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Socialist Party Election Press Release

category national | politics / elections | press release author Monday November 03, 2003 15:20author by SP - Socialist Party Report this post to the editors

Solidarity with striking postal workers

Jim Barbour challenges political parties to refuse to use private mail companies during postal strike

South Belfast Socialist Party candidate Jim Barbour has announced his full support for postal workers who are currently engaged in industrial action.

Mr Barbour, the Northern Ireland firefighters’ union leader, whose central election theme is to Defend Public Services, stated

"Postal workers have been forced to take this action by a brutal management and the Blair Government. What lies beneath this dispute is an attempt to further erode postal workers conditions and to sell off the postal service to the private sector."

"My fellow Socialist Party candidate for East Belfast Tommy Black and I will be offering concrete support to postal workers in Northern Ireland who may decide to take solidarity action. In the event of local industrial action, we are publicly calling on all candidates to pledge not to use private companies to distribute their election manifestos."

For further comment contact:

Jim Barbour 07711210731

Tommy Black 07742405821

Contact the Socialist Party on 028 90 232962 or 07743282321

e-mail: socialist@belfastsp.freeserve.co.uk


Jim Barbour is an executive member of the Fire Brigades Union, representing firefighters in Northern Ireland.

Jim led firefighters in the recent dispute over pay and against the run down and privatisation of the fire service.

If elected he will act with the same resolve to defend public services and uphold the jobs and conditions of the people who work in them.

Jim was a founder of the South Belfast Campaign Against Water Charges and is currently helping setting up anti water charges groups around the constituency.

Jim is married with one daughter and lives in the Four Winds area.

Tommy Black lives in the Newtownards Road area and works as a school caretaker in Ashfield Girls’ High School. Tommy is chair of the East Belfast "Water Charges – We Won’t Pay" Campaign and is currently organising across the constituency to oppose this unjust tax.

As the former Chair of the Walkway Community Group he successfully campaigned for better facilities in East Belfast. As a union rep in the public sector union, NIPSA, he has campaigned for the rights of education workers and against the privatisation of our schools. He played a leading role in the struggle of term time workers for a full wage.

Related Link: http://www.socialistparty.net
author by Januspublication date Mon Nov 03, 2003 15:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Good idea those guys, and I hope other parties will refuse to use private mail.

Out of curiosity, as the info doesn't seem to be on the site, how many SP candidates are running and where are they running?

author by SPpublication date Mon Nov 03, 2003 15:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There are two SP candidates in the election

Belfast South - Jim Barbour
Belfast East - Tommy Black

Their details are above

author by Funny thingpublication date Mon Nov 03, 2003 17:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Jim led firefighters in the recent dispute over pay and against the run down and privatisation of the fire service."

Is this the same Jim Barbour who argued along with Gilchrist to accept the rotten deal?

author by pat cpublication date Mon Nov 03, 2003 18:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There are policies of the SP which should be criticised but theres no need to make things up.
This is what the real Jim Barbour said:

"MY DECISION to reject the offer on 18th March was based on the simple issue of democracy. Our campaign has been membership led from the beginning, and whilst I acknowledge and accept my leadership role, I believed that we were duty bound to consult with those who have carried this fight with such courage and unity, our members.

The FBU must survive these difficult times and emerge united. Whether the pay issue is resolved to the satisfaction of our members or not, we will have to fight again and again for the foreseeable future, because lets be honest, Prescott has made it abundantly clear that the gloves are now off and I do not trust our employers or New Labour to let matters lie!

We have fought this campaign alone like lions. Apart from the support shown by good friends like the Socialist Party and limited assistance from a small number of Trade Unions, FBU members have fought tooth and nail with the British Government for the last year! Despite the denigration, and character assassination of first class public servants, our membership are still standing strong, undefeated and determined to emerge from this dispute, united, strong and able to meet the challenges that will inevitably come.
By Jim Barbour, Executive Committee FBU "

author by C'monpublication date Mon Nov 03, 2003 20:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The offer that the sellout centred around was in June - JB urged Northern Ireland members to accept. Gilchrist was denounced by activists,

"Steve Green from Bromley also said he believed the union had been "sold out" by the leadership, and he called on Mr Gilchrist to resign.

