Monday, 19 April 2010

The Far Left and the 2010 UK General Election

Here's the list of candidates everyone hasn't been talking about: the combined electoral intervention of the far left in Britain. Just a few things need mentioning before you feast your eyes on what will, after the event, be dubbed the best election campaign socialists have ever been involved in. Firstly the far left here is defined as a group that lays claim to some form of Marxist heritage and/or identifiably fits in with left-of-Labour campaigning. This does not include Plaid Cymru or Mebyon Kerbow who are primarily nationalist parties, albeit ones that are not afraid to use left and social democratic-sounding language; nor the strange formation that is the Pirate Party. The Labour Representation Committee falls outside this definition too because of the thousands of votes the comrades can expect from standing as official Labour candidates. But the Peace Party and Alliance for Green Socialism are definitely in.

Second, this list is a work in progress. For example, the ever idiotic Workers' Revolutionary Party
calls for us to vote WRP while building for socialist revolution, but without telling us where they're standing. Duh. I've managed to track down one seat that's being contested, but rumour has it there are seven more. Has anyone spotted this revolutionary vanguard of the working class? Likewise the Scargill's Socialist Labour Party aren't saying much. Their appalling website still features material from last year's European election campaign. They didn't even try to make hay with Ricky Tomlinson's decision (later withdrawn) to stand against Labour parachutist Luciana Berger in Liverpool Wavertree. Still, at least they managed to find a candidate to replace him. I wouldn't be surprised if Scargill can come up with the readies for a few dozen paper candidates, most of whom will no doubt stand in constituencies where there's already another far left candidate.

A note on the format. Each organisation is listed with the candidate's name, and the previous combined far left vote in that constituency (where applicable) from the 2005 and 2001 general elections. This does not count results from by-elections or other 'second order' elections.

Alliance for Green Socialism
Kensington - Eddie Adams (N/A)
Leeds East - Mike Davies (2001, SLP 419 votes (1.4%))
Leeds North East - Celia Foote (2005, AGS 1,038 votes (2.5%); 2001, SLP 173 votes (0.4%))
Leeds North West - Trevor Bavage (2005, AGS 181 votes (0.4%))
Scarborough and Whitby - Juliet Boddington (N/A)
Vale of Clwyd - Mike Butler (N/A)

Alliance for Workers' Liberty
Camberwell and Peckham - Jill Mountford (2005, SLP + WRP 245 votes (0.9%); 2001, SA + SLP + WRP 736 votes (2.9%))

Communist League
Edinburgh South West - Caroline Bellamy (2005, SSP 585 votes (1.3%))
Hackney South and Shoreditch - Paul Davies (2005, Respect + CPB + WRP 1,729 votes (5.4%); 2001, SA + CPB + WRP 1,803 votes (6%))

Communist Party of Britain
Cardiff South and Penarth - Robert Griffiths (2005, SocAlt 269 votes (0.7%); 2001, SA 427 votes (1.2%))
Croydon North - Ben Stevenson (2001, Socialist Alliance 539 votes (1.3%))
Glasgow North West - Marc Livingstone (2005, SSP + SLP 1,387 votes (4.2%))
Newcastle East - Martine Levy (N/A)
North Devon - Gerry Sables (N/A)
Sheffield South East - Steve Andrew (N/A)

Direct Democracy (Communist) Party
Nusret ┼×en (2005, Respect + CPB + WRP 1,729 votes (5.4%); 2001, SA + CPB + WRP 1,803 votes (6%))

Left Independents
Bermondsey and Old Southwark - Steve Freeman (N/A)
Blaenau Gwent* - Dai Davies (2005, PV 20,545 votes (58.2%), maj 2,488)
Bromsgrove - Mark France (N/A)
Islwyn - Dave Rees (2001, SLP 417 votes (1.3%))
Leeds Central - Dave Procter (2001, SA 751 votes (2.8%))
Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford - Gareth Allen (N/A))
Northampton South - Tony Clarke (N/A)
Stockton North - Frank Cook (N/A)
Stockton South - Yvonne Hossack (2001, SA 455 votes (1%))
Stoke Central - Gary Elsby (2005, SocAlt 246 votes (0.9%))
Torfaen - Fred Wildgust (2001, SA 443 votes (1.3%))
Wakefield - Mark Harrop (2005, SocAlt + SLP 420 votes (0.9%); 2001, SA + SLP 1,175 votes (2.8%))
Worcester - Peter Nielsen (N/A)

Peace Party
Guildford - John Morris (2005, PP 166 votes (0.3%); 2001, PP 370 votes (0.8%))
Horsham - Jim Duggan (N/A)
Woking - Julie Roxburgh (N/A)

People Before Profit
Foyle - Eamonn McCann (2005, Socialist Environmental 1,649 votes (3.6%))
Lewisham East - George Hallam (2001, SA 464 votes (1.6%))

Respect
Bethnal Green and Bow* - Abjol Miah (2005, Respect + CL 15,839 votes (36%); maj 823)
Birmingham Hall Green - Salma Yaqoob (N/A)
Blackley and Broughton - Kay Phillips (N/A)
Bradford West - Arshad Ali (N/A)
Brent Central - Abdi Duale (N/A)
Croydon North - Mohammed Shaikh (2001, SA 539 votes (1.3%))
Enfield Southgate - Samad Billoo (N/A)
Garston and Halewood - Diana Raby (N/A)
Manchester Gorton - Mohammed Zulfikar (2005, WRP 181 votes (0.6%); 2001, SLP 333 votes (1.2%))
Oldham West and Royton - Shahid Miah (N/A)
Poplar and Limehouse - George Galloway (N/A)

Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist)
South Shields - Roger Nettleship (2001, RCPBML 262 votes (0.9%))

