Newcastle East and Wallsend, Socialist Party (standing under
the name Socialist Alternative)
link / contact
details for potential supporters:
Gordon House, Byker Newcastle, NE6 2JF
what do you think is the most important issue in this election?
As far as the
main 3 parties in England are concerned there are no fundamental differences,
they all agree on defending big business – further privatisation, attacking
pensions, justifying the occupation of Iraq, etc. For myself, and I hope for
other Green and Socialist candidates, it is about putting forward an alternative
that puts the needs of people and planet before profit for a few.
We need to
have a positive vision for the future to give hope and inspiration to people –
especially the young who are the future.
Britain is a
rich country. A socialist government would be able to provide decent living
standards for all, protect the environment and help people around the world.
ii. why did you make the decision to stand in this constituency and for this
party (as an independent)?
Where it is
realistic to stand alternatives to New Labour it is important that people are
given the opportunity of supporting policies which put working class people’s
interests first. I have lived in the constituency for 20 years, been active in
many local campaigns and stood in the council elections several times. In the
council election, I have stood for the Socialist Party and come second or third,
gaining one of the best radical votes in the region. In another ward in the
constituency, Socialists and Greens have worked together gaining good votes. The
Socialist Party has been active in most local campaigns over the years. Before
finally deciding to stand we discussed with the Greens and Respect to avoid any
iii. what kind of vote are you expecting on May 5th?
We expect to
get at least 500 votes and anything near or over 1,000 would be a great success.
iv. aside from the vote what are you hoping to get out of this campaign?
More important than the vote is building the alternative, in showing that
there is a real choice, distinct from the three big-business parties. We hope to
get people involved in the campaign and standing up for their rights. Hopefully
out of the election there will be an increase awareness of the need to build a
new party that represents trade unions, environmentalists, community campaigns
etc. A party that is democratic, recognising differences while working together
on agreed policies, that campaigns alongside communities and unions, and that is
based on socialist ideas.
v. in your
view what is the greatest threat to our civil liberties at the moment?
The government’s so-called war on terrorism. The attacks on civil liberties
will not stop any terrorism but will be used against trade unions,
environmentalists, and community campaigners and to generally criminalise some
communities. Our democratic rights were won through centuries of struggle, we
need to ensure we maintain these rights.
vi. Blair has
taken us to war three times since coming to power (not including the occasional
ad hoc bombing raid) in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq. Can war ever be
Blair’s (and Bush’s) wars are not justified. They are for power, domination
and oil. They are part of the programme of the right wing in charge of the USA
to make the world a colony of capitalism, which is not limited by trade union,
democratic or environmental controls. I consider fighting in self defence to
defend democratic rights, socialist or progressive policy against invasion or a
coup to be justified. The struggle of the Vietnamese people against the US army
and the Chilean people fighting against the coup against Allende were
vii. There is very little left to privatise in this country, if you had your way
what would be brought into public hands?
I support a
socialist policy with the ‘commanding heights of the economy’ in public hands.
This would obviously include the privatised businesses but also the main
financial companies, the utilities (gas, electricity, water, transport,
communications, etc), the big retailers, the mass media, pharmaceuticals and
health, and what is left of manufacturing.
As important as these industries being in public
hands, is ensuring that they are run for the benefit of society rather than in
the way the old nationalised industries were run. The workforce and users would
have a real say in the decisions.
Rover would be
a good example. Instead of 10,000 to 15,000 jobs being destroyed, at enormous
cost to people and society, the skills and equipment would be used to meet
society’s needs, possibly making public transport vehicles, renewable energy
equipment, or tools for poor farmers overseas.
viii. Some environmental campaigners have started talking about nuclear power as
a way to bring down CO2 emissions - what do you think of this?
It would be a
terrible decision to build more nuclear power stations.
It would only be another road to disaster and not solve the real issues. Nuclear
power produces highly toxic waste, which lasts for tens of thousands of years
with no safe solution. Rather than nuclear power we need an intensive programme
of developing renewable energy, energy efficiency and good public transport.
This would be better for the environment and provide many worthwhile jobs.
and immigration will be central issues in this election. What action on this
issue would you like to see the next government push through?
There are two sides to this. Within Britain stop whipping up racism and
trying to blame asylum seekers for Britain’s problems. New Labour is pandering
to the reactionary media, and by doing so legitimising the ideas of the BNP. We
should have a fair and non-racist policy for refugees – giving haven to those in
danger. Globally the government should change its policies so that people are
not driven to flee their homes due to war, famine and environmental disasters.
Britain should stop supporting dictators who torture their people, selling arms
to various regimes and make a serious commitment to help people act themselves
to establish democracy in their country. In addition policies to protect the
environment and free countries from the domination of global capitalism, the
World Bank, IMF, etc would make a huge difference.
question do you wish was on this list but doesn't appear?
Many people are totally alienated for present
politicians, who promise one thing and do another. Almost all politicians are
seen as self-serving, supporting big business and out of touch with every day
life. All MPs should live on the average wage – that would change who wanted to
be an MP and what policies they would support.