"He has done everything to undermine our action. He has cancelled strikes and the deal on offer now is the same as one we have already rejected," he said."

Related Link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/firefighters/story/0,12536,976002,00.html
author by sppublication date Wed Nov 05, 2003 09:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Fire fighter are fighting back:)

author by C'monpublication date Wed Nov 05, 2003 11:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Gilchrist was filmed having a pint with the bosses last night - trying to cut a deal - without his executive and no sign of any rank and file connection. Worse the FBU are putting pressure on the fire-stations to end unofficial action. The question is - how much has Gilchrist given away, after all he sold us the deal by saying we would get 7% without strings, and then 16% with changes? Barbour, an exec member, needs to come clean

author by Magnetopublication date Wed Nov 05, 2003 16:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

They havent got any Barbour statements from the end of the dispute because he supported the June sellout.

author by magnetic - .publication date Wed Nov 05, 2003 17:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'm beginning to suspect you are more than one person, mention SP and theres magneto with some silly claim or other. So do the SP have a majority on this union as well? Course the official Labour party or ICTU would never sell out a deal, only little trot groups do that! Can't wait till we see the next Labour support for a strike magneto! Ever heard of partnership, tax amnesty and we could go on. So magneto how many are you, Labour anti trot club?

author by Magnetopublication date Wed Nov 05, 2003 17:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dont try to avoid the issue, did Barbour support the June sellout? Thats a simple question, just deal with it. Nothing to do with majorities.

author by headpublication date Wed Nov 05, 2003 17:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

No he did not.

It is the Labour Party, the party which magneto belongs who put the firefighters out on strike. So Magneto shut up you are a hypocrite.

author by Magnetopublication date Wed Nov 05, 2003 17:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Voice was happy to carry Barbour statements about the March vote but not the June vote, why?

author by Magnetopublication date Wed Nov 05, 2003 17:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I am a member of the Irish Labour Party not the British Labour Party. You in the SP might not like it but the South of Ireland is independent of Britain.

author by Mickeypublication date Wed Nov 05, 2003 18:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Look at this crap. I see Magneto is back and still hasn't found anything better to do with his time.

The view of the Socialist Party in Britain and in Ireland was that the deal offered to the firefighters should be rejected. Why would we argue otherwise? It was a crap deal.

To have a member of the Labour Party - a party that has opposed or betrayed practically every strike it has come across for years - try to lecture us about union militancy is so cheeky that it is actually funny.

Now run off back to your hackery Magneto, there's a good lad.

author by Magnetopublication date Wed Nov 05, 2003 18:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Did Barbour support the June deal? Why dont you deal with that, insults and hyperbole dont answer the question. You were happy to quote Barbour on the March vote. Why was there so little in the Voice about the conclusion of the strike?

author by pat cpublication date Wed Nov 05, 2003 19:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Jim Barbour - Fire Brigades Union
National Executive Committee Member for Northern Ireland (Region 2)
Press Release - Issued 3pm 4th Nov

Row brewing over BBC gag on election candidate
A major row is brewing over the decision of the BBC to cancel radio interviews about the unfolding dispute in the fire service over pay with Jim Barbour, who represents firefighters locally on the Executive Committee of the Fire Brigades Union. The reason given for cancelling the arranged interviews was that Jim Barbour is a candidate in the election, standing for the Socialist Party in South Belfast.

Jim Barbour commented:

"I am very angry at what amounts to a gag on the FBU. I have been in London since Sunday involved in detailed discussions on what could be a very serious situation as fire fighters are once again forced to take industrial action, this time to prevent the employers and government reneging on the pay deal. "As the only Executive Committee member from Northern Ireland I am the only person equipped to inform firefighters and the public in Northern Ireland what is happening. I would be speaking as a leader of the FBU and not in my capacity as an election candidate. "It is my strong view, and also that of my FBU colleagues in the Northern Ireland region, that our union, not the BBC, has the sole right to decide who our spokespersons will be. It would be an outrage if a major dispute were to develop involving our members and I, as their representative on the union Executive, were to be gagged for the next three weeks and not allowed to inform people what is happening in the national negotiations".