Scottish Socialist Party
Aberdeen North - Ewan Robertson (2005, SSP 691 votes (1.9%); 2001, SSP 454 votes (1.5%))
Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East - Willie O'Neil (2005, SSP 1,141 votes (2.9%))
Dundee East - Angela Gorrie (2005, SSP 537 votes (1.4%); 2001, SSP 879 votes (2.7%))
Edinburgh South West - Colin Fox (2005, SSP 585 votes (1.3%))
Glasgow Central - James Nesbitt (2005, SSP + SLP + CPB 1,445 votes (5.2%))
Glasgow East - Frances Curran (2005, SSP 1,096 votes (3.5%))
Glasgow North East - Kevin McVey (2005, SSP + SLP 5,438 votes (19.1%))
Livingston - Ally Hendry (2005, SSP 789 votes (1.8%); 2001, SSP 1,110 votes (3.1%))
Paisley and Renfrewshire North - Chris Rollo (2005, SSP + SLP 1,090 votes (2.7%))
Paisley and Renfrewshire South - Jimmy Kerr (2005, SSP + SLP 896 votes (2.4%))

Socialist Equality Party
Manchester Central - Robert Skelton (2005, Independent Progressive Labour + SLP 565 votes (1.9%); 2001, SLP 484 votes (1.9%))
Oxford East - David O'Sullivan (2001, SA + SLP 982 votes (2.5%))

Socialist Labour Party
Barnsley Central - Terry Robinson (2001, SA 703 votes (2.6%))
Barnsley East - Ken Capstick (N/A)
Birmingham Perry Barr - John Tyrell (2005, SLP 890 votes (2.3%); 2001, SLP + SA 1,709 votes (5.3%))
Blaenau Gwent - Alyson O'Connell (2005, PV 20,545 votes (58.2%))
Brighton Pavilion - Ian Fyvie (2005, AGS + SLP 340 votes (0.7%); 2001, SLP 573 votes (1.4%))
Camberwell and Peckham - Margaret Sharkey (2005, SLP + WRP 245 votes (0.9%); 2001 SA + SLP + WRP 716 votes (2.9%))
Camborne and Redruth - Rob Hawkins (N/A)
Central Ayrshire - James McDaid (2005, SSP + SLP 1,288 votes (3%))
Edinburgh North and Leith - David Jacobsen (2005, SSP 804 votes (1.9%); 2001, SSP + SLP 1,593 votes (4.8%))
Glasgow North East - Jim Berrington (2005, SSP + SLP 5,438 votes (19.1%))
Liverpool Wavertree - Kim Singleton (2005, SLP 244 votes (0.7%); 2001, SLP + SA 708 votes (2.2%))
Liverpool West Derby - Kai Andersen (2005, SLP 698 votes (2.3))
Manchester Central - Ron Sinclair (2005, Independent Progressive Labour + SLP 565 votes (1.9%); 2001, SLP 484 votes (1.9%))
Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney - Alan Cowdell (2005, SLP 271 votes (0.9%); 2001, SLP 692 votes (2.2%))
Newport East - Liz Screen (2005, SLP 260 votes (0.8%); 2001, SLP + CPB 593 votes (1.9%))
North Ayrshire and Arran - Louise McDaid (2005, SSP + SLP 1,083 votes (2.5%))
Plymouth Moor View - David Marchesi (N/A)
Plymouth Sutton and Devonport - Rob Hawkins (N/A)
Pontypridd - Simon Parsons (2005, CPB 233 votes (0.6%))
South Derbyshire - Paul Liversuch (2001, SLP 564 votes (1.1%))
St Helens North - Steve Whatham (2001, SLP 939 votes (2.5%))
Thurrock - Paul Mannion (N/A)
West Dumbartonshire - Katharine McGavigan (2005, SSP 1,708 votes (4.1%))
Wolverhampton North East - Shangara Singh Bhatoe (N/A)

Socialist Party of Great Britain
Vauxhall - Daniel Lambert (2005, SPGB 240 votes (0.6%); 2001, SA 853 votes (2.6%))

