Year 2001 No. 83, May 17, 2001
Workers' Daily Internet Edition : Article Index :
On the Independent and Alternative Candidates Standing in the Election
Roger Nettleship, Independent Health Worker Politician Candidate
Salvinder Singh Dhillon, Independent Candidate for Ealing-Southall
The Socialist Alliance
The Communist Party of Britain
Anti-Nuclear Campaigner to Stand against Tony Blair
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An unprecedented number of independent and alternative candidates are putting themselves forward for nomination in the election campaign. There are candidates who are standing as candidates of the alternative, who raise the issue that an alternative must be built to the party-dominated system of governance. There are candidates who have become disillusioned with the Labour Party since it came to power in 1997, and want to stand on a platform which represents the interests of working people. There are candidates who want to oppose the "Third Way" programme of Tony Blair on various fronts, such as PFI and the assault on peoples healthcare in the health service. And there are candidates who are standing on the basis of the need to provide a socialist alternative to the crisis of capitalism.
WDIE hails the spirit of all these candidates who are not content with the status quo and wish to challenge it. This represents a new and growing trend to take a stand against the anti-socialist offensive and to break from the party-dominated political system which marginalises the working class and people from political life, and keeps them away from themselves being the decision-makers in society.
Below we give details of some of these candidates.
Roger Nettleship is standing as a Health Worker Politician candidate in the constituency of South Shields.
In his election communication, he says that, along with many other health workers, he recognises that the political system in which parties are elected to power will not safeguard the future of the NHS. For health workers, along with all other workers, youth and women, to constitute themselves as the alternative to this system is what society needs to lift itself out of the crisis.
Roger Nettleship says that he will be standing on the basis of a programme to Safeguard the Future of the NHS and to stop the "Third Way" programme of New Labours being carried through. He will be standing on the basis of building the workers opposition to this "Third Way", which under the guise of "modernisation" is undermining the NHS by increasingly negating the responsibility of government to provide health care equally to all at the highest level as of right. Over the last four years, he says, Labours "Third Way" has continued to reduce the budgets of our hospitals whilst claiming to be increasing investment and is increasingly turning the NHS into a source of profit for big companies through such measures as the Private Finance Initiative and the Concordat with private hospitals.
Roger Nettleship declares that the need of the time is for workers to come forward and directly intervene in politics and represent their own interests and the interests of society as a whole. In voting for the independent programme of such candidates, the workers will be voting for their own interests. This is what society needs to be able to progress, he says.
He is standing as a health worker politician on the basis that workers must bring about a situation where they control what is produced, how their public services are safeguarded and are provided as of right and how they are funded. He is standing to uphold that it is the people who must determine the direction of the economy in their own favour by themselves becoming the decision makers.
Roger Nettleship has lived in the borough of South Tyneside for 21 years, being active in the working class movement throughout. His activities have reflected the peoples concerns. In the 1980s, he helped form a union to fight for the rights of the unemployed. He became a hospital porter at Palmer Community Hospital in Jarrow when it opened in 1986, and he is a union representative with public service workers union Unison. He was one of the founders of South Tyneside Health Concern which was active at the end of the 1980s against the Thatcherite anti-social programme. With health workers and patient relatives, he actively campaigned in 1995 to Save Hebburn Hospital from closure. He is continuing to campaign with union activists and other workers to safeguard the future of the NHS. Recently he has joined with others in the work to successfully relaunch South Tynesides May Day Rally. He regularly writes for Workers Weekly and Workers Daily Internet Edition, upholding that workers should take up politics on their own account so as to become worker politicians and open up societys path to progress.
Salvinder Singh Dhillon is standing under the slogans: Empowering Change!~ The Peoples Alternative.
Salvinder in his election communication says, "Politicians must not be detached from the electorate but defend its interests and actively involve people in decisions affecting their lives. They must be servants of the electorate and fight for its advancement."
