Real work starts now
?The real work starts on June 8? - that was the bold message from Pete Radcliff, Socialist Alliance candidate for Nottingham East, at a well attended pre-election rally last week. It is hard not to agree with this call.
Almost since Nottingham SA was established, we have had a date to work towards (or at least a rough guide) - now the future stretches out in front of us. Of course, if things go to plan, there will be further elections to be fought, and many campaigns to be initiated, and we will carry our message to the working class whenever we can. Above all things we must recruit and organise our class in a Socialist Alliance party.
It is imperative that we do not turn into a pressure group or a mere election vehicle.
Various components within the alliance must learn from experience: simply handing out leaflets on a Saturday afternoon is just not enough. That is not to say that many in Nottingham have not done admirable and exhaustive work on the ground over the last month - after all, we had 40,000 homes to cover - but we must give our work much more political edge. And that must include a raising of the level of debate within the alliance.
The last week of the campaign saw us gain a relatively high profile in the local media, with Pete Radcliff interviewed in the Nottingham Evening Post, on BBC Radio Nottingham and on the East Midlands Today BBC TV programme - vital exposure so close to the election. I accompanied Pete to BBC Radio Nottingham, where he was debating transport policy with candidates from the three establishment parties, and I managed to have an impromptu chat with the Labour Party campaign manager for Bassetlaw.
Bassetlaw is a deeply working class, ex-mining area - a good target for the SA in the future in fact - yet here was a person who supported Blair?s border controls, ?loved? Peter Mandelson, ?hated? Scargill and had no qualms about admitting to me that she was a careerist. One could almost see the New Labour blood running through her veins.
Such talk from Labour leaders in this working class area - which Labour will have won by the time you read this - emphasises the need for the SA to expand and take its radical message to all the Bassetlaws up and down the country. It is our task to expose New Labour?s cold, fetid heart and bring hope back to the working class. The work really does start here.