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
Bootle - Pete Glover (2005, SocAlt 655 votes (2.6%); 2001, SLP + SA 1,643 votes (5.9%))
Brighton Kemptown - Dave Hill (2005, PP + SLP +SocAlt 448 votes (1.1%); 2001, SLP 364 votes (0.9%))
Bristol East - Rachel Lynch (2005, Respect 532 votes (1.3%); 2001, SA + SLP 769 votes (1.9%))
Bristol South - Tom Baldwin (2001, SA + SLP 746 votes (1.8%))
Cambridge - Martin Booth (2005, Respect 477 votes (1.1%); 2001, SA + WRP 777 votes (1.8%))
Cardiff Central - Ross Saunders (2005, Respect 386 votes (1.1%); 2001, SA 283 votes (0.8%))
Carlisle - John Metcalfe (TUSC-backed independent) (2001, SA 269 votes (0.8%))
Colne Valley - Jackie Grunsell (N/A)
Coventry North East - Dave Nellist (2005, SocAlt 1,874 votes (5.04%); 2001, SA 2,638 votes (7.1%))
Coventry North West - Nikki Downes (2005, SocAlt 615 votes (1.4%))
Coventry South - Judy Griffiths (2005, SocAlt 1,097 votes (2.7%); 2001, SocAlt + SLP 1,889 votes (4.7%))
Doncaster North - Bill Rawcliffe (N/A)
Dundee West - Jim McFarlane (2005, SSP 994 votes (2.7%); 2001, SSP 1,192 (4.1%))
Edinburgh East - Gary Clark (2005, SSP + CL 905 votes (2.3%))
Edinburgh North and Leith - Willie Black (2005, SSP 804 votes (1.9%); 2001, SSP + SLP 1,593 votes (4.8%))
Gateshead - Elaine Brunskill (N/A)
Glasgow North - Angela McCormick (2005, SSP 1,067 votes (3.8%))
Glasgow North East - Graham Campbell (2005, SSP + SLP 5,438 votes (19.1%))
Glasgow South - Brian Smith (2005, SSP + SLP 1,569 votes (4.1%))
Glasgow South West - Tommy Sheridan (2005, SSP + SLP 1,809 votes (5.9%))
Greenwich and Woolwich - Onay Kasab (2001, SA + SLP 833 votes (2.6%))
Huddersfield - Paul Cooney (2001, SA + SLP 582 votes (1.7%))
Hull West and Hessle - Keith Gibson (2001, SLP 353 votes (1.2%))
Inverness Nairn Badenoch and Strathspey - George McDonald (2005, SSP 429 votes (1%))
Leicester West - Steve Score (2005, SocAlt 552 votes (1.7%); 2001, SA + SLP 671 votes (2.1%))
Lewisham Deptford - Ian Page (2005, SocAlt 742 votes (2.4%); 2001, SA 1,260 votes (4.3%))
Liverpool Walton - Darren Ireland (N/A)
Manchester Gorton - Karen Reissman (2005, WRP 181 votes (0.6%); 2001, SLP 333 votes (1.2%))
Midlothian - Willie Duncan (2005, SSP 726 votes (1.9%)); 2001, SSP 837 votes (2.9%))
Motherwell and Wishaw - Ray Gunnion (2005, SSP 1,019 votes (2.7%); 2001, SSP + SLP 1,321 votes (4.4%))
Portsmouth North - Mick Tosh (N/A)
Redcar - Hannah Walter (2005, SLP 159 votes (0.4%); 2001, SLP 772 votes (2%))
Salford - David Henry (2001, SA 414 votes (1.8%))
Sheffield Brightside - Maxine Bowler (2001, SA + SLP 715 votes (2.8%))
Southampton Itchen - Tim Cutter (2001, SA + SLP 466 votes (1.1%))
Spelthorne - Paul Couchman (N/A)
Stoke Central - Matt Wright (2005, SocAlt 246 votes (0.9%))
Swansea West - Rob Williams (2005, SocAlt 288 votes (0.9%); 2001, SA 366 votes (1.1%))
Tottenham - Jenny Sutton (2005, Respect + SLP 2,277 (7.2%); 2001, SA 1,162 votes (3.7%))
Walthamstow - Nancy Taaffe (2005, SocAlt 727 votes (2.1%); 2001, SocAlt 806 votes (2.3%))
Wellingborough and Rushden - Paul Crofts (2005, SLP 234 votes (0.4%))
Wythenshawe and Sale East - Lynn Worthington (2005, SocAlt 369 votes (1%); 2001, SLP 410 votes (1.2%))

Unity for Peace and Socialism
Leicester East - Atvar Sadiq (2005, SLP 434 votes (1.1%); 2001, SLP 837 votes (2.1%))

Workers' Power
Vauxhall - Jeremy Drinkall (2005, SPGB 240 votes (0.6%); 2001, SA 853 votes (2.6%))

Workers' Revolutionary Party
Camberwell and Peckham - Joshua Ogunleye (2005, SLP + WRP 245 votes (0.9%); 2001 SA + SLP + WRP 716 votes (2.9%))
Enfield North - Anna Athow (N/A)
Feltham and Heston - Matt Linley (2001, SLP 651 votes (1.8%))
Luton South - Frank Sweeney (2005, Respect + WRP 823 votes (2.4%); 2001, SA + WRP 378 votes (1%))
Manchester Central - Jonty Leff (2005, IPL + SLP 565 votes (1.9%); 2001, SLP 484 votes (1.9%))
Norwich South - Gabriel Polley (2005, WRP 85 votes (0.2%); 2001, SA 507 votes (1.2%))
Streatham - Paul Lepper (2005, WRP 127 votes (0.3%); 2001, SA 906 votes (2.4%))


I make that 135 candidates fighting over 120 seats. While that's an all-time low for fratricidal contests between sections of the far left, it's still incredible. With almost 600 other constituencies to fight over, why must there be any clashes at all? For those dying to know, socialists are fighting socialists in Camberwell and Peckham, Croydon North, Edinburgh East, Edinburgh North and Leith, Edinburgh South West, Glasgow North East, Hackney South and Shoreditch, Manchester Central, Manchester Gorton, and Vauxhall. Clashes to watch are Camberwell and Peckham where there's a three-way scrap for the lowest vote between the AWL, SLP, and WRP; and Manchester Central which is a handbags at dawn face off where the Healyite WRP vs the Healyite/Northite SEP. 'citing.

The three seats to watch are of course Respect in Bethnal Green and Bow, Birmingham Hall Green, and Poplar and Limehouse. I would be surprised if the comrades came away from this election with nothing to show for their efforts. The two TUSC contests that should prove to be their nearest to a break through (i.e. saved deposit and respectable vote) will be David Henry of Hazel Must Go in Salford, and Dave Nellist in Coventry North East. While it is true Dave's vote has been declining from general election to general election, I think there's a good chance of the SP/TUSC bucking the trend this time thanks to standing elsewhere in the city AND fighting all 18 council seats that are up for election. Widespread challenges of this kind does grab the local media's notice and can give candidates a bounce - as Green and BNP challenges at council level testify.

Another interesting feature of the electoral data is that despite coming back to elections under a different umbrella each time (especially in England and Wales), there is a dogged consistency to far left challenges. 37 of the seats were contested in 2001 and 2005, but this doesn't take into account the slew of new constituencies that have been drawn up for this election. Most of the N/As next to Respect candidates denote new seats, and it is very likely some of their support from predecessor seats will be bundled up into the new creations.

All in all, in a handful of cases the far left is poised to transcend its usual deposit-losing one or two per cent, adding more colour to an election that has suddenly become a bit more interesting.

I will update candidate information when I get it.

