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Portugal: Socialists, Left Bloc, Communists and Greens to Govern.

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Protestas en Portugal

A Second Carnation Revolution in Portugal?

“This is like the second April 25,” shouted a joyous woman outside the Assembly of the Republic referring to the downfall of the Portuguese dictatorship on that date in 1974. Yesterday afternoon the Portuguese left brought down the conservative government of Passos Coelho. Hundreds of demonstrators called by the CGTP union, with bands and banners, celebrated the historic political shift.

From Greece, Syriza congratulated the new left majority; inside the Parliament,  the possible future finance minister, Mário Centeno, reassured the markets and creditors that they “will comply with the budgetary treaty”. Centeno, educated at Harvard, will have to square accounts with a 20% rise in the minimum wage.

“We have broken the taboo”, “the wall has fallen,” said the leader of the Socialists, António Costa, , in Parliament after the defeat of the conservative government. The agreement uniting the Portuguese Left has lifted a taboo that has existed since the 1975 Carnation Revolution that has  divided the Socialists, the Communists and the radical left.

Adapted from El País

The Spanish daily asserts, however, that the left still differs on economic policy and that the only really solid agreement between these forces is to vote against any motion of censure from the right-wing against the new left government.

The leader of the Left Bloc, Catarina Martins, has stated that the President of the Republic must respect this vote in which 123 left MPs,  outvoted 107 right-wing representatives.

More: Catarina Martins diz que Cavaco tem de respeitar vontade da maioria dos portugueses.

The French daily, Libération, underlines the importance of the President, the right-wing Anibal Cavaco Silva who is at the end of his term of office, in deciding what happens next.

Portugal: un gouvernement de gauche suspendu à l’aval du président

The Financial Review reports on the new left coalition’s programme.

Underpinning Portugal’s new leftist alliance – together the four parties will control 122 seats – is a 138-page document aimed at gradually winding back the austerity measures adopted by the Passos Coelho government in 2011. Back then, the country was on the brink of bankruptcy and required an urgent €78 billion bailout from the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund. In exchange for this funding, the country was forced to implement tough austerity measures, including big wage and pension cuts.

Under the agreement Costa reached with his left-wing allies, there will be an end to the freeze on pensions, a reversal of cuts to public sector salaries and a progressive increase in the monthly minimum wage to €600 ($914) by 2019.

The agreement also scraps plans for the privatisation of public transport in Lisbon and Oporto, and will renegotiate the sale of the struggling, state-owned airline TAP to keep most of the company in government hands.

For their part, the Left Bloc and the Communist Party dropped previous demands that Portugal’s debt be renegotiated.

But to reassure Brussels that the end of these austerity measures will not trigger a budgetary blow-out, Costa has also committed to shaving back Portugal’s budget deficit to 1.5 per cent of GDP by 2019, down from an expected 3 per cent this year.

All the same, investors are worried that Portugal’s economy, which is barely emerging from recession, is not strong enough to support a higher minimum wage.

Portugal is still weighed down by a heavy debt burden (the country’s debt stands at almost 130 per cent of GDP) and the unemployment rate is still a painfully high 12 per cent (and 30 per cent for young people).Investors also fear the incoming centre-left Socialist-led government will be at the mercy of its more radical leftist allies if Portugal’s economy falters, or its borrowing costs rise.

The Finanical Times states,

Portugal’s markets kept their poise on Wednesday after the fall of the country’s centre-right government.

Although the yield on 10-year sovereign debt rose to its highest level since July in early trade as investors cut their exposure, the pattern changed as the trading day developed. In mid-session exchanges, the yield on the benchmark paper, which moves inversely to prices, fell 4 basis points over the day to 2.72 per cent, moving off the earlier high of 2.83 per cent.

Written by Andrew Coates

November 11, 2015 at 1:53 pm

Stop the War Coalition Confusion on ‘Bombing Syria’.

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Yes, but whose Hands?

The official position of the Stop the War Coalition on UK intervention in Syria could not be clearer,

Syria, Labour party policy, and Russian intervention: Stop the War Statement. Stop the War Coalition  (StWC) 30 September 2015.

Stop the War warmly welcomes the Labour conference vote in opposition to British military intervention in Syria.  It shares the view of conference delegates that this would only risk repeating the dreadful consequences of previous such interventions in Iraq and Libya.

