At the count after the 2001 general election, Nottingham East Labour MP and government whip John Heppell gave over much of his victory speech to denouncing his socialist challenger Pete Radcliff. Not, unfortunately, that Pete Radcliff had come near to defeating Heppell and winning the seat — but Heppell was evidently aware that the socialist campaign had bitten into the core of previously committed Labour supporters, and did not know how to answer its arguments.
Heppell is heading for a similar experience at this general election. Challenged to debate, he responds: “No, you’re all nutters”. He will in fact have to debate at hustings called by local groups, like Sherwood Global Justice and Peace on 19 April and the Pensioners’ Action Group on 25 April.
Pete Radcliff is standing in this election under the banner “Socialist Unity”, as part of the England-wide Socialist Green Unity Coalition, which also includes candidates standing as “Socialist Alternative” and “Alliance for Green Socialism”.
He has won support from local branches of the Fire Brigades Union and the rail unions RMT and ASLEF.
Socialist campaigners will be out every day, leafletting, canvassing, and running campaign stalls. Local issues in the campaign include the Labour council's plans (based on national Labour Government policy) to shut three primary schools and develop a new Islamic state school; the threatened closure of Noel Street leisure centre; and the transfer of council housing in the St Ann’s district to an Arms’ Length Management Organisation (part of the Labour Government’s drive to abolish council housing by transferring it all out of local authority hands).