A candidate?s diary

CPGB member Lawrie Coombs is the Socialist Alliance parliamentary candidate for Stockton South

Wednesday May 9 Having found out at the 11th hour that a council by-election will take place in Stockton, Socialist Alliance comrades organise a quick phone conference and we decide to put yours truly up for election in Fairfield ward. Spend the evening seeking nominations, which need to be in by noon tomorrow! No sweat: the attitude on the doorstep is friendly, with older voters especially seeming disappointed and bemused by Labour.

Thursday May 10 My agent hands in the nomination forms.

Saturday May 12 Stall in central Stockton on a beautiful sunny day. We receive a mixed reception: some very encouraged to hear we are standing, others displaying cynicism about politics generally.

Sunday May 13 Some leafleting during the day, followed by attending the launch meeting of Arthur Scargill?s campaign in Hartlepool, just up the road. We sell quite a healthy number of Weekly Workers to Arthur?s audience and there is some interest in forming an alliance in the town, although all the comrades are agreed in not challenging the SLP this time round.

Tuesday May 15 Some more leafleting. Still haven?t got the electoral registers through yet, so canvassing put on hold for the moment. An ex-Labour Party leftwinger who contacted the SA centre comes out with us. We bump into some individuals who show us that there is still some fight in people: a couple of local women out campaigning for children?s play facilities on a local green which is now frequented by drug users, who leave their needles, etc. One of the campaigners is a local member of the Communications Workers Union who is preparing for strike action. We also bump into a couple of members of a local TA, one of whom is a former trade unionist and Labour Party activist, who had stood in the last elections as an independent and gained 300 votes. Gave us his blessing, and hopefully he will put the word out. We need to connect with these people and bring them behind our project for a Socialist Alliance party.

Wednesday May 16 Meet a couple of Socialist Party members locally who take a wedge of leaflets and speed off to do some daytime leafleting. The campaign is starting to get into gear. Plans are underway for an SA branch to be firmly established in the borough. My computer is crashing time after time. If this gets through I shall be amazed ... Off to work for an overnight shift again tonight ... boo hoo.