Votes or contacts? Such was the debate that seemed to dominate the May 15 meeting of Middlesbrough Socialist Alliance. Now that the election has been called, a sense of urgency has gripped our previously somewhat complacent branch, and Tuesday?s meeting was consumed in detailed discussion regarding our plans for the fight.

If not so much through complacency, then through apathy on the part of more distant supporters, Middlesbrough SA faces an arduous, challenging task. With only three weeks to go until polling day, the small core of comrades who have shown unwavering commitment to the project must now step up our campaigning. However, there was a difference over emphasis at the meeting between those who argued that we should be aiming for the highest possible vote over a broad area and those who thought we should concentrate on linking with known potential support, with the aim of boosting our numbers for after the election.

It was through this debate that the question of ?What next after June 7?? briefly surfaced. Comrades pointed out that if we are to grow and develop, we will need to win a strong support base. However, as our candidate, Geoff Kerr-Morgan of the SWP, quite rightly stated, if we do not achieve a respectable vote in the election, paradoxically potential support might diminish, with the SA being rejected as a Mickey Mouse organisation. But a fellow SWPer insisted that our ?minimum target? should be to establish a number of contacts who can be drawn into debate after the election.

James Bull