Salvinder says that he is outraged at the degradation of Ealing Southall. The reward he seeks is the uplifting of the pride and dignity of all people in the area. My electorate is my party, he says. The pride and dignity of my electorate is my pride and dignity. Salvinder says that he will not embark on a self-seeking political career with any political party but remain focused on working with organisations, businesses and all members of the community to develop Ealing Southall area as a proud icon that deserves world attention. Salvinder is committed to fighting for the rights of the people to select their own candidates. He is committed to fighting for the rights of the youth, for free quality education with facilities for Sixth Form and above, for free quality health care and elimination of long waiting queues in local hospitals, for affordable housing, for social equality for all the community, for the care of the aged and disadvantaged, for pre-school and after-school care, for the equality of languages and cultures, and for business growth in the area.
Salvinder Dhillon points out that another round of New Labour with Tony Blairs "Third Way" will only worsen the plight of the community. New Labour has followed the path of the Tory Party under the disguise of representing the peoples interests including that of migrants. The Tory Party and the Liberal Democratic Party also make false promises to dupe people into voting for them so that they may come to power. People and small to medium businesses are repeatedly burnt by these false promises. All mainstream parties have consistently upheld the interest of multinational companies and the financial oligarchy, to further enrich these economic giants by making them more competitive in the global marketplace. These major parties support privatisation by transferring money from the public purse into the private sector. They pass the burden of economic responsibility onto the shoulders of already hardworking British people. Independent candidates declaring their support for the Labour Party, or any other major party, are all deceiving our people in order to follow self-seeking political careers, he says.
The issue is not just becoming an MP, Salvinder explains, but in whose interest the MP will fight. Party candidates or independent candidates supporting any major party cannot fight genuinely for the people but use this deception to attract votes. Peoples own experience shows that there is no real difference between these major parties, he says. They merely wear different masks to attempt to fool the public. It is time for people to tear away these deceptive masks and support their own genuine alternative candidates, Salvinder Singh Dhillon declares.
Salvinder Singh Dhillon was brought up in Southall and underwent postgraduate studies in Microelectronics. He lectures in Information Technology as well as at forums covering history, philosophy and human rights. He has fought against racism and in defence of community interests for over 30 years.
More information can be found at the website: http://www.itisclear.com
The Socialist Alliance in England and the Welsh Socialist Alliance combined will be standing in almost 100 constituencies in the General Election. The Scottish Socialist Party will be standing in every seat in Scotland.
The Socialist Alliance points out that it is working towards a fair and truly sustainable society, and that the transition to such a society will require fundamental social, political and cultural changes, which will only be possible through the involvement of a clear majority of people. It is essential to pursue change through a variety of avenues, it says, in the community, in the workplace, in elections, through appropriate educational and campaigning efforts according to the opportunities and expediencies of the time and the place. The Socialist Alliance declares that it will give political support to those who are involved in fighting back against environmental destruction and all other injustices of capitalism, here and across the world.
The Socialist Alliance emphasises that there is an alternative to the global, unregulated free market and that the wealth exists in society to meet peoples needs. It aims to galvanise mass opposition to the injustice, inequality and environmental damage which the market causes and to replace it with a popular republic, based on democratic ownership and control of the key sectors of the economy, a system based on social justice and ecological sustainability.
Among the many candidates standing under the banner of the Socialist Alliance are the following:
Steve Godward is prospective parliamentary candidate for Birmingham Erdington. He has been a fire fighter for 21 years, and is Vice-Chair of West Midlands FBU, living in the heart of Erdington for 24 years. From 1996 until recently he was a member of the Labour Party. He is married with three children, an Executive Council member of Birmingham Trades Union Council, and a governor of Yenton Junior school. He says that he feels betrayed by the Labour Party as a trade unionist, a father and human being with the continued abuses privatisation brings to workers, the silver spoon dictating educational chances and the racist policies extended to asylum seekers. He says that you can feel something good is in the air, and that a vote for the alternative is not a protest vote, it is about the future and the future is socialism
Caroline Johnson is prospective parliamentary candidate for Birmingham Perry Barr. She has been active in RAGE, the campaign against the closure of elderly peoples homes. She has also taken a stand against the way the New Labour has imposed a candidate on the constituency.
