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Socialist Unity

wants to hear from you.

Got a comment?

Why not email us with your thoughts?

Bill Hopwood, Newcastle East and Wallsend, Socialist Party (standing under the name Socialist Alternative)


link / contact details for potential supporters:

phone: 0191 265-4833,

post: 12 Gordon House, Byker Newcastle, NE6 2JF

 

i.                    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 conflicts.



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 justified?
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 justified. 


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.

 

 ix. Asylum 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.

 

x. What 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.

 

 

 

2005

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For Socialist Unity ~ For Internationalism ~ For Peace ~ For Justice ~ For Unity ~ For Socialism