Tuesday Update
With thanks to
Jim Jepps and Tom (in the comments), I've included Eamonn McCann (Foyle) and George Hallam (Lewisham East). Coincidentally they're standing under the banner of People Before Profit but lack, as far as I know, any links with one another.

I've also managed to track down the mysterious Unity for Peace and Socialism candidate - Atvar Sadiq in Leicester East.

Also included are two left wing independents. First is Mark France (Bromsgrove). Comrades might remember him as the job centre worker who was victimised for leading a campaign against sitting Tory MP Julie Kirkbride over her expenses. Strangely he resigned from Respect while he did so fearing his membership would be used against him. Second is Valerie Wise in Preston. Former Labour leader of the council and daughter of the late left wing Labour MP Audrey Wise, she has pledged to fight this seat, but there is no news on whether her candidacy has been confirmed.

Still no sign of those WRP and SLP candidates.

But there is confusion over the Communist League. According to a piece in yesterday's
The Militant, they're all set to unleash Paul Davies on Hackney South and Shoreditch. Yet according to a piece just one week earlier they were about to pile into Bethnal Green and Bow off the back of a book stall they did at an anti-EDL mobilisation. What is it to be comrades?

Wednesday Update
Finally the WRP's list of candidates are available
here. Confirming Jim Jepps' earlier tip off, Ian Fyvie is standing for the SLP in Brighton Pavilion. Also, Margaret Sharkey is going into bat for Scargill in Camberwell and Peckham, where she faces stiff competition from the aforementioned Healyites and the AWL. Who will come nearest to reaching treble figures?

Thursday Morning Update
At long last the SLP candidates are starting to trickle through. Of the three new additions, surprise, surprise, two are standing in seats where there's already a socialist candidate (Edinburgh East and Edinburgh North and Leith). The third is in Birmingham Perry Barr, which the SLP have traditionally contested. Also thanks to Liamm and Anonymous in the comments for letting me know about a new TUSC candidate in Doncaster North, and the Direct Democracy (Communist) Party in Hackney South and Shoreditch.

Thursday Afternoon Update
Some more additions this afternoon. I've received the details for the SLP in the West Midlands and the South West. In the WestMids there's Birmingham Perry Bar (see this morning's update) and Wolverhampton North East. In the South West the SLP will be contesting Camborne and Redruth, Plymouth Moor View and Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport. Eagle-eyed readers will spot that two of the candidates are called Rob Hawkins and are domiciled at the same address. This isn't a crafty SLP plot to stand one candidate in two places (though I wish it was, I could do with a scoop). The comrades are in fact father and son.

In other news, despite Valerie Wise pledging to stand as an independent in Preston, no papers were filed with the returning officer. I bet the SWP wish they'd stood a candidate there now to capitalise on the respectable vote it has built up for Michael Lavalette.

Thursday Evening
And the SLP candidates are coming in thick and fast! Have the complete lists now for Wales and Scotland - check 'em out! Interesting the SLP has stood in Blenau Gwent - will they take more votes off Labour or People's Voice? Also Glasgow North East has now become a three way TUSC/SSP/SLP slap fight. Comrades will also be interested to learn that one of the SLP contacts who've supplied me with the candidate lists said their constituencies were "carefully targeted". I'd love to see the criteria.

Friday Update
Two more SLP candidates have been added - both in Barnsley. I'm told the party can only afford to stand in 25 seats, which is way down on previous interventions. With 18 down there are just seven more to find!

Saturday Update
It's done! What you see before you now is the *definitive* list of far left candidates in the UK general election. Added since last night is the RDG's Steve Freeman standing under 'no description' in Bermondsey and Old Southwark, and the remaining SLP candidates (their official list is available here). There's been additions thanks to tip offs in the comments box under Left Independents (which now include Blaenau Gwent's Peoples Voice and Gary Elsby of Stoke Central fame), and a candidate from the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist) - a group with surely less members than it has initials. That gives us a final tally of 135 candidates in 120 seats which, going off the top of my head, is a wider spread challenge than 2005.

52 comments:

Fatal Paradox said...

You have done us leftist trainspotters an inestimable service. Sir, I salute your indefatigability!

Jim Jepps said...

George Hallam is standing for People Beofre Profit in Lewisham East

http://www.georgehallam.org.uk/home

John Hamilton is standing for the directly elected Mayor for the same organisation... do you know of any other directly elected Mayoral contests happening on the same day?

Phil said...

WP vs SPGB, CL vs SSP, CPB vs RESPECT, TUSC vs SSP, TUSC vs RESPECT. I guess we can forgive WP and CL their foolish ways, but surely the other clashes could have been avoided?

Another possible(?) update to the list would be to note any Green stand-downs (Hall Green and er...) - and any constituencies where a Left force is standing down in favour of the Greens, if in fact there are any.

Captcha: 'skype'. I'll stick to blogging, thanks all the same.

Anonymous said...

who is the flag-bearer in pix ? Max watts, once upon a time from iver, bucks. no idea what seat

Darren said...

Hi Phil,

Cheers for the list. It's a boon for the leftist trainspotters amongst your readership.

Looking over it:

I saw that the WRP are claiming on their website that they're standing 7 candidates but - like yourself - I can only find details on the web of their candidate in Norwich.

Surely they'll also be contesting Camberwell and Peckham again? They always contest the seat in that area.

I note that the AGS are contesting 3 seats in Leeds. I know that's their base but any idea how big they are in Leeds? Surely contesting 3 seats in a city suggests some sort of clout?

I see the SEP are contesting a seat in Oxford. I read somewhere that they don't actually have any members in Oxford but they've committed themselves to contest a seat there because their international guru, David North, is scheduled to speak in Oxford the following month and they're just campaigning to publicise his meeting. Funny if it's true. ;-)

Noted the Communist League are contesting a seat in Edinburgh. That'll be because that's where they have their Scottish Offices. If I remember rightly the offices are next door to a rather fine curry house.

