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Answering Tory press smears

(March 1981)

From Militant, No. 542, 6 March 1981, p. 4.
Transcribed by Iain Dalton.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

In the weeks prior to the selection of Rod Fitch as prospective parliamentary candidate for Brighton Kemptown, the local paper the Evening Argus, conducted a vitriolic campaign against ‘Militant’ supporters and Rod in particular.

The candidate they wanted selected was meanwhile given favourable coverage.

The Argus claimed:

“Militants want the selecting made while they are dominant. They may lose strength on the party’s policy making body the GMC at the next AGM.”

This ignores the fact that the Party had been waiting for NEC permission to proceed for eighteen months as we were anxious to have a candidate in the field as soon as possible.

As for our losing support, at the AGM after the selection of Rod our support in Kemptown has grown rapidly as the Argus was forced to concede with the headline “Militants Tighten Grip.”

Cllr. Tom Forrester who has defected to form a new centre party stated in the same article “this confirms my worst fears.”

We have standing as a New Centre Party candidate in a local bye-election, a certain Mr. Cameron, who a few months ago stood as a National Front candidate in St Peters ward and received 15 votes!

Rod’s selection has engendered tremendous enthusiasm. The local labour movement has rallied round him.

Countless party members have sent in messages of support, the Council Labour Group, the Trades Union Council, who have appointed their past president to liaise with Kemptown Labour Party to mobilise active union support.

Party membership is growing by leaps and bounds, and more trade union branches are affiliating. We have our own local Labour paper distributed to 15,000 households answering media distortions.

Our roots are deep in Brighton’s working people. Our support continues to grow because of our ideas and record of service to the labour movement over two decades.

Quinten Barry our candidate in the last election sums up how were are viewed as real Labour loyalists, when in a letter to me he states “in a long gruelling campaign I was encouraged every morning by your enthusiasm and tireless work.”

True, Andrew Bowden the Tory has an 8,000 majority, but we are confident that with socialist policies and necessary organisation we can beat off the social democrats, smash that majority and return a Labour MP for Brighton Kemptown, as part of a massive majority for Labour at the general election.

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Last updated: 17 August 2016