Swansea: High profile

Up to 200 people demonstrated in Swansea on March 29. A cross-section of activists were present, ranging from the Greens and CND to the left generally and the local branch of the Welsh Socialist Alliance. Swansea WSA used this opportunity to build its campaign in the town for the Welsh assembly elections in May. Both seats are being contested, with Alun Thompson standing in Swansea East and Leigh Richards fighting Swansea West. Bob Davies Guildford: His lordship regrets On March 28, about 120 people gathered at the University of Surrey in Guildford to debate 'Iraq - the way forward?' with a rather interesting panel of speakers. Surrey Stop the War Coalition organised the meeting, and was represented on the platform by its secretary, Jeremy Butler of the CPGB. He was joined by John Gladwin, bishop of Guildford; human rights campaigner Lord Nazir Ahmed; Dr Scilla Ellworthy, director of the Oxford Research Group; and Lord Howell, MP for Guildford and member of Thatcher's cabinet between 1979 and 1983. Lord Howell is now the Conservative's opposition spokesman for foreign affairs in the House of Lords, and attended to defend the war. He did this on the well worn grounds that it was a deeply regrettable necessity to displace Saddam's evil dictatorship, and that Iraq had become a "lynchpin of terror" and "danger to the region". Perhaps throwing a bone to a clearly uneasy audience, he acknowledged the war's "unpopularity". He blamed "Bush's speech-writer", for the fact that, whenever the president spoke, his lordship was "really turned off". We are a polite lot in Guildford, and listened quietly. Some even applauded, presumably impressed by his willingness to turn up. And then, from their various different standpoints, every other speaker attacked the war as unjust and Lord Howell's arguments were torn to pieces. Manny Neira * Send your reports to weeklyworker@cpgb.org.uk