I read somewhere that the SLP are contesting 105 seats. Sounds implausible but Scargill does have the funding, so anything's possible.

neprimerimye said...

For many years now the Socialist Party (CWI) have fruitlessly stood in Cardiff South and Penarth. I note that this time round they are standing in Cardiff Central due to the intervention of the CPB in Cardiff South.

Phil said...

Cheers for the hat tip, Jim. I'll put him on the list. I don't know about other mayoral contests either :(

Yes Phil, the other clashes could have been avoided, but sectarianism and bloody mindedness has triumphed again. It could be worse, at least we're talking a handful of seats.

Darren, if the WRP does contest Camberwell and Peckham they'll be facing the might of the AWL (I thought the AWL was affiliated to the LRC - have they let it lapse this year for the pleasure of losing their deposit?)

I don't know how big the AGS are in Leeds, but didn't they or one of their forerunners have representation on the City Council? I seem to remember the Weekly Worker treating them as a localised outfit with a little bit of clout in the late 90s.

Mike, shortly before I left the SP the branch was very clear that it was standing for one reason only: to recruit. Alas, having been involved in three campaigns over my four year membership I can say, hand on heart, we never recruited one person through electoral activity. It can't be that different elsewhere.

Jim Jepps said...

"Another possible(?) update to the list would be to note any Green stand-downs (Hall Green and er...) - and any constituencies where a Left force is standing down in favour of the Greens, if in fact there are any."

There are two places where the Green Party has had a ballot of local members and decided to stand down in favour of a better placed left candidate. Birmingham Hall Green and Manchester Blackley and Broughton, both for Respect. In Coventry my understanding is that the local party is standing in two constituencies but has deliberately chosen not to stand in the same constituency as Dave Nellist, although I don't believe this was a members ballot but rather a branch decision. If there are other places where the Greens are standing aside for the left I don't know about them.

I don't know of any area that the left has taken a similar decision not to stand in favour of the Greens but given the smaller and more ad hoc nature of the left's election campaign it's more difficult to know. For example why Caroline Lucas in Brighton Pavilion is not facing any left challenger is open to interpretation, it could be the left standing aside or simply not having the capacity to stand - I'm happy to give people the benefit of the doubt here. Certainly two of the three Green target constituencies have far-left candidates as well and prominent Green Lefts like Joseph Healey in Vauxhaul are running in the same area as a smaller left grouping.

I should say for clarity, I'm not in favour of any of these left candidates stepping down to give the Greens a freer run, good luck to everyone I have no complaints - particularly as none of these candidates will make a blind bit of difference to the results. However, I will be supporting the Green Party in each of these cases as my party of choice.

Jim Jepps said...

Oh, one other thing. The list does not include those left candidates standing for the UK Parliament in the North of Ireland, like Eammon McCann in Foyle.

Worth including other Irish campaigns like People Before Profit?

Arthur Bough said...

Phil,

What is the actual purpose of the list? Having made the correct decision in rejoining Labour, surely what is required now is to campaign for a Labour Victory, whilst advocating socialist politics. Not only are all of these other sects a distraction from that, but none of hem have even the benefit of standing on a revolutionary programme. Supporting any of them simply as being a "lesser-evil" to Labour can only have the consequence of miseducating workers.

In fact, the AWL have a good explanation of that principle in a recent post that reprints a Workers Action article from 1976. Unfortunately, the AWL have no followed their own advice in that article, and have decided to stand their own candidate, as well as calling for support for non-Labour candidates through their latest front the Socialist Campaign To Stop The Tories and Fascists.

For having the temerity to point out these inconsistencis on their website, I found that once again the AWL's response was that well worn Stalinist tactic of censorship. They simply deleted my comments, including the one they had even attempted to reply to!

You are right that they are affiliated to the LRC, and members of the LRC, as well as John McDonnell appear as signatories to the SCTSTFT, which just shows how confused they are. Its impossible to square the idea that you want a Labour Victory with standing candidates AGAINST Labour, nor to deny that a demand to Stop The tories and fascists can be interpreted as Vote Liberal where they have the best chance of doing that.

I'm also surprised that McDonnell and others have signed up to it because in doing so they are inviting expulsion from the Party, by calling for support for non-Labour candidates. Worse, as consistent democrats, Marxists would have to uphold such a move, because we cannot go along with flaunting democratic decisions in the Labour movement when it suits us.

we still need a Socialist Campaign for a Labour Victory that can continue afte the elections to build to transform the LP, the Trade Unions and the Co-operative Movement.

Phil said...

Arthur, this list is here because I still take an interest in the far left and far left happenings, and I know that a not inconsiderable proportion of the readership do too.

As for the AWL, well, it's their mistake to make. But if they remain LRC affiliates their candidacy is putting the status of the wider grouping in jeopardy.

Tom said...

also what about northern ireland?

eamonn mccann standing in foyle constituency and im sure SP will be standing somewhere

Phil said...

Good point. I'll see if I can dig something up.

Magnus said...

Thanks for this, Phil! Could you note when you update it in the post?

Phil said...

Sure thing, since last night People Before Profit (H/t Jim Jepps) has been added, and I managed to locate the Unity for Peace and Socialism candidate too. When I do another update I'll post in on 'spotters.

Simon said...

"Its impossible to square the idea that you want a Labour Victory with standing candidates AGAINST Labour"

Not at all. A Labour victory is preferable to any other (plausible) outcome. But it does not logically follow that selectively standing candidates against Labour candidates detracts from that.

As for the AWL they will be expelled from the LRC, affiliation is dependent upon not contesting elections against the Labour Party. That's why the CPB never affiliated.

Arthur Bough said...

Phil,

there was no implied criticism. I'm interested in knowing who is standing too, and will be interested in seeing how abysmally they do. My point was simply to clarify what ws being said, because there has been a tendency on the Left for a long-time to see a vote for candidates to the Left of Labour as being a sort of duty for Marxists, when in fact it is nothing more than crass lesser-evilism.

