Wednesday, 11 June 2008

The Challenges of next summer

Over the weekend, there seemed to be part campaigning, part attending a Searchlight seminar in London. After putting out the best part of 2000 Labour leaflets in Kings Heath with colleagues from Northampton South CLP and a neighbouring one, it was a bit strange going to the Searchlight seminar.

When it comes to anti-fascist campaigning, for quite some time it has seemed to me that there are those people who go to meetings and talk about anti-fascist campaigning and those people that do it. For those people that go and talk about it, it does seem to be significant time and effort in discussing why we are where we are.

For those of us involved in local anti-fascist work, often it feels quite a lonely place to be, with fairly minimal support nationally and people often looking for someone to blame when things go wrong and people wanting to take the credit when things go right.

Next summer with County and Euro-elections with a guaranteed BNP presence in both, a group of us are trying to pull together a meeting on our approach to this. Up to date our activity has been very localised, however the euro-elections present us with a far different challenge. With the last combined UKIP and BNP vote at the last Euros of 26% and the BNP polling in the mid-20ies to 30%, it's a factor that needs to be treated even more seriously than before.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Ashes to ashes ... and ambition

It's been a hectic time with those younger around me going through exam season.

Over the last few days I've heard of the death of Steve Winder. I worked closely with Steve until he left for the Liberal Democrats, but did come into contact with him as a Director of the organisation I work for. Steve worked hard and didn't take a break. Although he had aspirations (to fight for his community, to fight crime in his area, to become a Councillor) sometimes he was far to accepting of poor treatment he received. In a variety of political enviroments he was just far too accepting not having a position as "one of the favoured few". It always confused me when he clearly had the right skills to challenge - consistency and persistence. This seemed to happen which ever political party he found himself in. In the Labour Party, I and others tried to make it as inclusive as possible ... not quite sure who did in the Liberal Democrats.

His close friend Chris Swinn called me to check that I had details of the funeral and then spent the time asking if I was standing for the County elections. I told him that at this stage I wasn't sure. He then talked about the scenario if I stood for the Northampton South parliamentary seat. It seemed like a big jump from being uncertain about standing for the County Council and I told him so. "Well", he said, "you're ambitious ... and you're missed". I did quiz him a little more about what he meant but it was hard to uncover.