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Left List campaign taps into the anger

The Left List’s election fight is winning wide support among people furious at New Labour’s policies, writes Anindya Bhattacharrya


Left List candidates Lindsey German (centre), Tansy Hoskins and Berlyne Hamilton joined the protest against Heathrow expansion on Thursday of last week (Pic: Guy Taylor)

Left List candidates Lindsey German (centre), Tansy Hoskins and Berlyne Hamilton joined the protest against Heathrow expansion on Thursday of last week (Pic: Guy Taylor)


The Left List hit the ground running last week with its campaign for a radical political alternative in the London elections – one that will stand up for ordinary people against the privateers and property developers.

Lindsey German, the Left List’s candidate for mayor, was out campaigning in Heathrow, Newham and Finsbury Park.

“We’ve received a positive response wherever we’ve been,” she told Socialist Worker. “People are furious at New Labour and like the idea of a left alternative.”

On Thursday Lindsey joined activists fighting the expansion of Heathrow to protest at the opening of the airport’s crisis-stricken Terminal 5 building.

The Left List is campaigning for a proper public transport system for London, rather than an airline free-for-all.

“Airports and airlines should be taxed to make them pay for the environmental damage they cause,” said Lindsey. “High speed trains should replace short-haul flights.”

On Saturday Lindsey joined Left List activists in Newham, east London. She spoke to stall holders and shoppers at Queens Market, which has been fighting off private developers for over four years now.

Sunday saw Lindsey visiting a major fair for London’s Kurdish community held in Finsbury Park, north London, to celebrate Newroz, the Kurdish new year.

“I was out campaigning with Lindsey,” said Kurdish activist Sait Akgul, who is standing as the Left List candidate in Enfield & Haringey.

“We were very well received by the crowd. The mainstream mayoral candidates also showed up at the festival. It’s hypocrisy for someone like Boris Johnson, who wouldn’t hesitate to sign deportation orders against Kurds, to come looking for our votes.”

The pace of the campaign reflects the fact that activists have only a month to get the Left List’s name and message across to as many of London’s five million voters as possible.

Only three of the ten mayoral candidates could be described as even remotely left of centre – Lindsey, Labour’s Ken Livingstone and the Greens’ Sian Berry.

Of them, Lindsey stands out as the only candidate to take a clear line that backs the interests of working class Londoners against those of the City, big business and the property market.

A number of high profile people have put their names to a statement backing Lindsey.

They include children’s laureate Michael Rosen, film-maker Nick Broomfield, Iraqi novelist Haifa Zangana, former ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray, and former president of the NUT teachers’ union Baljeet Ghale.

Everyone has two votes in the mayoral election. The Left List is urging people to vote for Lindsey German with their first preference vote and for Livingstone with their second preference to keep Johnson out.

The Left List is standing a full slate in the London assembly elections to be held on the same day, with candidates in each of the city’s 14 constituencies as well as on the list of London-wide candidates.

The experience of those out on the streets is that bitterness against New Labour is at an all-time high.

The Left List promises a vibrant and confident campaign that will reach out across the capital to those betrayed by New Labour and dovetail with the rising mood of anger and radicalism set to rock the country this month.

It is this kind of campaign that offers hope for ordinary Londoners – and that is best placed to both challenge the mainstream parties before the elections and help build a future left alternative after them.


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News
Tue 1 Apr 2008, 19:27 BST
Issue No. 2095
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