I don't think that the AWL standing candidates whilst being members of the LRC particularly threatens other LRC members as such. It should not. However, any LP member or organisation that sponsors the AWL or its new front organisation which does call for support for non-Labour candidates, clearly would be in breach of LP rules, and would leave them open to expulsion.

Clearly, if what we were talking about was an official United front between the LP and some other Party or organisation that would not be the case, but the AWL and its new front organisation are certainly not that. As trotsky pointed out, when he called on the ILP in ghe 1930's to support Labour and not the CP, working class parties can only enter into such a United Front if hey have earned the right to do so, and that requires winning the support of the masses first. If the ILP in the 30's didn't meet that criteria, then the AWL certainly do not today.

To simon, clearly standing candidates against Labour DOES detract from Labour candidates winning. It is a rather strange argument to raise, as the AWL, do that its okay, because we know we will get a derisory vote! In that case they should make sure that their vote really is derisory, and does not hreaten Labour candidates, by putting on their liteature, "Vote For Us, but Not Too many of you, please", or better still "Don't Vote For Us."

but, in that case there is little point actually standing a candidate in the first place. A better solution would have been to organise a Socialist Campaign For A labour victory as I prposed last September, which could have called for a Labour Vote, but left socialists inside and out of he LP to call for that on the basis of fighting for socialist policies around which workers could be mobilised before and after the election, and which could form the basis of rebuilding and renewing the Labour Movement as a whole. Staning candidates against Labour is divisive of such a strategy, and an irrelevant diversion.

skidmarx said...

The WRP candidate list.
I'd forgotten how exclamatory their headlines are.

I'd have been very surprised this time last year if Respect did come away with anything from this election. Maybe the expenses scandal has improved their chances, but their inability to even recognise any setbacks means therir self-assesment of their chances is beyond suspect. The belief that Salma and George are universally lauded obscures the community basis of their support, last time round the Iraq war helped to extend that support to traditional left voters, this time, and with the expulsion of the SWP there are reasons for seeing their forward march unextendable.
Still this means that they will almost certainly get higher votes than the actual far left, and the better they do the more their success will be used to try and browbeat the far left into trailing them.
Maybe the unity of TUSC will help to build a platform for the future, but with thirty years of decliningleft and trade union activity as a backdrop, it will take more than a few speeches to win a significant share of the "don't cares" who seem to be the largest demographic of those nauseated by establishment politics.

Phil said...

Thanks for digging that out, Skidders. Unfortunately that's their candidate list for 2005, so we're still stuck at one. It just shows what a dozy and unserious outfit they are to not have a candidate list up on their website this close to the general election.

Nice choice of words describing what happened in the split between the SWP and Respect ;) I think Salma will probably win (as I said at the start of this year). Godsiff's desperate campaigning tactics have backfired so badly that local Labour members are finding other people to campaign for. I think Galloway might just edge it in Poplar. As for Bethnal Green and Bow, I really don't know.

andybentley3 said...

Above Phil says, “shortly before I left the SP the branch was very clear that it was standing for one reason only: to recruit.”


Sweeping generalisations like this do little to raise the understanding of anyone fighting for socialist change. This is particularly the case when they are based on incorrect facts.

Phil sat in numerous Stoke Socialist Party branch meetings since September 2009 where detailed discussions took place about the reasons for standing a candidate in Stoke Central. Not once have we ever had the position that the branch, “was standing for one reason only: to recruit.”

Of course like any serious organisation Stoke Socialist Party want to convince people to join our party and that is an important part of our election campaign. But there is a far more important reason as well which is based on an analysis of the political situation, the transformation of the Labour Party into an open representative of capitalism and therefore the need to build a new party to represent ordinary working class people.

For the SP, standing candidates as part of TUSC is therefore an important step in this process. During the discussions at Stoke Branch meetings this factor was explained and stressed on numerous occasions.

Another important feature of our discussions was the need to provide an electoral opposition to the divisive poison of the far right, racist BNP. The policies of the SP and TUSC which attempt to deal with the root causes of racism shine like a beacon amid the moralising attitude of all the other candidates in Stoke Central.

Therefore, to say that Stoke SP are “standing for one reason only: to recruit” is at worst incorrect and at best a very superficial view.

Jim Jepps said...

I was wrong - there is a far left candidate in Brighton Pavillion. Ian Fyvie standing for the Socialist Labour Party

Jim Jepps said...

Oh - and Ian Page in Lewisham Dept. is standing as Socialist Alternative, not TUSC

Phil said...

You're right Andy, I was being flippant and apologise for simplifying the discussions that were had at the time. For anyone who's interested a report of the branch meeting where it was decided to stand a candidate can be found here.

Jim, what's your source re: the SLP? Still nothing on the website, the BBC or wikipedia. It's ridiculous trainspotters and interested punters have to do detective work to track down its candidates.

Re: Ian Page, he's certainly listed as the TUSC candidate on the website. But the confusion doesn't surprise me - on Martin Booth's (Cambridge) website you'd be hard pressed to find a TUSC reference, despite being its candidate. Likewise with a leaflet I saw from Judy Griffiths in Coventry South yesterday - the Socialist Alternative logo is far more noticeable and prominent than the TUSC one.

While we're on the subject of TUSC, can I reasonably stake claim to being the first to predict the exclusion of the cpgbs? It's all here.

Phil said...

Cheers Jim for the SLP tip. It has finally been confirmed. I see a strong challenge is in the offing from the mighty 'Citizens for Undead Rights and Equality' party.

skidmarx said...

Phil - my mistake for not reading the date at the bottom.
What are your reasons for expecting success for Respect, other than the alleged desertion of Godsiff's campaigners(I would have thought with the surge for the Lib Dems, they would be the more likely challenger)?
I was using "expulsion" in a borad definition.

