Christine Blower

A London Socialist Alliance candidate for the Greater London Assembly defends her organisation against criticisms made by David Aaronovitch
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The Independent Online

The disillusionment with New Labour expected by many of us on the left is indeed, as David Aaronovitch puts it, "going like a dream". This is not because we wish it or want it to happen this way but because New Labour's policies are so right-wing that the majority of working-class opinion now stands to the left of the Government on, among other things, the NHS, education funding and privatisation.

The London Socialist Alliance (LSA) was formed to prevent disillusionment with Labour giving a new birth to the far right as it did in the 1970s. David Aaronovitch has himself expressed disgust at New Labour's scapegoating of asylum-seekers. Others who feel likewise have drawn the conclusion that they should vote for an anti-racist alternative such as the LSA.

Mr Aaronovitch protests that the LSA was formed by leftist groups, which is odd since, right back to his own days in the Communist Party, the common complaint was that the left could not unite.

But the LSA is more than a far-left alliance. A former Labour councillor and a tenants' activist are our candidates in Havering and Redbridge and Bromley and Bexley. I am (not at all "bizarrely") a member of the executive of the National Union of Teachers, but not a member of any other political organisation.

Others who have supported of the LSA include the sports writer Mike Marqusee and other Labour activists such as Piers Corbyn, the former campaign organiser for the North Bermondsey and Southwark party.

Mr Aaronovitch, like many New Labour supporters, cannot leave the mind-set of Thatcherism behind. Socialism is no longer an unpopular idea in working-class communities; it is, as the new century opens, the wave of the future.