The election results in Oxford and London have spelt out the IWCA’s political potential with a huge capital P. Though the primary reason for standing in the Mayoral election was to increase the IWCA profile, the actual results demonstrate the numbers reached by our message-over 49,000 Londoners put their cross against IWCA candidate Lorna Reid.
In Oxford the IWCA, in winning three seats, will undoubtedly be one of the main dynamics in what is now a hung council after Labour lost overall control.
For a party which put up its first candidates in May 2002 this demonstrates fairly dramatic progress and something one might have imagined the media would have had the good grace to acknowlege. Far from it.
Papers like the Guardian, while lauding the Oxford Greens capture of four seats, insist on describing the three succesful IWCA candidates as ‘independents’. The BBC meanwhile sought to explain away the IWCA success as part of the ‘anti-war protest vote’. Even on the day after the election and six weeks of campaigning, The Independent decided their readers would benefit from knowing that Lorna Reid is a member of a party called ‘Independent Work’.
To get the full flavour of the IWCA gains it is to necessary to compare and contrast results with other parties the media regard as the radical alternative. Respect, headed up by renegade MP George Galloway, received substantial pre-election coverage as did the BNP, while the IWCA was never mentioned even once. Moreover, acccording to both Respect and the BNP each spent around £250,000 on self promotion. Even these extravagant amounts pale when set against the £2 million reportedly invested by the UKIP. Money and the media were not the only areas where the IWCA was at a disadvantage. According to some the BNP has a membership of about 5,000 while Respect is actively sponsored by various Muslim groups and the SWP. Despite this, Respect have so far emerged from the elections without a single candidate elected, while the BNP made a net gain of one councillor. In addition the BNP and Respect stood candidates in every constituency for the assembly while the IWCA only put up a candidate for Mayor.
In discussing performance and overall potential it is useful to draw a comparison between the IWCA, BNP, and Respect where the parties went head-to-head on a more level playing field. By this we mean the London constituencies where the Lorna Reid’s campaign either captured the attention of the local media, resulting in some favourable, albiet limited, publicity, or where through bashing the pavement IWCA activists carved out a profile for itself simply by going door-to-door on the working class estates.
For more details on the IWCA’s Mayoral Campaign see IWCA national site
Paul Foot Socialist Alliance
Crispin Truman Green Party
“I went to Laburnum School as did my brothers and we got a good education here. If I am elected Mayor of Hackney, Laburnum School will not close.”
The answer to your question is an unequivocal Yes I support your campaign. The elected mayor will have little power, but will be able at least to block and stall council closure plans, and use the influence of the elected office to campaign against them. I would do these things most energetically. I would like to say that I will also be available to – and supportive of – your campaign if I am not elected.
As Mayor of Hackney I would fully support the kids, parents and staff of Laburnam School and the wider community in your campaign to keep the school open. It’s my strong belief that the work you are doing to protect and improve our borough cannot be dismissed by Hackney Council but must be welcomed and supported if we are ever to turn things around. It’s the role of Mayor to put the interests of local people at the top of the local agenda, protecting services for the future instead of sacrificing everything we have to the obsessive need to please the government and its accountants.
Hackney IWCA candidates in Haggerston ward chalked up impressive results last night, narrowly missing out on a council seat. The full results were:
Percentage Turnout: 32.15
Boff, Andrew The Conservative Party 435
Bright, Afolasade Oluyemidale Labour Party 802
Ellis, Alexander The Conservative Party 404
Rae, Benjamin Christie The Liberal Party 270
Sarikaya, Erdogan The Conservative Party 420
Sen, Nusret Independent 504
Sutton, Peter Independent Working Class Association 595
Taylor, Carl Independent Working Class Association 610
Thompson, Coral Christian Peoples Alliance 87
Tiyamiyu, Suraju-Deen Olatunde Labour Party 700
Young, David Labour Party 841
Candidate Peter Sutton stated “We are the official opposition to Labour in Haggerston and will use that position to put pressure on the Council to take action on crime and anti-social behaviour, to improve the repairs, cleaning and manageement of our estates and to resist any loss of community facilities in the Ward.