Neil said...

If anyone is interested here is a PDF of a pamphlet the SP is putting out in Lewisham putting forward our record for the last 4 years and how we voted on the council versus the record of the Lib Dems, Tories, Labour and the Greens.

http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/txt/132.pdf

Jim Jepps said...

Most local gov sites now list the Parliamentary candidates in their areas so you can check directly for areas where you think there may be a candidate of interest.

Ian Page will have 'Socialist Alternative' on the ballot paper not TUSC (although I'm sure he's a supporter) in fact I'm not sure how many, if any, of these candidates are actually standing *as* TUSC at all... would be interesting to know but it's a bit too much leg work for me at the mo.

Phil said...

Hmm, that is a bit naughty. Kinda makes a mockery of the idea of a coalition.

Simon_Hardy said...

Just on the WP candidate in Vauxhall. I think it is wrong to see it simply as two socialists standing against each other - the crucial difference is between a socialist organisation, no matter your criticisms, which can connect the election to the war, the financial crisis, the bank bail outs, the problem of housing and the case for a new party, and a candidate who simply talks about socialism.

The difference was clearly shown in a Lambeth Stop the War hustings earlier this week where Jeremy Drinkall made plenty of points about the current political struggles and campaigns happening and what kind of policies a working class candidate needed to fight for. The SPGB candidate just kept saying "the problem is capitalism, we need socialism". At one point all the candidate were asked to support a solidarity campaign for a man imprisoned in Guantanemo Bay, the SPGB candidate just replied that there was no point with such campaigns as long as there is capitalism.

Say what you will but the choice is between a utopian soap box socialist who was happy to spend 3 minutes of his speaking time reading out Socialist Standard from 1914 and a candidate with policies and a campaigning profile in the constituency.

Anonymous said...

Hi Phil. On a point of clarification. The reason that Dave Nellist, Nicky Downes and Judy Griffiths are standing as Socialist Alternative is because the SP is standing under that name across all 18 council wards in the local elections on the same day, the reason for this is we already have two councillors, Dave and Rob Windsor who sit as Socialist Alternative councillors in the city. Rob is up for re-election this year. It would be potentially very confusing to stand candidates under two separate identities in elections taking place on the same day, especially as defending Rob's seat is the primary goal. I can't speak for comrades in Lewisham but I suspect a similarly practical reasoning there.

The SP fully supports TUSC and its candidates, Dave Nellist has been travelling the length and breadth of the UK for the last month or trying his best to promote it!

Anonymous said...

I was at the Vauxhall Stop the War Hustings. To be honest Drinkall of the Anticapitalists which is Workers Power won hands down. The candidates were asked about palestine and the SPGB guy said the Palestinians should give up. What a wanchor. Green guy was ok actually but as Drinkall said hes in the wrong party. Drinkall's summing up was good it's here: http://audioboo. fm/boos/118322- votedrinkall- concludes- lambeth-stop- the-war-husting

Phil said...

Re: SocAlt & TUSC, that's fair enough. But will others who are involved be so magnanimous?

Liamm said...

The RMT have announced they'll be standing sacked Jarvis Worker and RMT Branch Secretary Bill Rawcliffe as a TUSC candidate in Doncaster North against Ed Miliband.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/election_2010/england/8626971.stm

http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=20888

Anonymous said...

http://www.directdemocracy4u.org/DDDEN/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=40&Itemid=58

You misssed this one standing in
Hackney

They seem to be in love with Stalin who was well known for his love of direct democracy or was it direct to the gulags?

Phil said...

Never heard of them, but the more the merrier!

Thanks for the tips comrades.

Callum said...

First of all, it strikes me that while the votes for individual candidates are small, all the votes aggregated will form a substantial number in the tens or hundred of thousands. Given the ideological and political conditions, we have to assume that the people voting for left candidates form a potential base for mass socialist politics.

Secondly, there must be thousands of candidates standing for pro-Capital, pro-Cuts parties (Tories, Labour, Lib-Dem, UKIP, BNP etc), so it seems slightly unfair to mention "fratricide" only amongst opponents of Capital and not amongst its supporters.

I mean, by rights, Labour, Tory, Lib Dem, UKIP and the BNP should just amalgamate and let the individuals elected implement the agenda they all agree upon (with differences negotiated around the extent of cuts, the immigrant-bashing etc.).

Anonymous said...

I was also at that Vauxhall (actually Lambeth) Stop the War hustings but I came away with a different impression. First, what Jeremy Drinkall said. He defended Iran developing nuclear weapons (something to do with it being an anti-imperialist state). Second, what he didn't say. That he was urging voters in the other two Lambeth constituencies (Streatham and Dulwich & West Norwood) to Vote Labour rather than for other anti-war candidates (as represented, for instance, by the Greens). The Labour candidate in Dulwich & West Norwood is Tessa Jowell who voted for the Iraq war, but he wants (but didn't say) people to vote for her. I might be wrong about Streatham since the WRP is standing there and I don't know if Drinkall's group is calling for a WRP rather than a Labour vote. Perhaps someone here can clarify this.

EddM said...

Here in Cambridge Martin will have "Cambridge Socialists" on the ballot, because it was an already existing local group which then applied to stand as part of TUSC. I don't think there's anything at all wrong with TUSC-affiliated candidates using different descriptions at this early stage. Especially in areas where they're already well known under an existing name. (Except maybe it would be more aesthetically pleasing to see everyone with the same name.)

Anonymous said...

Hi, not that it really matters but in Edinburgh East Sheila Gilmore is the Scottish Labour Party candidate - unless that is SocialistLP have managed to get someone with the same name as New Labour's ex-councillor who tried unsuccessfully to sell off Edinburgh's housing stock. Would be entertaining if they had!

Phil said...

Well spotted. The SLP are standing just five candidates in Scotland.

danny said...