We believe that every possible pressure must be put on Labour MPs to support the Party’s position if and when David Cameron decides to bring the issue to the Commons for a vote.  It is vital that the strong lead given by Jeremy Corbyn in favour of peace and in opposition to western interventionism, now endorsed by conference, be supported by all Labour MPs, whether or not there is a ‘free vote’ on the matter.

Just as Stop the War has criticised US bombing, and the possibility of British intervention, in Syria, so too we cannot support Russian military action.  It remains our view, supported by long history and experience, that external interference has no part to play in resolving the problems in Syria or elsewhere in the Middle East.

Only strong, sovereign and representative governments in Syria and Iraq can take the fight to Islamic State and provide a real alternative on the ground to its rule.  External powers should refrain from any direct or indirect military intervention and concentrate instead on assisting a negotiated end to the Syrian civil

They have more recently explained the reasons for this stand,

Syria: Safe Havens and No-Fly Zones

  1. The creation of safe havens or no-fly zones requires the ability to engage in military operations and to take out the enemy’s air defence systems.
  2. Military intervention would risk a military clash with Russia.
  3. Islamic State would not be threatened by a no-fly zone since it lacks an air force. The Assad government and those supporting it can be the only target of such military operations: the goal is regime change.
  4. Previous no-fly zones did not prevent attacks on minorities and endangered populations (e.g. the Iraq government’s attack on the southern March Arabs) but escalated the levels of violence.
  5. The 2011 no-fly zone in Libya helped to create a full-blown war, tens of thousands of casualties, regime change and a collapsed state.
  6. The war in Syria includes a complex combination of actors: the Assad government and Russia, IS, the US and its international and regional allies (including Saudi Arabia, the Free Syrian Army and the local al-Qaeda affiliate, the Nusra Front), as well as Kurdish groups (some of which are being attacked by Turkey).
  7. Instead of getting involved militarily in this dangerous quagmire, Britain can provide much greater help to the people of Syria by seriously focusing on humanitarian aid and on helping to facilitate peace talks.

We must expresses scepticism, bearing in mind all of the complexities in Syria involved – not to mention the re-election of the Islamist AKP party in Turkey that there is any such thing as “non-intervention” in present conditions. These forces are involved. The question is what to do with it.

One issue stands out.

If the US (and not, as Counterfire’s leader John Rees once imaginatively suggested, Venezuela) stopped  arming the Kurdish-led Democratic Forces of Syria (the YPG) – which has not had great success but remains the only barrier to the genocidal intentions of Daesh against the Kurds and their allies – where would that leave them?

But to return to the main point.

Andrew Murray is StWC chair, and a  Communist Party of Britain (CPB) member.

On the 19th of October he expressed this judgement,

The only solution to the dreadful civil war which has laid waste to Syria is a negotiated diplomatic end, says Andrew Murray.

The clear need is not for Britain to jump further into this toxic mix. It is for a negotiated diplomatic end to the dreadful civil war which has laid waste to Syria. Ultimately, only the Syrian people can determine their own future political arrangements.

But the foreign powers could assist by all ending their military interventions, open and clandestine, in Syria – ending the bombing and the arming of one side or another.

They should further promote peace by abandoning all the preconditions laid down for negotiations. Such preconditions only serve to prolong the conflict and to give either government or opposition hope that foreign military and diplomatic support could somehow lead to all-out victory.

On the CPB’s site he has added this, (no date),

Our bipartisan armchair strategists are obviously riled by Russia’s escalating military involvement in Syria.  But it is a fact.  What form of military intervention could now be undertaken which would not lead to a clash with Russia they do not say.  Even the head of MI6 has acknowledged that “no-fly zones” are no longer a possibility, unless the NATO powers are prepared to countenance conflict with Moscow.


This is the CPB’s view, expressed on the 14th of October.

In a statement today Communist Party general secretary Robert Griffiths said:

The Communist Party maintains its opposition to US, NATO and British military intervention in Syria. Whatever the pretext – whether to defeat the barbaric ISIS or to rescue civilian populations – the real aim is clear: to strengthen the anti-Assad terrorist forces (Islamic fundamentalists who have largely displaced the Free Syrian Army ‘moderate opposition’), create areas in which these forces can operate freely (in the guise of ‘no-fly zones’ and ‘safe havens’) and ultimately to partition Syria and replace the Assad regime with a compliant puppet one.

