Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Party News (1998)

Party News from the June 1998 issue of the Socialist Standard

The results in the three wards in which the Socialist Party stood in the May local elections were:

South Tyneside Metropolitan Borough Council—Primrose ward

Scorer (Lab) 1155, Smith (LD) 220, Armstrong (Con) 181, Bissett (Soc) 104.

Manchester City Council—Levenshulme ward

Whitemore (LD) 1550, McGregor (Lab) 771, Davies (Con) 148, Garratt (SLP) 104, Chislett (Green) 81, Pitts (Soc) 32 .

London Borough of Camden—Brunswick ward

Weekes (Lab) 653, Cousins (Lab) 601, Avery (Con) 443, Norman (Con) 376, Jones (LD) 286, Whitley (Green) 258, Parker (Soc) 58.

London Referendum

The Labour government has claimed public endorsement of their undemocratic proposal to have a directly-elected mayor for London who will have all the power, reducing an elected assembly to the status of a chat show. The actual results were:

Non-voters: 327,897 (65.4%), Yes: 1,230,715 (24.6%), No: 478,413 (9.5%), Rejected (spoiled and invalid papers): 26,188 (0.5%)

It would be nice to think that the unusually high number of rejected votes was due to people writing “Socialism” across the ballot paper, but most were probably blank votes.

No, thank you.

Last year two Labour MEPs, Hugh Kerr and Ken Coates, were expelled from the Labour Party for being too reformist. They are seeking support to get re-elected in opposition to Labour and feel that they may have a good chance since these elections will be held under a proportional representation system. In January a group calling itself the Green left issued a statement calling on “all radical and environmentally minded people-organisations to consult on the possibility of a green, democratic and pluralist alternative for the 1999 European elections and beyond. We ask the Green Parties of England, Wales & Scotland, the English Socialist Alliances, the Socialist Party, the Socialist Labour Party and all other Green Left Affiliates to respond positively to our consultation.”

At its meeting in May our Executive Committee adopted the following reply:
“The Socialist Party’s only aim is socialism as a society of common ownership and democratic control with production for use not profit. Because we hold that the best way to further the cause of socialism is to campaign for socialism and socialism alone—’to make Socialists’, as William Morris put it—we have always refused to ally ourselves with organisations which campaign for reforms to be achieved within the context of capitalism. We do not see that the introduction of proportional representation is a valid reason for abandoning this principled stance.

On these grounds, therefore, we decline your invitation to talks with a view to presenting joint candidates in the next European elections.

We shall, in all probability, be standing our own candidates in these elections, in opposition both to candidates who openly support capitalism and to those who are standing on a platform of reforms to be achieved within capitalism.”

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