You see what you want to see and you hear what you want hear. The reason I read out The Socialist Party's 1914 EC statement on "The war to end all war", was to take the opportunity to put the Socialist case against all war, What's unreported on this blog is that at the end of the statement I said "Same reasons for carnge , different century".
As for the Guantanamo prisoner, I have every sympathy with him, it's an outrage, but while we run around like blue arsed flies campaigning for the release of this one and that one of capitalism's victims, hundreds of thousands like them are and will be imprisoned and brutalised. If you have a problem be forensic go to the root. that is if you are serious about finding a solution, it's what the SPGB has always held.
A for the question of Palestine, I don't know about you but I recoil in horror when I see children, women,men mutilated by high explosive no matter what side they are supposed to be on.
What are the Palestinians fighting for? I've heard it's for their own state, well if that's the case they have no idea what they're fighting for, someone should tell them what all states are. The state is the monopoly of violence the public power of coercion and is is only necessary in a class divided society. If they do succeed they'll have fought and died just to be exploited, coerced and oppressed by a Palestinian ruling class rather than an Israeli ruling class.
Our advice is to campaign peacefully, if they do the will have an infinitely more powerful weapon than a home made rocket or a thrown stone at their disposal, they will have the power of international public opinion with them, a power they forfeit when they turn to violence.

Dan Lambert
The Socialist Party candidate Vauxhall

Anonymous said...

But they're not well known in Cambridge under the Cambridge Socialists banner. That only existed months before the launch of TUSC and hadn't done any activity in the city.

I am still bemused as to why they are standing. The Labour candidate is pretty ok, a trade unionist, anti Iraq war - although admittedly shaky on Afghanistan, thinks we shouldn't have been there but doesn't think we should cut and run as far as I can see. He has supported striking post workers and been on demo's against council cuts.

The Lib-Dems have a majority of around 4,000 but the MP David Howarth is retiring. They won as the previous Labour MP voted in favour of tuition fees, not a sensible move in a university town like Cambridge! Labour have a real chance of winning in Cambridge whereas TUSC will be on the road to lost deposits. Previous left challenges from SA and Respect have fared poorly, so don't understand the logic here.

There is also a strong Green candidate in Tony Juniper. All this combined makes the TUSC candidature seem like nothing more thank sectarian folly that we can ill afford.

Anonymous said...

Does the Steve Freeman standing against LibDem MP Simon Hughes in Bermondsey with "no description" count? The name rings a bell.

Kaze no Kae said...

It's interesting that Green Left candidates have been excluded from this list, without the exclusion even being acknowledged

Phil said...

Green left candidates aren't included because they're not part of the far left, at least under the definition I use. Their vote will be of a different character to most of the organisations listed here and therefore should be considered separately in the same way the LRC has been. If you have a list of Green left candidates point me in their direction and I might post them up.

Re: Anon, Steve Freeman rings more than a few bells. I'll add him to the list. I do think it's a bit strange he hasn't been TUSC endorsed. Yes, he does go on and on about republicanism (which isn't surprising considering most of the left aren't exactly vocal in their opposition to the monarchy), but he's not completely nutty like many of the ultra-lefts he hangs round with.

Phil said...

Regarding Val Wise, damn and blast. Half the gains of RESPECT continue to be p^Hfrittered away.

Regarding the many faces of Rob Hawkins, I'm not sure it would have been a scoop anyway - unless electoral law's been changed relatively recently you can stand in as many seats as you like, subject to stumping up the nominations and the deposits.

And speaking of socialist independents, what about this guy:

http://tonyclarkeindependent.blogspot.com/2010/04/general-election-2010-introduction.html

Phil said...

Tony Clarke looks good for inclusion - he's in. Cheers for that Phil.

*Now* we have the definitive list, at least as far as the organised far left are concerned. Any other left independents will be gratefully received!

Andrew said...

Roger Nettleship of the RCPB (M-L) is standing again in South Shields as 'Fight for an Anti-War Government'

Yvonne Hossack in Stockton South was accepted as 'Left' by Socialist Unity when she stood in Bury(?) in 2001.

What about anti-Taffia candidates in the Valleys. Fred Wildgust in Torfaen calls himself 'socialist'. Dai Davies in Blaenau Gwent and Dave Rees in Islwyn are less clear

Peter Nielsen in Worcester describes himself as socialist

Sheik Thompson in Tottenham seems to be running on an 'Old Labour' line

Mark Harrop in Wakefield stands on a 'Freedom, Peace & Progress' line and links to the Spiked website. But whether those ex-RCP guys are 'left' is a delicate question

Gareth Allen in Pontefract identifies his political hero as Tony Benn - would that do?

Phil said...

They're in! Cheers.

Anonymous said...

I knew Steve Freeman a little in the early 90s, he was very very nutty indeed. He'd been booted from the SWP some years before and formed the RDG which consisted solely of him. RDG activities consisted of loitering outside large SWP gatherings with his little newsletter, which was an amusing read as it only talked about the SWP and Steve was convinced he was leader of an entryist group inside the SWP. Steve was a nice enough man, completely hat-stand but harmless. It's nice to see he's still around.

Jim Jepps said...

I know Steve reasonably well - he's not nutty at all.

His politics are very focused on republicanism and, I think, he's got himself in a rut with tiny grouplets rather than broader, more interesting politics, but it's totally unfair to say he's mad.

If anyone has a conversation with him they'll find a reasonable, non-dogmatic socialist who spends too much time in groupescules. He was, of course, terribly smeared on a personal level by the SWP, but that's par for the course.

Andrew said...

How could I have missed this one

Derek Jackson of the Landless Peasant Party is the only left-wing candidate standing in Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath.

Judging by his leaflet John Chapman in Holborn & St Pancras is pretty left-wing but I don't think he mentions socialism (rather like the Labour Party).