Russian military forces are now attacking all the anti-Assad terrorists, including Isis, at the invitation of the Damascus government – which has every right to issue such an invitation as the internationally recognised political authority in Syria.

  • Is Andrew Murray saying that his comrades should change their opinion that Russia has “every right” to bomb in Syria?
  • Or is he indicating to the StWC that Vladimir Putin is effectively helping their call for the UK not to get involved?

There is also this, adding to the confused fog;

It is the fashion to show deference to Seamus Milne, such is the man’s elevation, beyond the dreams of say, a mere Malcolm Tucker.

But perhaps on the basis of his expertise on Russia, he can inform us of what’s really going on: A real counterweight to US power is a global necessity. 

Iron grip: Jeremy Corbyn's pro-Kremlin aide Seumas Milne pictured shaking hands with the Russian President Vladimir Putin, at a propaganda summit in Sochi last year



Written by Andrew Coates

November 4, 2015 at 1:14 pm

Socialist Action, Shadowy Gurus of the new Labour Leadership – Exposed!

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Labour Briefing AGM circa 1981. Pic: Sunday Telegraph.

Rumbled by the Telegraph and Andrew Gilligan!

For much of Labour’s history, the idea that the party was covertly influenced by revolutionaries, Communists and terrorists was dismissed as a fiction propagated by Right-wing tabloids.

But now it is true.

Very worrying.

Mr Ross, now an economic adviser, was a prominent member of an international Marxist group. In an election speech in 1974, Mr Ross – quoted in a biography of former London mayor Ken Livingstone – said: “The ruling class must know that they will be killed if they do not allow a takeover by the workers. If we aren’t armed there will be a bloodbath.”

The Sunday Telegraph has also uncovered evidence of how other key figures around Mr Corbyn, including his chief of staff, Simon Fletcher, as well as Mr Ross are or were members of a tiny, secretive Trotskyite sect, Socialist Action, which seeks a communist revolution and believes that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a “tragedy for humanity”.

In secret documents (so secret they do not publish them NOTE) seen by this newspaper, Socialist Action calls itself the “revolutionary wing of the Labour Party” and describes how it performed a “clandestine form of entry” to infiltrate the party.

Among groups on the revolutionary Left, Socialist Action is unique in another way. It already has substantial experience of power.


Socialist Action started as an overt organisation fighting elections in its own right, initially known as the International Marxist Group (IMG). Mr Corbyn’s brother, Piers, was a prominent IMG member and fought an election for it in the 1970s.


Modesty prevents us from mentioning another prominent member of the IMG in the 1970s, behind a world-famous Blog.

A main focus of the group’s attention was the monthly news sheet London Labour Briefing, a key instrument of the takeover of the 1980s party in the capital by what became known as the “loony Left”.

Briefing, set up by a separate group of Trotskyites, was strongly influenced (?????)  by Socialist Action. Mr McDonnell and Mr Corbyn, too, were both closely linked to it.

Some might possibly note the word “separate” and quibble about the word Trotskyist,  but, hey, left’s continue the fun!

According to the authoritative Parliamentary Profiles by the late Andrew Roth, Mr Corbyn, a political activist and councillor, was the general secretary of its editorial board. His byline appears frequently from the first issue in 1980 and he usually chaired main fringe meetings of Briefing at events such as the Labour Party conference. According to the March 1983 issue, he ran Briefing’s mailing list.

Mr McDonnell, another bylined writer from the early 1980s, remains a key figure at Briefing, now affiliated with the ultra-Left party pressure group he chairs, the Labour Representation Committee (LRC).

Briefing’s pages seethed with calls for “mass extra-parliamentary action” and it ran hit-lists of “traitor” Labour MPs and councillors to be purged. The group gave 30 pieces of silver – well, “silver milk [bottle] tops” – to former Labour prime minister Jim Callaghan.

A lifestyle section agonised about whether it was “bourgeois” to have children, while municipal tea dances put on by London councils were denounced as “heterosexist” as well as “primarily racist” (because they “reflect comfortable white society”).

Mostly though, Briefing, like Socialist Action, avowed what it called a “British revolution” – its motto was Trotsky’s “Take the Power”.

Yes, we are well and truly rumbled.

Labour Briefing is well-known for its close ties with Socialist Action (note snazzy SA site!).

They share the word “socialism” for a start!

Taking Power?

