:: Friday, September 10, 2004 ::

Millwall (no one likes us we don't care)

RESPECT have come a good second in a council by-election in Millwall. The interesting thing is that I hear it is a largely white area in the Isle of Dogs, where the BNP had a councillor at one time. The tories won (their first councillor in the area) and labour came third. Labour should think hard about where their following of Bush has left them. This is the kind of result that Respect need to break through to a wider audience. The challenge now is to build on this organisationally.

Simon Paul Rouse – The Conservative Party Candidate 828
Paul Robert Louis McGarr – Respect – The Unity Coalition 635
John Christian Cray – The Labour Party Candidate 571
Andrew Peter Sweeney – Independent 195
Barry Alfred Blandford – Liberal Democrats (Focus Team) 150

As an aside, I've been reading Alan Moore's From Hell, whose ruling class masonic Ripper, Sir William Gull, was none too impressed with either the Isle of Dogs or the forces of progress gathering strength in Victorian Britain.

The Isle of Dogs is just ahead. It has a feral ring, this isle of dog-eat-dog, where once they kept the Royal hunting beasts. Ha ha! Like us, eh, Netley? Just like us. Hawksmoor's St. Anne's stands in its jaws, its magic lines engraved on human consciousness and thus upon society. Sometimes an act of social magic's necessary; man's triumph over woman's insecure, the dust of history not yet settled. Changing times erase the pattern that constrains society's irrational, female side. Our workers, lately given votes, now talk of socialism, talk of rights, riot in Trafalgar Square and won't quit 'til they are shot, whereon their fury doubles! King Mob's clamour drowns our Apollonian debates. Reason's besieged: For all our science we are become an age of table rappers, tealeaf readers and theosophists

:: Alister | 10:32 am | save this page to del.icio.us Save This Page | permalink⊕ | |


Millwall is largely white, though with a significant minority of non-white residents. The Tories got their vote from the yuppie developments along the Thames - many of these places go for upwards of £1m, and you'd be hard-pushed to find even a small flat for less than £800,000 - whilst the Respect and Labour votes came from the estates some distance from the river. Respect's vote is much improved on its Euro election result (from fourth in the ward to second), and I reckon with a bit more time to organise there, we could have clinched it. Still, there's a good layer of people from across the ward who've got involved, and functioning ward organisation is starting to come together. (I was brief, and slightly flippant about the result over here.)

(Gareth Stedman Jones' Outcast London is extremely good on late Victorian ruling class perceptions of the East End, by the way.)

By Blogger Meaders, at 12:33 pm  

Moore also recommended 'London Labour and the London Poor' a series of reports from Morning Chronicle journalist Henry Mayhew, in which "Dickens is shown to be no exaggerator of life on the breadline in the middle of the nineteenth century."


By Blogger Alister, at 10:05 am  

I don't particularly give a flying feck where Respect came in this by-election, but what I do care about is the fact that a borough which was previouly free of Tory councillors since 1964 now has one.
So please tell me why this result (i.e. the Tories winning) is a good thing and,come to think of it, why someone who lives 500 miles away and in a different country has an an opinion about a little tiny council ward election?
Are you a saddoe of the highest degree or are really so obsessed about the parliamentary/council/assembly road to socialism?
And, anyway, shouldn't you be changing nappies and stuff rather than slavvering over by-election results from another country?

By Blogger Reidski, at 12:04 am  

Whenever you stand against the labour party you run the risk of splitting the vote and letting another party in. That's democracy. Labour should ask themselves why 635 voters couldn't bring themselves to vote for them.
I like to stick my nose in to all sorts of countries.
And of course I'm a saddoe, I have a blog...just like you! ; )

By Blogger Alister, at 10:00 am  

You avoid the point I made in my drunken state last night and that is: why is the fact that the Tories now have a councillor in a borough where they didn't have one since before local government reorganisation in 1964 a positive thing?
I'm not so sure that I would describe Millwall as a largely white area - I used to cycle through the area every day to and from work and, from what I could observe, it's a multiracial area, although the riverside apartments that make up only a small part of the ward will, no doubt, not be so multiracial.
And, yes, I take the counter-charge of also being a saddoe smack on the chin, by the way.

By Blogger Reidski, at 4:28 pm  

Of course I defer to local knowledge on the ethnic makeup of the ward but that kind of info is available.

According to the national census for 2001 exactly two thirds of residents are white. A much bigger percentage than the rest of Tower Hamlets.

The tories winning isn't good. But it is a direct consequence of what New Labour has become. Most however agree on the question of where the tory vote came from. This for example is from a local Labour supporter:

"The Tories: Because of the time lag between blocks being built, then inhabited, then residents going on the register, there are lots more Tories on the register now (September 2004) than there were in May 2002. Further, the Tories have been working these areas hard. They've signed up lots of ermine from the £1million+ apartments round Canary Wharf as postal votes. They got about 750 votes on 10th June. They had little support from working class areas, save where they pandered to racism/anti-social behaviour fears of Old White Right to Buy residents in houses."I think the result may be significant if it points to Respect breaking out of the 'muslim anti-war vote' and getting a wider hearing. That is a pre-condition for building a much more serious political party of the left. The SSP has taken the approach that, while it is up to socialists in England to decide for themselves what to do, we support any moves towards building a bigger more serious party of the left. Whatever you think of Respect, and I am not a member of the SWP fan club by any stretch of the imagination, it will have to be a part of that process. And that's why I thought the result worth mentioning.

By Blogger Alister, at 5:10 pm  

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