While Labour gained votes acros Hackney South – winning every seat in the constituency – the trend was bucked in Haggerston where they lost votes on their 1998 results. Labour are on course to lose Haggerston in 2006 or in any by-election before then.
We would like to thank everyone who voted for us, and there are a number of tenant and community leaders – you know who you are – who put themselves out to support our campaign.”
“In the leaflet – the Haggerston Rose – Labour are claiming to have solved problems that they themselves caused,” said IWCA (Hackney Independent) activist and candidate Carl Taylor. “And they have claimed that things are getting better when all the evidence is that they are getting much, much worse.”
The leaflet claims that the £30 million secured by the council from central government has ended the threat to libraries and nurseries, that Labour were responsible for terminating the costly ITNet revenues and benefits contract and that they have brought improvements to schools, street cleaning and social services.
“The news that the threat to libraries and nurseries has been ended must be news to workers and users,” said Carl Taylor. “Each week in the Gazette we read about the ongoing libraries dispute and renewed threats to existing nursery provision. The ITNet contract was brought in by Labour in the first place and they were forced to sack them only in the face of the anger and misery of Hackney tenants. Thanks to Labour, ITNet nearly bankrupted this borough. Rather than claim credit for sacking them they should be apologising to all of us for their own incompetency. The massively overspent Service Team street cleaning contract and the Initial school meals fiasco shows that they haven’t learnt anything from ITNet. As for social services, how can anyone claim that reducing home care for the elderly and cutting Freedom Passes to the disabled are ‘real improvements’!?”
The IWCA (Hackney Independent) have also condemned labour councillors claims to have ‘worked hard to keep open the Apples & Pears Adventure Playground’. The IWCA’s Peter Sutton – another election candidate in Haggerston Ward – said “the only reason this valuable site is under threat in the first place is because Labour councillors are determined to sell off our facilities. Apples & Pears was only saved from the hammer at auction because volunteer workers and parents got a court injunction which has delayed the sale. Are Labour now saying they have no plans to sell the site, or do they intend to push the sale again after the election when it will be less electorally damaging? Whatever their plans are they should come out and say so. No wonder people are increasingly fed up with this kind of dishonest ‘politics’.”
The IWCA (Hackney Independent) believes that Labour’s claim that they will ‘continue to stick up for local people and vital community facilities’ is nothing more than a joke, and not a particularly funny one. “Labour’s record on community facilities is abysmal,” said Peter Sutton. “They have broken their promise in their last newsletter, put out over a year ago, to reopen Haggerston Pool. Why should people believe what they read in this one? We share people’s frustration at this kind of ‘economy with the truth’ and are committed to campaigning with local people to prevent more cuts and sell-offs. We will continue to do so whatever happens at the elections. Fortunately people now have a choice in Haggerston.”
note: Patrick McCrudden has been in touch and we urge others who are interested in standing independent working class candidates to contact us.
Why Should We Pay ? – letter in Hackney Gazette 23rd January 2001
The following letter appeared in this week’s edition of the Gazette. It wasn’t sent by an IWCA member but echoes many of the things we’ve been saying about standing independent candidates against the middle class councillors we have now. If the writer of the letter is serious in his points here, we would urge him to get in touch.
Hackney Council, its present concillors, and managers etc. want to increase tenants’ rent by up to £8 a week, plus increase our council tax by £84. What services are we residents in Hackney really getting and why are we the people/ residents/ workers in Hackney having to foot the bill for the council’s mismanagement ? Why should the people of Hackney suffer and pay, especially those on low incomes ?