Angela Thompson is prospective parliamentary candidate for Dudley South. For the last 12 years she has worked for Dudley NHS and has always been a shop floor worker. She is Joint Branch Secretary, UNISON Dudley Group of Hospitals Branch, and has been on strike since August 2000 against a private finance initiative (PFI) scheme that would transfer the jobs of the Dudley health workers out of the NHS. In a statement of her policies, Angela Thompson says, "I am proud to have taken 150 days of strike action against the privatisation of NHS jobs in Dudley Hospitals." She says of the Labour victory in 1997, "If their manifesto said vote for us and we will continue with Tory policies like the Private Finance Initiative in healthcare (PFI) in our NHS, the sale of council houses to property companies, privatisation of homes for the old, closing fire stations, the list goes on and on, the result would have been different. The main parties want us to believe only they are worth voting for, but I believe there is a mood in the working class for a change of socialist alternative." She continues, "I am a middle aged woman with no political background, but fed up with being told that working class people have to sit back and accept whatever 'they' see fit to throw at us, enough is enough and it is time to stand up and be counted."
Louise Christian is prospective parliamentary candidate for Hornsey and Wood Green, Barbara Roches constituency. She is a leading lawyer and was a member of the Labour Party from 1976 to 1996, and Labour prospective parliamentary candidate in Hendon South in 1987. Until recently she was chair of the Civil Liberties Trust. She worked for the NUMs lawyers during the miners strike. Among notable cases working as solicitor and those for the victims of the Southall and Ladbroke Grove rail disasters. She calls for a vote against the oppression of asylum seekers and the attacks on basic civil liberties.
Sally Labern is prospective parliamentary candidate for Leyton & Wanstead. She has been active in the campaign to stop the privatisation of education services in Waltham Forest. She says of this campaign that it has brought her in touch with parents and teachers. They have shown her, she says, that there is a growing number of ordinary working people who have had enough of the rot and want to do something about it! "It's clear that New Labour's strategy is to drive big business in through the front door of public services including Education," she declares.
Theresa Bennett is prospective parliamentary candidate for Vauxhall. She was one of two London Socialist Alliance candidates in last year's GLA elections who saved their deposits she won 6,231 votes, 6.2 per cent of the vote in Lambeth & Southwark. She has been a welfare rights advisor for over ten years. This has involved helping some of the most vulnerable people, like those with mental health problems or people who are HIV positive. She is currently a journalist dealing with victims of racism and highlighting injustice.
The website of the Socialist Alliance is to be found at: http://www.socialistalliance.net
The Communist Party of Britain is standing candidates in this election to show that there is a real alternative to right-wing, pro-big business policies be they "new" Labour, "old" Tory or "modern" Liberal Democrat.
Their manifesto points out that the capitalist system, based on exploitation and conflict, has no solution to the global economic and environment crisis. But it finds the cash for a new arms race aimed at the Peoples Republic of China, the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea and Cuba.
Anti-nuclear campaigner Helen John has announced that she will stand against Tony Blair at the General Election. She will challenge the Prime Minister in his Sedgefield constituency, despite expecting to be jailed on Monday, May 21, for causing criminal damage at Menwith Hill American base in North Yorkshire.
Helen John comes from Otley, West Yorkshire. She says she wants to raise the issue of America's proposed anti-nuclear missile system in Britain which will destabilise world peace.
She said: "My slogan is 'Words not Deeds' like the Suffragettes. I'm not even asking people to vote for me, I'm asking them to make sure Mr Blair is put in a position where he has to make his position quite clear about where he stands on this issue."
Helen John, along with two other anti-nuclear protesters, are to appear at Harrogate Magistrates Court on Monday for sentencing after damaging the perimeter fence at Menwith Hill base, which would be used to track missiles in space if the "Son of Star Wars" programme went ahead. Even if she is jailed Helen Johns campaign as an independent candidate will carry on.
Helen John is a retired midwife who has been protesting since 1981 and who has 31 previous convictions for criminal damage. She said, "I will be campaigning while I'm behind bars, there's nothing to stop me from writing to people and the press. A lot of people feel ashamed, depressed and upset when they are locked up but I don't have any of those feelings."
She says when she is released from jail she will re-establish the peace camp outside the North Yorkshire air base, and predicted a long stay similar to the one at Greenham Common which she was instrumental in founding.
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