It was late on Wednesday evening, that I decided to take a giant step forward and resolved to stand as an ‘Independent Socialist’ candidate in next year's local elections being held here in Newham.
To be truthful I've considered this prospect a few times before, but always deciding against the idea in the end; however this time things are much different and I feel very strongly that a true and committed socialist’ ought to step up to the line and stand on a No Cuts, No Tory, No Labour anti-austerity platform.
The ward that I will stand in is my home ward of Canning Town North, a stronghold of the Labour Party, as indeed is Newham Council which is run by Sir Robin Wales and 60 Labour Councillors, no opposition.
So what we have here is a full council all the seats are held by Labour, the last council before this did have a small opposition of Respect and a Christian right wing party which held all three seats in my neighbouring word in Canning Town South but Labour defeated them at the last local elections four years ago.
More about Sir Robin and Labour domination in the future, for this post I think a bit more information would be helpful to the reader and I will keep all informed to both progress and campaign development as I move on with it, and I would indeed appreciate feedback and comments as well as any good sound advice.
The London Borough of Newham is situated just 5 miles east of the City of London. We were the host borough for the 2012 Olympics. One of the nice things that I like about Newham is its multicultural diversity, the borough has one of the highest ethnic minority populations in the country, with no one particular ethnic group dominating.
Newham has the youngest overall population and one of the lowest White British population in the county and according to the 2011 Census, we have the second highest percentage of Muslims in Britain.
To Canning Town then, which is located in the area of the old former London docks, which is on the north side of the Thames, its famous Rathbone Market now gone (recently) has made way for a block of luxury flats, starting price in the £ 200,000 region and sits pretty and truly beautiful to the rich and much better off in our society, but ironically opposite a hostel for the homeless, more about that hostel in later postings. So despite all the Dockland developments, Canning Town remains among the 5 per cent most deprived areas in the UK with local people suffering from poor health, low educational attainment and drenched in poverty.
We are currently undergoing regeneration, a programme instigated by the council and I will argue as I had in the past on this blog that feeds into the gentrification of London and the onward march of the rich into areas of the working class. This £3.7 billion project aims and so the council claims to create thousands of new jobs two new improved town centres, I must add at a time when the high street is being deserted by retail. As for the creation of employment, as of yet; I've not seen any tangible evidence that this has been the case with construction labour particularly concerning as we suffer the effects of high unemployment.
In the past people used to call themselves Towners, a term not heard-of much these day’s, I suppose fashions come and go but one thing has stayed the same, and that's the inequality and deprivation of the poor in our inner cities such as it is in Canning Town.
It is because of this and the environment of austerity, that it seems the right thing to do, standing as an ‘Independent Socialist’ in next May’s elections. I'm under no illusions as to what this entails in an area that still weighs-in the Labour vote, but a line must be drawn in the sand, the socialist case against cuts to services must be put, and my intention god willing is to do just that.
So with much to think through in terms of tactics, strategy and profile I'm going to leave this post here for now but rest assured I intend to share all my strategies plans and thoughts on this blog which will be used as an essential tool in my forthcoming campaign, hope you all continue to follow my progress and onward movement.