Socialist Alliance: Brent polling day announced

Stan Keable reports on an important Socialist Alliance challenge in north west London

With Robert Evans MEP pushing New Labour’s ‘tough on crime’ propaganda through our letterboxes, we hear not a squeak from him about the Iraq war and occupation - the main issue being raised by Socialist Alliance candidate Brian Butterworth in the Brent East by-election.

Evans is playing to the right, displaying an obscene loyalty to the Blairite spin machine. There seems to be no trace of left credentials on show that might excuse a tactical vote for Labour on the part of socialists.

Leaving aside Labour-loyal leftists, there appears every chance that the left vote will be divided. At the time of writing the prospective anti-war candidate, Fawzi Ibrahimi, has dropped out of view, hopefully having second thoughts about standing. However, Labour Party member, Harold Immanuel, has announced his intention to stand as an independent “in protest at the war in Iraq”.

The announcement of polling day for September 18 has dramatically shortened the time available for the SA campaign to gain momentum and means that the mass leafleting on Sunday August 31 becomes of crucial importance. The first leaflet has now been delivered to almost every dwelling in the constituency, and tube stations are being covered every evening. School and college students will be handed targeted leaflets as they return from their summer break. Local SAs in London are being urged to come to Brent and lend a hand. We have just three weekends between now and the vote.

Friday August 29, 1pm-2.30pm: Leafleting outside the three mosques.

Saturday August 30, 12noon-3pm: SA stalls in shopping centres - Neasden, Willesden High Road (Somerfield), Kilburn Square, Cricklewood (opposite Iceland).

Sunday August 31 - National Day of Action in Brent East: Campaign rooms will be open from 11am to 4pm at the Ceilidh on the Green pub, Walm Lane - opposite and to the right as you come out of Willesden Green tube station (Jubilee line). Do at least two hours leafleting. Bring cars and loudhailers. We will be gathering for food and drink at the Ceilidh at the end of the afternoon’s campaigning.

Monday September 15, 7.30pm - Election rally: Under the theme, ‘End the occupation of Iraq, freedom for Palestine’. Pakistan Community Centre, Station Parade (turn left out of Willesden Green tube station).

Speakers include: Eamonn McCann, Paul Foot, Louise Christian, Ken Loach, Linda Smith (FBU London region), Asad Rehman (Stop the War Coalition).

Thursday September 18: Take the day off work, and be there.

The need for hard cash is also more pressing and comrades are being asked to send their donations to the Socialist Alliance at Creative House, 82-90 Queensland Road, London N7 7AS. Make the cheques payable to ‘Socialist Alliance’ and write ‘Brent’ on the back. A target of £5,000 has been set.