link / contact details for potential supporters
what do you think is the most important issue in
The failure of the left to set
the terms of the debate. Despite the fact that the Tories are discredited
they have managed to place immigration and crime at the forefront. The
continued legal restriction on trade unions, privatisation and
neo-liberalism, the assault on pensions, and climate change are not on the
radar for most people,
even though these have huge
effect on the lives of working class people. Even the war in Iraq is only an
issue with a minority of people.
why did you make the decision to stand in this
constituency and for this party (as an independent)?
We are standing in North Swindon
as part of a local deal with the Greens who are standing in South Swindon. I
would have preferred to stand for the Socialist Alliance, as we had used
that name in previous elections, but that organisation was prematurely
killed off. I have no desire to stand for Respect, as I believe that
organisation is undemocratic, and no lasting progressive organisation can be
built in that way- quite apart from that I want to put the word socialist on
the ballot paper. I think the name Respect is 100% cringe making.
what kind of vote are you expecting on May 5th?
Anything over 1% would be a good
result given the way minor parties are squeezed both by the media and the
first past the post system.
aside from the vote what are you hoping to get
out of this campaign?
We want to solidify the good
results we have had in local council elections (average 10% in the wards we
stand in) and I hope we will meet some new people. It also allows us to
challenge the political priorities of New
Labour. We know our leaflets
have caused a stir among some local Labour activists, not least because they
agree with everything we say!
in your view what is the greatest threat to our
civil liberties at the moment?
House arrest without trial and
the acceptance of evidence gained under torture. I have to pinch myself that
these are the product of a
Labour government. However, I am
also strongly opposed to the ban on smoking in public places which I regard
as an illiberal interference on how we lead our lives. The health risks of
passive smoking to bar staff can be adequately dealt with by enforcing
ventilation standards on pub owners, and not allowing smoking at the bar
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?
War is a product of imperialism,
the stage of capitalism where the world is dominated by huge corporations,
and where the major powers will use military pressure to promote their trade
interests. Imperial war leads to its asymmetrical opposite: resistance from
the oppressed. I oppose imperialism and imperialist war, but I support the
military struggle of those opposing imperialism. For example the Cuban
involvement in the Angolan civil
war was progressive, and their
defeat of the South Africans at the battle of Cuito Cuanavale in 1988 was a
significant turning point in the international fight against Apartheid. So
yes, wars of resistance can be justified.
There is very little left to privatise in this
country, if you had your way
what would be brought into public hands?
Start with transport, and keep
on going! I note that the Lib Dems have a policy of privatising the Royal
Mint, they found the last publicly owned thing worth privatising. Given the
success rate of previous privatisations, if this went ahead we would
probably end up bartering chickens! Perhaps they should also consider
privatising the Royal Family? The next head of state could be put out to
tender - perhaps Mohammed Fayed would make the biggest offer, I am sure he
would do as good a job as the Windsors.
Some environmental campaigners have started
talking about nuclear power as a way to bring down CO2 emissions - what do
you think of this?
CO2 emissions can be cut be
promoting more energy efficient transport, state assistance for lagging
roofs, etc. Nuclear energy is inherently unsafe and there is no safe way of
disposing of the waste.
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?
I would like to see refugees
eligible for the same level of benefit as everyone else, and allowed to
work. But I would dearly love to see the government actively campaigning to
explain the benefits of immigration to the economy and the cultural life of
the country, and also defend the importance of us offering asylum to
desperate people fleeing war, persecution or poverty. Often fleeing from the
effects of the policies promoted by the US, UK and other western
What question do you wish was on this list but
I am very interested in peoples'
views about Venezuela, which I think is very exciting. But more practically,
what would candidates do
about Rover? Personally I think it should be nationalised and subsidised as
a centre for designing and producing
low emission cars, lorries and
buses, and there should be tax incentives for people to switch to them.