:: Sunday, May 08, 2005 ::

All your base are belong to us

British General Election - Breakthrough for RESPECT

The RESPECT result was an impressive victory for the anti-war movement in Britain and a severe lesson to New Labour about what happens when you take your base for granted. The big question raised by Alan Thornett in the brief report above is how RESPECT will develop now. Like it or not, RESPECT is a political party now, and will not be seen as a coalition by those who voted for it. It represents a chance to build a new party to the left of Labour in England. That is a big challenge and will involve creating structures that will engage all of the, sometimes diverse, elements involved. It also has some power and the potential for more at next years council elections. That will attract a certain type. Structures to ensure accountability and closeness to the grassroots are essential. Big challenges which will require a bold approach.

:: Alister | 12:30 pm | save this page to del.icio.us Save This Page | permalink⊕ | |


As they say in Yankland, the math don't add up here, Alister.
You report below on a disappointing election for the SSP (a relatively young party), which saw its vote slashed from over 3% to under 2%. But here you suggest that Respect won a major breakthrough. But this "breakthrough" saw them win a derisory 0.3% of votes (less than half of what the BNP won, by the way). And this after they targeted particular constituencies and during an election campaign in which one issue dominated - and that being the one issue that Respect campaigned on. So...1.9% bad, but 0.3% brilliant. Sorry, but I don't get it!

By Blogger Reidski, at 6:29 pm  

I'm tempted to try to take comfort from the figures you give. But sadly, the % you quote for the SSP is just for Scotland. For the whole UK we were on 0.2% (of course we only stood in Scotland), whilst the figures you give for Respect are for the whole UK. You are quite right that they targeted certain constituencies, and did so very successfully. And they won a seat which makes a big difference and will give them real credibility amongst a section of society. My point in the post is that this also represents a qualitative change for Respect, they have been promoted if you like and will have to decide whether to keep Respect as a coalition/front or develop it into a real party. Now I have real differences with the policies of Galloway and some aspects of the SWP and their methods. But a new and more open party would be a step forward for the left in England. I suspect we will have to agree to differ over this.

By Blogger Alister, at 10:34 am  

It was a good result for Respect in the areas of London they stood in with a high Muslim population. And well done to them there. But outside those 5 or 6 constituencies in London they made little if any impact.

Whether Respect will broaden out in the way Ally and I hope for, or whether it will be cynically used as a disposable vehicle to boost the profile of both GG and the SWP remains to be seen.

By Blogger Kevin Williamson, at 1:51 pm  

It's rather sad to think that elements of what is regarded as "the left" target areas just because there is a high muslim voting population therein. I may be middle-aged and naive, but what happened to class and economics?

By Blogger Reidski, at 11:17 pm  

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