May 2005 elections

Only the Beginning

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This year's general election was a disaster for Blair and saw a significant breakthrough for the left.

The 2005 general election will go down in history in several different ways. It marked a historically low vote for any ruling party. Labour picked up only 36 percent of the popular vote, the Tories lost on 33 percent and the LibDems rose only slightly to 23 percent. The turnout was slightly up on last time at 61 percent. It also marked the revival of the left electorally in Britain.

Independents' Day

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Judy Cox meets the others.

One sign of disillusion with the major parties is the growth of Respect. Another is the number of people standing as independent candidates. The most powerful example is the three high-profile anti-war campaigners challenging arch-warmongers in the general election. Rose Gentle and Reg Keys are backed by Military Families Against the War. Rose's son, Gordon, was killed in Iraq last summer. She is attracting wide support for her challenge to armed forces minister Adam Ingram in East Kilbride.

Election: Shaking Up Blair's Banana Republic

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Exclusive excerpts from Respect candidate for West Ham Lindsey German's campaign blog.

The First Post
8 April

So it's the election at last: 5 May 2005 has been in Tony Blair's diary for a very long time - all planned to go according to the wishes of the spin doctors, the campaign managers and the politicians themselves.

Election: The Verdict on the Blair Project

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Respect's national secretary John Rees explains why 5 May is so important to the further revival of the left in Britain.

If Respect is successful in this election it will break the entire policy on which New Labour has been fashioned. It borrowed the idea of 'triangulation' from Bill Clinton. Triangulation means that New Labour doesn't worry about its core support - it takes them for granted on the basis that they've got nowhere else to go. That leaves it free to chase the middle ground. Labour follows the Tory agenda, adopting policies it thinks will be favourable to the right wing press, to the middle class voter, and it ignores the values of the people who built and sustained its organisation.

Election: Hey There, Wait a Minute Mr Postman

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More people than ever before are planning to vote by post in the general election - but how secure are postal votes?

In the key battleground of Bethnal Green and Bow, where George Galloway is taking on Oona King MP, 5,050 people (at the time of writing) are registered to vote by post compared with 494 at the last general election. This figure is likely to increase further, as voters have until the end of April to register. The election office told me that they are working round the clock processing applications. The neighbouring constituency of Poplar and Canning Town has seen a similar expansion of postal voting: from 1,537 in 2001 to 4,111.

Respect: Look to the Future

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Respect is set to challenge Labour in a number of key seats in this year's election, as Peter Morgan explains. He also speaks to psephologist Paul Whiteley about why Labour is facing declining support.

Tens of thousands take to the streets against the occupation of Iraq and demand British troops come home; anger grows against New Labour's attacks on public sector pensions; latest opinion polls show a surge in support for the Tories and a cut in Labour's lead to just a few points. These were the headlines as Socialist Review went to press this month - and with the general election probably just a few weeks away is it any wonder there is growing unease among Labour MPs?

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