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A hustings was organised last Saturday by the churches, to which every candidate but the BNP was invited, and attended by them with the exception of one independent candidate. Roger Nettleship, Fight for an Anti-War Government candidate, placed the fight for an anti-war government firmly on the agenda by leading the fight against the pro-war consensus and placed it at the centre of the discussion in the South Shields hustings. Shirley Ford of the Green Party, Roger Nettleship and the other two independents spoke out against the war.
Roger Nettleship has been battling with the BBC website who, from ignoring that he was a candidate until last Friday under the hoax that they were checking the data, then entered him as the Revolutionary Communist Party Britain (Marxist Leninist) candidate unlike every other site that complied with the nomination details. Remarkably, he says, it was the first time he had ever known the BBC to get the name of the Party right apart from a radio interview with National Spokesperson Chris Coleman some years ago. However, of course, by ignoring the actual description by which the anti-war movement in South Tyneside had registered the candidate via RCPB(ML) as only a party can register a description they clearly had another agenda. His final email was: "I attach the election office nomination detail for South Shields. Can I have a reply from you whether you intend to comply with my nomination details as registered on this document. This was description is officially how I have been nominated in full compliance with the law on candidates who want to use a description. It has to be nominated by a party for my anti-war campaign to use for election purposes. If you do not intend to comply will you give reasons to me so that I can take this matter up with the Electoral Commission." He eventually received the following reply: "Dear Mr Nettleship, Many thanks for your email. We apologise for the error and would like to inform you that the constituency page has now been updated with the correct information. Regards, BBC Election 2010 team"
Roger Nettleship commented: "Well, if the fight for an anti-war government in Britain is a fight to build the Workers Opposition as part of a political alliance and opposition to the pro-war consensus of the big parties and to take that into the Parliament, this was certainly a victory against the attempts of the ruling class to further marginalise worker politicians or anyone else from using a description."
On Wednesday night, the campaign held the concert "For an Anti-War Government" it had planned and had publicised among the first-time voters. Although depleted by illness and holidays, the Anti-War Government activists and those of the Green Party came to the event, as well as visitors from outside the constituency. Roger Nettleship opened with a short introduction on the campaigns stand and activist Alan Newham read a poem by Michael Rosen. The band The Panic Report played for 45 minutes and said they were very pleased to be playing at an event on such an important question. After they finished the first set, Roger then dedicated the concert to Workers Memorial Day on which it was being held. More poems followed, including the poem by Adrian Mitchell "Tell Me Lies about Vietnam" which he had rewritten about Afghanistan. The Panic Report finished a very spirited contribution with more of their songs and the proceedings closed with the revolutionary poem and song chorus: So we have won another battle see the enemy fall, and don't it seem paltry and don't it seem small, Then the enemy besets us and blocks our advance, But the times cry out: Here's the Rose Now Dance! Everyone present enjoyed the spirit of the event, and the ongoing discussion.
The South Shields Gazette today features 250 words from the candidates "in their own words". David Miliband continued publicly not to comment on his partys pro-war stand. Of course, he will be aware that his government as part of NATO has a plan for a murderous offensive against Kandahar, Afghanistan, after the election. Reports say that the special US death squads trained at murdering people they suspect of being part of the resistance around Kandahar has already started. It is reminiscent of the Bush election in 2005 where he held off the barbarous assault on Fallujah, Iraq, until after returning to office.
Roger Nettleships contribution read: "I am standing so that working people can vote for their own political opposition in Parliament to the three big parties that are all pro-war and causing the death and injury of so many people worldwide including British soldiers. These parties are also in the service of big financiers that are wrecking the economy destroying jobs, small businesses and making cuts and privatisation in our public services."
"The pro-war alliances with the US, Nato and Israel are very dangerous and must be ended We want the troops home now, and like most countries, no stationing of troops on foreign soil. Candidates should be selected by the people and not by the big parties so the polity has control over foreign policy and all areas of government and legislation. We oppose our youth being recruited for war instead of being given full employment to build a bright future for themselves. We uphold the dignity of labour who produce all the wealth of society, defend the rights of all and of working people in old age."
"We oppose the lie of the big parties that immigration is the problem. Immigration is not the problem; it is the system that pays the rich that is the problem causing poverty, lack of jobs, social housing, and so on. This immigration racism must be ended immediately and also the targeting of Muslims. We are all human beings and government should run the economy to meet the needs of all and defend the rights of all."
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