We should ask politely, if not at all…

But here’s the rub: I can even now recall the warmth with which much-missed Briefing Editorial members, such as Leonora Lloyd  and Mike Marquesse talked about their secret ‘guru’  John Ross.

Briefing, in a coded message to supporters, with due reverence, once published a photo of the Leader under the title, “A rare daylight picture of John Ross”.

Even today the influence of Socialist Action on the Briefing and the LRC is only equalled by the mighty forces of Socialist Fight and the Posadists, not to mention the Brent Soviet.

Andrew Gilligan: Bless!

It’s Boost, Boost for Ipswich as Town named Fifth Lowest in Country on ‘Life-Satisfaction” Index.

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6th of August,

Ipswich is celebrating a real feather in its cap.

It’s today been rated the third happiest place in the country to live.

This was in a survey carried out by the property website ‘Rightmove’.

Picture of typical Ipswich person’s private transport (taken from above link):

Ipswich Marina.

Today (Ipswich Star).

The government’s Office of National Statistics has just published its “wellbeing” index for 2015, showing the responses from 165,000 people across the country.

They were asked to summarise how they felt on four different subjects – and to rate their feelings between one and 10.

When asked: “How satisfied are you with your life generally?” The average in rating in Ipswich was 7.14 out of 10 – the fifth lowest in the UK.

But Ipswich has many excellent amenities (next to town centre): 



Local MP, Lord Mayor of Ipswich, Minister for Ipswich, Editor of the Ipswich Star, and Patron of Lady’s Lane Shrine for Healing the Sick and Poor,  Ben Gummer said he would take the survey with a pinch of salt – especially as it comes out just six weeks after another survey by estate agency Rightmove named Ipswich as the third happiest town in the country.

Mr Gummer added: “I’m certainly trying to do my bit to make the lives of the people of Ipswich more satisfying by working with others to improve the town centre, by keeping up the pressure to improve rail services, and by trying to ensure the Wet Dock crossing is approved.

“But I don’t think anyone should get hung up on this survey!”

Over Stoke Bridge near ‘Planned’ Wet Dock Crossing – convenient for yacht owners:


Mr Gummer is best known nationally for his radical plans to shake up local government,

Ben Gummer, who represents Ipswich, was speaking at a fringe event at the Conservative Party Conference organised by the 2020 group of Tory MPs.

The group sees itself as a factory for radical political ideas.

He suggested shaking up local government so that councillors solely representing local businesses could be elected to town halls.

Mr Gummer acknowledged the idea “had no hope of getting into a manifesto” but pointed to the City of London, as a model for how his idea works in practice.

BBC 2012.

Mr Gummer’s private Transport system (Spotted in Rendelsham Forest).


Written by Andrew Coates

September 24, 2015 at 4:10 pm

Cameron, British PM and Sticking your Knob in a dead Pig’s Mouth.

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Latest: Downing Street stays silent over claims David Cameron put genitals in a dead pig’s mouth while at Oxford University.


Downing Street has refused to comment on extraordinary allegations made in a new book that David Cameron performed an obscene act with a dead pig and smoked cannabis while he was at Oxford University.

The allegation is that,

His extraordinary suggestion is that the future PM inserted a private part of his anatomy into the animal’s mouth.

I must confess a disagreement with our esteemed colleagues of the Independent when they say that the French media has dismissed these claims.

David Cameron accusé d’avoir mis son sexe dans la bouche d’un cochon mort Créé : 21-09-2015 11:20

Which translates as Daic Cameron is accused of having stuck his knob in the mouth of a dead pig.

VIE ETUDIANTE – Une biographie publiée au Royaume-Uni lève le voile sur la jeunesse du Premier ministre britannique à l’université d’Oxford. Au programme : soirées alcoolisées et rite d’initiation à base de cochon mort…

Meanwhile the attention of international progressives is focused on Kermit’s Fate.

One further point: how Cameron is going to face to House of Commons, or indeed walking down a street, without shouts of ‘Oink oink’ remains to be covered.


Written by Andrew Coates

September 21, 2015 at 2:32 pm

Labour anti-Europe Group Linked to Tax Payers’ Alliance and Hard-Right Business Campaign.

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Kaye Hoey MP: From International Marxist Group to Patriotic Tax Payers’ Alliance.

A new Eurosceptic Labour group has been accused of acting as a front for the campaign to leave the European Union in the referendum vote.

