Dead Men Left

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The guns of Brixton (minus guns)

Four hundred at the Brixton Respect meeting last night - standing room only, a good mix of people: it looked, as these things are supposed to, like a meeting in Brixton, and the atmosphere was electric. (Ask Kotaji; he was there, too.) It goes almost without saying that Galloway was the major draw, and he did a cracking turn; he really is an exceptionally good judge of an audience, and this accounts for much of his appeal. But in some ways more impressive were the various local Respect members we had called up to talk about what we were doing in the area - Steve on the housing campaigns, Hannah on ASBOs, Sarah on schools, Gordon on the pensioners' forum. The quality of their contributions was extremely high; not just because of what they said, and how it was received, but because of who they are.

Something over 30 people joined Respect there and then, with many more taking forms, whilst the contact sheet runs to hundreds of names, addresses and phone numbers. After a slow start, Respect has arrived as a serious political force in Lambeth.