Max Caller’s on a nice little earner, but I bet he’s not taking a pay cut. No, but these people who provide services will take pay cuts. This is why I am in full support of strike action…This is what all tenants, residents and council workers should do to those bosses and councillors in Hackney Town Hall – direct action, residents’ action groups, non-payment of council tax. Enough of this softly, softly approach. It’s time the people of Hackney got off their backsides and take the councillors and bosses by the neck and tell them “you’re not making us pay for your mistakes and incompetence”.
What we really need is to elect independent candidates who will stand in the next local elections on anti-cuts/anti-corruption. This is why I and othyer sactive in Hackney have decided to stand against the Liberal/Labour/Conservative coalition. Residents of Hackney – it’s time to stand up and come to the call to arms. The councillors voted in the cuts to jobs and services, so dump your rubbish on the councillors’ doorsteps.
Patrick McCrudden, Stamford Hill
Power to the People
letter in Hackney Gazette 8.2.2001
As the letters page of your paper shows, more and more people in Hackney are fed up with how our lives are being made a misery by the incompetence and political careerism of councillors who “run” the borough. Some of your correspondents have called for marches, demonstrations and produced the odd snappy slogan, but where have these things got us in the past ? I was more interested to see Patrick McCrudden’s letter in last week’s Gazette which called for independent candidates to be stood in council elections.
The IWCA has long argued for this, but it is only part of a bigger picture of community politics and can’t work just on its own; a recent event might highlight this. Two weeks ago, around 100 tenants from all over Shoreditch attended a meeting of the New Deal where proposals to demolish entire estates were being put forward. At short notice, and with impressive self-organisation, these people forced the New Deal to back down: a display of the power that working class people can have when we work together (a fuller report is available on the news page).
If we are serious about changing Hackney for the better for its working class majority, then we have to be serious about how we approach it. Standing candidates is one part of that, but those standing should be prepared to get involved in the issues that working class communities themselves feel are important, not just appear overnight and hope to pick up a few votes the next day. We would be genuinely interested to hear what Patrick McCrudden is proposing.
Dan Carter (Hackney IWCA)
Letter in Hackney Gazette 10th August 2000
We read Myrna Shaw’s letter in the Gazette with interest and would agree that the way forward is to stand independent candidates in the council elections.
It is clear that the four main parties in Hackney are only interested in the middle classes, so we believe it is essential that independent candidates represent the interests of working class people (and of course this includes many pensioners).
With this in mind we are seriously considering standing candidates in the Shoreditch Neighbourhood in the 2002 elections and would welcome discussion with Mrs Shaw – and other interested individuals or tenant’s representatives – in deciding how best to serve the interests of this working class majority.
We would urge anyone who wishes to discuss it to contact us at PO Box 48, 136 Kingsland High Street, E8 2NS
Dan Carter, Hackney Independent Working Class Association
Extracts from responses to above letter
“I don’t mince my words and will never speak diplomatic, sugar pill English. I told Sedgemore the middle-class had won and that was England done. If anyone broke English working class values it was Labour. At least from the time of Brown and Wilson, if not earlier, the old streets were torn down in ‘slum clearance’ to make way for the ‘inner city.’ Labour did nothing to preserve anything that was truly and not just ‘trades union working class’, and they still don’t.”
“I read your letter Gazette letter with interest. But I do have my doubts! The campaign of course would be the thing, but what chances do you think you have of obtaining a poll tax type putsch in Shoreditch?”
“I do not mean to be negative, but it is going to be a long hard slog, with a large element of distrust of the organisers the first hurdle to overcome.”
“It’s about time someone stood up for working class interests. Labour abandoned us twenty years ago. In Hoxton we’ve tried the Liberals and even the Tories. I’m prepared to give you a go.”
“I agree with standing in the next elections, and there’s still two years to prepare for it. Couldn’t you stand in Clapton as well?”
“Standing for the working classes alone is divisive. Although I own my own home and run a business, I want my streets kept clean and a low council tax just as much as my cleaner does….”