and listened to us going on about privatisation, nodding agreement. Most signed our petition in support of the City Council’s workforce going on strike. Seemed promising. The other thing is as we battled against wind and rain there wasn’t a sign of activity from the five other candidates in the weeks running up to V day. Just leaflets from Labour, Tories, and Lib-Dems. No activity from BNP (thank goodness) or Greens. Our leaflet by all accounts was a good one. Should be it cost a bomb and I designed it on my Apple Mac. My goodness rather easier to do than on the PC. Most people were really worried about City Hospital and the prospect of being taken to Sandwell Hospital with no easily accessible bus service from this neck of the woods (i.e. Handsworth Wood). Not much said about Academies, but I don’t think the significance of these has been grasped. The point about Creationism seemed lost. Perhaps there are a lot of Creationists out there a driving force for the Neocons in the US.
We went round the polling stations. All my days in Labour we placed number takers at the key polling stations. Today there was no sign of anyone. It was late in the morning when we heard a loudspeaker announcing the Labour candidate, Gurdial Singh Atwal in his gas guzzling 4 x 4. As I walked past him he invite me to join him. “You’re doing it the easy way” I retorted. In his years of being in the Labour Party and building up Labour support in this ward he was nowhere to be seen. Oh sorry he did come out with me in the car on the loud speaker but doesn’t know what feet are for.
From the early eighties I and others were out in
The other matter we drew attention to was the proposed changes to regulations from the Indian Subcontinent, and a big error here because it will apparently affect people from other parts of the Commonwealth notably the Caribbean. Right of stay of visitors reduced from 6 to 3 months and a charge of £1,000 per visitor. Family cohesion? As far as marriages are concerned you have will have to be 21 before your partner can come. This won’t apply to the new cheap labour force from Eastern Europe. Division and resentment is being piled on us with New Labour again heading the pack.
So what did the voters make of all this. Quite a few said nothing with around 28% turn out so everyone’s vote was reduced. Gurdial Singh got back in as before with the religious vote. Policies and track record mean nothing.
The big problem is that people are continuing to vote against their own interests as they continue to back New Labour, the Tories or Lib-Dems (no different to Tories in Brum)
Anyway folks I’m off to Cuba to a conference, followed, I hope, by a few days chill. Ciao..