Four times on Saturday at the NHS rally on Ealing Common I was confronted by aggressive young men in their late twenties to mid-thirties who felt that as a Tory I shouldnâ€™t be there. As a 25 year Ealing resident and someone who has worked hard on the cross-party hospitals campaign I didnâ€™t like it very much.
They were all members or fellow travellers of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP). These people are aggressive, unpleasant and quite barking. For instance they say:
Workers create all the wealth under capitalism. A new society can only be constructed when they collectively seize control of that wealth and plan its production and distribution according to need.
They haven’t moved on from 1917. Almost a century of history that proved them to be absolutely wrong has passed them by.
I took a leaflet from one of the SWP crew. It didnâ€™t say anything about the NHS reconfiguration but asked â€œWhy you should be a Socialist!â€ and promoted a public meeting on that subject at the West London Trade Union Club on Thursday.
I donâ€™t understand why the Labour politicians in Ealing are so happy to march under the SWP banner, which they literally did on Saturday for two hours. You can’t imagine how much pushing and shoving it took to keep this group at the front of the march in public view. Do you really imagine that the SWP placards would be in such full view if Ealing Labour was that worried about them?
For the vast majority of Ealing people the march and rally were about protecting local services from a badly thought out reconfiguration – and that is the official position of the council, agreed by all parties. Slogans such as â€œHealth cuts no way, Make the greedy bankers payâ€ rhyme very well but are hardly tailored for Ealing.
You wonder if the bakers dozen of SWP placards you can see in this picture were carried by SWP activists on a day out or local people who didnâ€™t really understand what the SWP stand for.
Two things strike me. Why does the SWP insist on branding these placards like this? Their brand is so poisonous I canâ€™t see what they achieve by this. I guess they feel they can hijack Ealing peopleâ€™s concern for their local services as part of their revolution. The other thing that strikes me is why are three of Ealingâ€™s leading elected Labour politicians so relaxed about being haloed by this irrelevant, extremist tosh?