1990s >> 1997 >> no-1112-april-1997

Party News: Activity and news from the constituencies

Jarrow and Easington
North East Branch is to contest two seats at the coming General Election—Jarrow and Easington, where the socialist candidates are, respectively, John Bissett and Steve Colborn. In recent months members have held public meetings, set up literature stalls, carried out mail drops and embarked upon an intensive letter-writing campaign to the local press.

On the streets we have had much verbal support and many we have spoken to agree with our ideas. One thing is certain—when the Socialist Party contests the Jarrow and Easington seats, few serious voters will be unfamiliar with our name or our standpoint.

All said, there is much work to be done in both parliamentary constituencies as both are traditional Labour Party strongholds with large majorities. Furthermore, both constituencies have suffered much in recent years through Tory cut-backs and many voters will be looking forward to the election in the hope that a Labour victory will mean life improvement.

Socialists, however, are aware that no matter which of the mainstream parties wins, it will not alter the fact that we live in a world racked by poverty and insecurity and subject always to the worst exigencies of the profit system. The establishment of world socialism remains the only secure future for humanity.

If you would like us to hammer this message home to the electorates of Jarrow and Easington and can offer your help or support, no matter how small the contribution we d be delighted to hear from you.

Offers of help to:John Bissett,Phone: 0191 4890253,Tim Kilgallon,Phone: 0191 2528704Harland Wears,Phone: 0191 5170470.


The Socialist standard-bearer in this constituency, to the west of Edinburgh, is Matt Culbert. He is standing against the Labour Shadow Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, and other supporters of the profit system such as the Tories, the Liberals and the Tartan reformists of the SNP.
In a sense this is a follow-up to Edinburgh Branch’s activity during the 1994 Euro-election campaign when the Socialist Party contested the Lothians constituency which includes Livingston as well as Edinburgh itself.
Preparatory activity has involved making contacts and leafleting in Livingston itself which is the biggest town in the constituency whose shopping centre attracts people from the whole of the surrounding area. Local members have also distributed leaflets in West Calder and other ex-mining villages.

Offers of help to:Matt Culbert,53 Falcon Brae, Ladywell,West Lothian, EH54 6UWPhone: 01506 462 359.


The Vauxhall constituency in Lambeth was chosen as the parliamentary seat that the Socialist Party should contest in the London area, where our candidate is Richard Headicar. The Party’s Head Office is based in Lambeth and members can easily gather there to contribute to the campaign.
The election activity was organised by representatives from all the London branches to co-ordinate the work of socialists across the capital. A barbecue was held last summer to help to raise funds, and in the autumn we had two debates; first with Tory Euro-sceptic Sir Teddy Taylor on the European issue, and then against a local Liberal Democrat councillor. Whilst all this was going on we leafleted as much of the constituency as possible to publicise the campaign.


Last November we had the opportunity to contest a local council by-election in the constituency. The Clapham Town ward was vacated and it was our good fortune that Head Office came within its boundaries. It was therefore an excellent chance to gain experience in contesting elections and to introduce ourselves to the Lambeth Returning Officer. Head Office was turned into an attractive base where people could wander in and see our election activity for themselves. Lessons learned from the experience have prepared us well for the General Election.


In the final run-up to the General Election date we plan to have more public meetings and in particular point out the shallowness of Labour’s position—the party that appears most likely to win power. We intend to try to publicise our campaign in the London media as much as possible and to have a regular literature stall in the constituency. Postering, canvassing, and more leafleting are also all on our agenda.

Offers of help to:Gareth Thomas,Phone 0171-622 3811.


Glasgow Kelvin
Our election campaign began last year with thousands of leaflets being delivered to households in parts of this very spread-out constituency. We set up our literature stand on Saturday afternoons during the summer and autumn in the heart of the constituency and displayed posters announcing our intention to contest the General Election.


This year, the campaign resumed with a public meeting entitled “The Challenge of Socialism”, and another one to which we will invite the other candidates to state their case is being held this month (see meetings page for details).


Our literature stand will be visiting different parts of the constituency throughout the campaign and hundreds of posters will be displayed. Fortunately, Militant in Scotland will be contesting the election as the “Scottish Socialist Alliance”, so voters in Kelvin (and Livingston) will be spared the sight of ballot papers listing two “Socialist Party” candidates! The Socialist candidate is Vic Vanni.

For further details and offers of help:Tel: 0141 649 9338.

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Readers in a number of places outside Scotland may find that there is someone standing in their constituency calling themselves a “Socialist Party” candidate.
As will immediately become clear from reading their election manifesto with its long-list of reform demands, such candidates have nothing to do with us. They have in fact been put up by Militant, a Trotskyist group which has been in decline since being expelled from the Labour Party by Neil Kinnock and which is trying to relaunch itself under our name.


They don’t even stand for Socialism, but for nationalising everything and all of us becoming employed by the state, i.e. state capitalism.


Those in these constituencies who want socialism should not (of course) vote for these false “Socialist Party” candidates but should, as usual, write the word “SOCIALISM” across their ballot paper.