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Ealing and Northfield

SWP on the march

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 shouldn’t be there. As a 25 year Ealing resident and someone who has worked hard on the cross-party hospitals campaign I didn’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 didn’t say anything about the NHS reconfiguration but asked “Why you should be a Socialist!” and promoted a public meeting on that subject at the West London Trade Union Club on Thursday.

I don’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 “Health cuts no way, Make the greedy bankers pay” 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 didn’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 can’t see what they achieve by this. I guess they feel they can hijack Ealing people’s concern for their local services as part of their revolution. The other thing that strikes me is why are three of Ealing’s leading elected Labour politicians so relaxed about being haloed by this irrelevant, extremist tosh?

4 replies on “SWP on the march”

Phil

I overheard one of them say to some poor soul who bought one of their newspapers, “what we are trying to do is overthrow this government, and take power for ourselves”.

The stupidity of it all. They really believe that would be a legitimate goal and the electorate can go to hell.

I wasn’t keen on the somewhat ‘pushy’ approach taken by some of the socialists either but if you believe in free speech you have to tolerate others who have a different view of the world to yours. I tolerate you Tories for example – but I wouldn’t wouldn’t blog that you are all barking. I tolerate people with many different religious views to mine as well.

Capitalism may be the least worst way of running western nation states but it is faltering now all over the place so stones and glass houses come to mind.

And BTW the socialists were one of the main orgaising bodies of the largest march and rally most people have ever seen in Ealing.

As for Colm, at least the socialists aren’t totally fixated and obsessed with Ealing Labour Party’s failure to organise rubbish collection and recycling properly

Eric,

It was nice to have the chance to say hello to you on Saturday. I didn’t feel merely tolerated at all.

You are quite aware I am sure that the SWP call themselves revolutionary socialists. I can deal with the typically pleasant, on the the whole gentle people, who call themselves socialists and populate large parts of the Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green parties. The SWP are something else. They are a small clique who work very hard to amplify their voice (literally often) beyond their tiny numbers in order to force an outcome that 99.9% of the population of this country do not want.

Our current economy is more than half state and less than half free enterprise, and has been for some time, so socialists who argue that capitalism is failing are quite hard to take seriously, especially in the context of the million or so extra jobs in the private sector generated over the past few years.

The Tories have played a central role in the NHS campaign. We have majored on giving people the tools to engage with the consultation which is the surest way of changing things. This may not be quite as high profile as all of the marchey, shoutey stuff but it may well be more effective. We don’t really do marchey, shoutey. It has never been our style. But did you notice the Conservative team of 40 people giving out 600 copies of the consultation? Encouraging and guiding people in how to say no to all three of NHS NWL’s bad options for Ealing.

As for Colm, his fixation is totally on the money.

I am not loyal to any one party (in fact have voted for each of the three main ones at some point since 2005 when I was first old enough to vote – mixed up perhaps, vote on different issues in different elections I think) and am most certainly not impressed by the government we have now. However credit has to be given to a number of people involved in the campaign against the NWL hospital proposals. From what I can see, Ealing Tories have been very involved in the campaign, as has Ealing Central & Acton’s MP Angie Bray, and my council Hammersmith & Fulham has been I would say probably leading the campaign on the hospital closures, a Tory council.

Well done to anyone involved in organising the campaign/s in West/North West London about this, but it’s not a platform to promote any one party, be that Conservative, Labour or SWP, no matter who any individual may believe is ultimately responsible for what NHS NWL is proposing.

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