An assessment of the Respect conference By Alan Thornett

29 November, 2009 — Socialist Resistance

[By way of an intro to this piece I have to say that the goings-on at the Respect conference demonstrates the disastrous and depressing state of the ‘left’ in the UK today. The Ed]

The Respect conference could have been a very positive event. It was attended by over 200 members and was located in Salma Yaqoob’s constituency of Sparkbrook and Small Heath in Birmingham where she won 27% of the vote in the last general election and where she stands a very good chance of winning in the next general election.Unfortunately rather than providing an upbeat launch for the Respect election campaign it was overshadowed by an intolerant attack on a minority current and a challenge to the long established policy of Respect to work towards a broader coalition of the left to tackle the crisis of working class representation. The result was a potential setback for Respect just at a time when it was starting to recruit more members and consolidate its functioning after the split with the SWP.

This attack on broader coalitions is completely out of kilter with the needs of the political situation. We are facing the most important and dangerous general election for a generation, and we cannot approach it just through the prism of getting Respect candidates elected — important as that is. The left, and Respect as a part of it, has a responsibility to provide an alternative to the widest possible spectrum of the electorate as is possible — difficult as this may have repeatedly proved to be in the recent past.

Continue reading

Negative spacemen By Alan Simpson MP

30 October, 2009 — The Morning Star Online

Sometimes in politics what is absent is more revealing than what is present

Negative space is a concept that artists are more familiar with than either politicians or the BBC. This is the space between objects that helps to define the objects themselves. Often what is absent is far more intriguing and revealing that what is present.

This is the notion that has stayed with me long after the BBC’s inclusion of British National Party leader Nick Griffin on its Question Time panel.

The law and not the BBC will ultimately decide whether the BNP is a legitimate political party or not.

The recent court ruling that its constitution is racist will test whether the party’s desire for a platform will override its more visceral appeal to ignorance and prejudice.

What the BBC decided, however, was that the BNP was both legitimate and significant.

Continue reading

Video: Nick Griffin: Not in my name

Nick Griffin and Andrew Brons of the British National Party will be taking their seats in the European Parliament tomorrow – but they are not there in our name. I’ll be going there as well, to hand in our petition – and I want your name on it.