People ‘crying out for an alternative’

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Respect Conference October 25th 2008 – a great success

Adrian Roberts at the Respect conference in central London

This article appeared in the Morning Star of 27 October 2008

RESPECT national secretary Nick Wrack opened his party’s conference on Saturday with a message to delegates that people are “crying out” for an alternative to new Labour and the Tories.

Mr Wrack, who was joined on the platform by socialist film director Ken Loach, left comedian Mark Steel, Communist Party general secretary Robert Griffiths and the party’s MP George Galloway, said that the people at the top were still raking in rewards despite the financial crisis.

“We won’t pay for their crisis,” he told delegates at the Bishopsgate Institute in central London.

“Ordinary people are expected to pay, but the bosses walk off with a pay-off.”

Mr Galloway thanked those who stayed loyal to Respect after last year’s acrimonious split.

“You can be satisfied that we have emerged as the most electable part of the British left,” he said.

Following Mr Galloway, Mr Griffiths pointed out that there was now a crisis of political representation of the working class.

“We no longer have a mass party of Labour and that is a problem for everybody on the left,” he said.

“Significant sections of the Labour movement are not yet convinced that there is a crisis of representation, but this crisis can only be resolved by the organised labour movement and we have to confront the weaknesses and divisions on the left.”

Mr Steel recalled that he had been listening to the “pretty posh” cricket commentary recently and the commentators were talking about how long it took to get into the ground.

“Then, out of nowhere, came the booming Yorkshire voice of Geoff Boycott, who said that Tony Blair was to blame because he was warned that if he took us into illegal wars there would be a security risk – ‘now, it takes us 45 minutes to get into the ground.’

“Chastised on Test Match Special – that’s the nature of the government we have,” Mr Steel said.

Mr Loach said: “I think there is a great sense of frustration and anger at what has happened with war and the financial crisis.

“The left have always said that this day will come because the system is built on a pack of cards.”

More reports from 2008 Respect conference HERE

Videos from the 2008 Respect Conference HERE Nick Wrack, George Galloway, Mark Steel and Rob Griffiths

Photos of the conference

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