Labour for Britain, which launched in June and says it picking up strong support from MPs, peers, councillors and activists, aims to “provide a space” for party members who support a “significant change” in the relationship with the EU.

But The Independent has found that it has strong links to Business for Britain, an organisation that is prepared to go further and argue in favour of a British exit from the EU. The Labour group also has ties to the Taxpayers’ Alliance, which has variously argued for further benefits cuts, reducing pensions and eroding trade union rights.

Labour source said: “This isn’t a forum for debate but a front for people who want to erode workers’ rights and raise taxes on families while cutting them for millionaires. I’m shocked Labour MPs would work hand-in-glove with those whose policies run counter to the beliefs of our party.”

Brendan Chilton, the director of Labour for Britain, said the website would shortly be registered to Mr Mills.

“It just was a simple case in the very early days that we needed to get a domain set up and the website purchased, and Labour for Britain at the time hadn’t been established all too long and so we worked with Matthew Elliott to get that done,” he said.

Mr Chilton acknowledged it “certainly can appear” the group is a front for a pro-“Brexit” campaign, but he added: “Our activities to date [show] we are primarily a group that says the Labour Party …will press for reform.”


17th of June International Business Times.

A group of Eurosceptic Labour MPs have teamed up with one of the party’s biggest private donors to launch a campaign to push for a “full dialogue” ahead of the promised EU referendum.

The “Labour for Britain” group has the support of John Mills, the founder of household goods firm JML, who gave Labour £1.6m ($2.5m) worth of shares last year.

The organisation, set up by Kate Hoey, Graham Stringer and Kelvin Hopkins, warned that Labour could “weaken the UK’s negotiating position” by supporting the “In” campaign no matter what.

The MPs said in a joint statement: “We believe that the debate about our country’s future in the EU has been dormant within the Labour Party for too long. We need to have a full dialogue within our membership and with our natural supporters.”

Mills, who is also a co-chairman of Business for Britain, claimed that “many Labour voters feel that too much power lies in Brussels rather than with the UK Parliament”.

Kate Hoey is a former member of the International Marxist Group – way back in the 1970s it is true. (here).

This is what she says these days, (New Statesman 19th of June) – all of which puts the disclaimer from Chilton distancing Labour for Britain from the hard right in its true perspective.

What Hoey wants, she tells me, is: “To get back to our parliament the right to make its own laws, the right to have complete control of our economy, to decide everything that relates to our own country … and of course that is fundamentally opposed to what the original aims of the Common Market were”. She also calls for an end to the free movement of people (“People from the Commonwealth are completely penalised when it comes to getting their families in to visit them and yet somebody can walk in from Romania or Latvia with no history of involvement in this country whatsoever”) and the abolition of the Common Agricultural Policy and the Common Fisheries Policy. “That’s what the Labour Party should be doing instead of going off into a little corner and saying ‘No, no it’s all wonderful and we might want to tinker around a little bit’. We are letting down millions of our own supporters, many of whom voted Ukip and will continue to do so until this is treated in a serious way.”

Even more strikingly, Hoey blames her party’s “extremely unpatriotic” outlook for its increasing alienation from its traditional working class supporters. “They feel very strongly about their country and we have been extremely unpatriotic as a party to our country. There’s just a feeling that we’re half-hearted about being British, we’re half-hearted about the monarchy, we’re half-hearted about the way we see our country in the world. I’m very proud of being British and I think the United Kingdom is a force for good in the world and we seem to feel all the time that we have to put ourselves down because somehow that might upset people”.

…we’ve been taken over by this kind of London, intellectual, academic-y, liberal-y people who feel that, really, if only we just got rid of all those people out there who ask awkward questions about immigration and ask awkward questions about people living off benefits when they shouldn’t be, that Labour would somehow be wonderful.

We hope that’s cleared that up.

Those who claim to be on the left and who back anti-EU campaigns for the coming referendum should reflect on the political evolution of our former comrade.


Michael Meacher MP on Labour’s Defeat – Chartist AGM.

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Michael Meacher MP Backs Jeremy Corbyn for Labour Leader.

The Chartist AGM was held on Saturday at the University of Westminster. Around 40 people gathered to discuss, as democratic socialists, “post election perspectives”.

The meeting began with Michael Meacher, the veteran (as they say) MP for Oldham West and Royton. He talked of how we are on the left are in a “very bad place” after the election defeat.