author by Bill Websterpublication date Wed Nov 05, 2003 19:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Its a pity to see the degeneration of what was once a Revolutionary Organisation. The Election Manifesto of the SP could be signed up to by anyone on the "Left" of the Labour Party. Bizarrely as Peter Hadden drives the SP in the North into a continuing downward spiral due to his dogmatism; the Party is becoming more opportunist in its electoral platform.

author by ?publication date Thu Nov 06, 2003 00:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The south of ireland. Where would that be then.
BTW any truth in the rumour that the Irish LP have started organising in the north of Ireland??

author by Henry Joypublication date Thu Nov 06, 2003 14:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Its good that on the doorstep the SP candidates are calling for transfers to the PUP. Do the SP call for voters in other areas to give their number one to the PUP?

author by random inputpublication date Thu Nov 06, 2003 16:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Well, from what I have been able to gather (a lot of research did not go into this!) is that recentky the British LP voted to allow recruitment in the north, as have the Irish LP, which means that LP members will be able to hold dual membership of both the BLP and the ILP, and if I read correctly, possibly the SDLP aswell!

As for the elections, the ILP are, I hear from a reliable source, bussing people up to help the SDLP (to counteract the shinners one would assume)

author by draobnopublication date Thu Nov 06, 2003 16:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

That's bull about the SP calling for transfers to the PUP. The PUP are a unionist loyalist party, they offer no alternative to the sectarian politics in the north. What the SP's line on the PUP was that it was a party that is based in the working class Ptotestant areas and it did at one time have the possibliity of being a progressive force, however it has not broken with loyalism and is not a progressive force. THe SP would say the same if there developed a coherent left wing group within SF that was moving in the direction to class politics.

The SP do not call for transfers to the PUP. The SP would only call for transfers to decent community non sectarian activists.

author by mattpublication date Thu Nov 06, 2003 16:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Is it true that the SP are asking for transfers to the PUP? And if so perhaps they might explain the rationale for this, in the context of their tirade against "right wing sectarian" parties. Not that I have anything in particular against the PUP, but even on the most generous interpretation, I would fail to see how Sinn Féin could be characterised as falling into the above category while the PUP don't. I would also have to say that the references in the SP manisfesto to sectarianism are a bit disengenous and do not confront the continuation of real and active violent sectarianism in loyalist areas of Belfast.

author by Curiouspublication date Thu Nov 06, 2003 17:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Could an identifiable member of the SP give an answer on the PUP transfers? It might well be that at a local level the SP are using this line to maximise their vote.

author by draobnopublication date Thu Nov 06, 2003 17:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

At the moment and in the recent past there is more sectarian conflict coming from loyalists. This is documented fact. But there is also sectarian attacks coming from republicans, not to recognise this is disengenous.

The SP again I repeat, the SP do not call for transfers to loyalist, unionist, nationalist or republican parties.

I choose not to identify myself as that would leave me open for abuse. If anyone does have any genuine queries I would suggest that they contact teh SP directly. The contact details of on the site

Related Link: http://www.socialistparty.net
author by Brian - SP (personal capacity)publication date Thu Nov 06, 2003 17:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Of course the Socialist Party aren't calling for transfers to the PUP. It's a ridiculous idea.

The PUP are a sectarian party linked to Loyalist paramilitaries. The SP is standing in this election to offer a non-sectarian working class alternative, on however limited a scale.

author by Curiouspublication date Thu Nov 06, 2003 18:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Could we have an offical statement? In the past Steven Boyd has come on Indymedia and said that individual members of the SP dont necessarily reflect the SP official line.

I cant help but feel the deniability factor is being built up again.

author by Sammypublication date Thu Nov 06, 2003 18:49author address Belfastauthor phone Report this post to the editors

Last night on the Ravensdale Road, SP canvassers were calling on voters to extend their preferences to the PUP.

author by Brian - SPpublication date Thu Nov 06, 2003 19:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

How blunt do you need me to be?

The Socialist Party is not calling on anyone to give any preference vote to the PUP in any constituency or "on the Ravensdale Road".

This is a smear and a fairly ridiculous one at that. We would no more call for a PUP vote than we would call for a vote for any of the other sectarian parties.

author by Davidovichpublication date Thu Nov 06, 2003 21:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Jim Barbour is an Old Labourite through and through. Nothing wrong with that you might say, surely its good that the SP allows a diversity of views in its ranks. Two problemos: The CWI never tires of pointing out the error of the Scottish Socialist Party in opening up its ranks to such types. Secondly the SP is very clear that it is not a broad socialist party open to everyone left of Pat Rabbitte, its a revolutionary party, so how come Barbour is one of its candidates?