Why had this happened ? – Meacher asked. While there is a need to look at detailed analysis of the polls, which will emerge – there are some points, the MP said, that could be made now.

The principal point is that the evidence is that the party lost because voters were not “prepared to trust Labour with finances”. The Conservatives had, during the whole Coalition period, been hammering away at the claim that the legacy of the Blair and the Brown years had been economic incompetence faced with the banking crisis and its aftermath. They had left a massive budget deficit that, the Tories claimed, only they were capable of dealing with.

The Labour Party had not met this message, repeated and repeated. They had not clearly pointed to the flimsy foundations of the Conservatives’ claims to economic competence. The ‘recovery’ was already “fizzling out”, wages had not recovered, and more employment (largely confined to London and the South-east) was above all in the precarious and badly paid work. The Coalition had not even been able to meet their own claims to resolve their own favourite problem – the deficit. Instead Ed Balls and the team around Miliband had accepted the right-wing premise that austerity was necessary.

With Labour unable to challenge the grounds of David Cameron and George Osborne’s economic strategy, the electorate preferred to place their confidence in the outgoing Tories instead of a new government.

Meacher then outlined an alternative to austerity, and long-term measures to deal with inequality. Fiscal policy should be a form of modern Keynesianism. Against “market fundamentalism” strategic areas of the economy would benefit from public intervention and control. The poor services offered by the privatised utilities and transport, had to be tackled, and manufacturing promoted.

Through the tax system and inside companies measures should be introduced to reduce, by a long-term and determined effort, the gulf between the sky-high salaries of the super-rich and ordinary people. This would also help increase public revenue and provide increased revenue for public services.

The AGM then heard a valuable contribution on the Greek left government, Syriza, by Isidoros Diakides (Greece Solidarity Campaign and a Haringey councillor). He painted a picture of just how severe the plight of the Greeks people had become.

The day’s debates that followed these well-argued talks were wide ranging. Many different points were raised. Meacher’s principal explanation for Labour’s defeat – the feeling that Miliband was not to be trusted with the economy – received support. However appealing Labour policies on issues such as the living wage and increased workers’ rights were, they had not stood up clearly to the Tories in this area. Accepting tight fiscal policy, and the need to cutting back on public spending, was a principal problem.

Austerity had to be fought. This was one of the reasons why Meacher had now “switched” support in the Labour Party leadership campaign to Jeremy Corbyn.

Yet some new Labour MPs had managed to win by reaching out into the community. The undermining of the ground of social democratic politics was discussed. The view that British politics could melt down and prepare the way for a Syriza or a Podemos did not get much backing. The differences between Greek, Spanish and our economies and politics were underlined, from the scale of the economic disaster in Greece to the extent of corruption in Spain, which stimulated the rise of these parties, were mentioned. Problems with Podemos, such as its vertical structure, were mentioned.

For others there was the issue of Scottish nationalism and the high vote for UKIP (despite their failure to secure more than one MP). It was suggested that constitutional issues remained central. A candidate who had stood for the Bermondsey  Republican Socialists in London took the view that the whole electoral process had become irrelevant.

Somebody pointed out that the Republican socialist had received 20 votes in the General Election (0.0%).

We think we can guess who that somebody was.

There was panel on migration, racism and nationalism.

Don Flynn (Migrant Rights Network) warned the meeting of a new clampdown on migrants. ‘Illegal’ workers will find their wages treated as criminal revenue and confiscated. Tehmina Kazi (Muslims for Secular Democracy) spoke on the twin threats of prejudice against Muslims and the rise of intolerant Islam. Secularism, universal rights, was the alternative to both. She cited, as a young woman her inspiration: Southall Black Sisters and the beloved Gita Segal.

Andy Greeg (Race on the Agenda) outlined the issues involved in different ethnic or ‘race’ policies and the problems of politics which depended on ‘community leaders’. He mentioned that the Conservatives had actively sought support from Hindus. The election results showed that the Tories had scored well in this constituency, and amongst Sikhs. Labour could not take the Black and Minority Vote for granted.

A high-point of the day was a talk, “Cartooning against the Coalition’, illustrated by magic lantern, by the cartoonist, Martin Rowson.

It is hard to recall the name of the politician whose face he described as resembling a “balloon full of sick”.

We will leave it to readers to imagine who it is.

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