The comrades may correct me if Im wrong, but a little bird told me our Jim has only joined the vanguard party recently. A whiff of opportunism all round eh?

author by observorpublication date Thu Nov 06, 2003 21:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

More so PUP'ish

author by Mickeypublication date Thu Nov 06, 2003 22:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

People with all kinds of political backgrounds are welcome to join the Socialist Party. The important thing is what they believe in now. People are entitled to change their minds and we do try to persuade them you know.

I've never met Jim and I don't know when he joined but as a long time left trade union activist I would be surprised if he used to advocate views any worse than those that were once advocated by members of ours who at one stage were in the Southern Labour Party or Sinn Fein or even (yes! it's true!) Fianna Fail.

A more extreme example even than the shift from Fianna Fail to the Socialist Party is that of Ricky Tomlinson, the actor from the Royle Family. Tomlinson, as far as I can gather was at one stage in the National Front before his involvement in a major industrial dispute completely changed his opinions. He is a socialist nowadays. I think he might be in the Socialist Labour Party (Arthur Scargill's lot).

author by mattpublication date Fri Nov 07, 2003 12:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

In what way is Jim - no harm to him - more worthy of support of socialists in East Belfast than Joe O'Donnell the SF candidate or, to be ecumenical about it, the Workers Party candidate Bell? After all, he is an 'Old Labourite' and we know what the SP think of them in other places where they certainly would not be supporting them in elections - at least not since they were expelled (imagine having to be TOLD to leave the Free State Labour Party! - must be on a par with being barred from the local bowling club). Or maybe they miss canvassing for the likes of Dick Spring and Barry Desmond.

Are the SP therefore not guilty in this instance of harbouring the illusions of the workers and youth in old Labourism? Or is it simply a cynical ploy to use the credibility of an undoubtedly honest and upright chap to promote the SP which would certainly not have a snowballs chance of winning a hundred votes in any constituency in the Six Counties with one of its own genuine cadre and on its own programme. And furthermore is there not something downright sinister about any party purporting to stand for the liberation of humankind which has to dupe ordinary decent members who are kept in the dark regarding the secret core of the organisation which, despite some navel gazing after the split and total bewilderment in the face of what took place in eastern Europe, does not have the courage of its convictions to compete electorally as a Trotskyite party.

author by joe - sppublication date Fri Nov 07, 2003 16:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The socialist party is standing under its own name as it does in the south, the problems we have with the shinners in the north isn't just they are not left enough. Our big problem is they are too catholic and too sectarian. On the CWI we do stand under our own name and so far have won council positions in Sweden England Holland as well as here.

author by Doirepublication date Fri Nov 07, 2003 17:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

SF too Catholic? In that case it could be said that the SP are too Protestant, they wont condemn Orange Parades, they ignore the reality of Loyalist sectarianism.

Their actions in the Students Union of Queens are a cause of outrage. In QUBSU they supported a DUP motion to have a British Army Recruiting stall in the College. They also opposed naming a Bursary after Patrick Finucane, the Human Rights lawyer who had been murdered by loyalists. They opposed this on the basis that it was sectarian to name the bursary after Mr Finucane!

The SP then went on to support a Loyalist motion to name a Bursary after Edgar Graham, a loyalist who had been killed by the IRA. Somehow this was not sectarian.

author by joe - sppublication date Fri Nov 07, 2003 17:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

well here we come down to the real reason you don't like the SP, its not a problem of policy or "reformism". but we are prodestants!!! The Socialist Party is not never was and never will be a nationalist party catholic or prodestant. We are a socialist party like it says on the tin!

One thing I will say about us, even if you think we are "soft" on loyalism, we have never once in our entire history killed or maimed a catholic, can SF say the same thing?

author by Doirepublication date Fri Nov 07, 2003 17:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You criticised SF on the basis that you saw it as being too Catholic. I then pointed out that the SP could be criticised for being too Protestant. I went on to give reasons why people could make such an assumption. At no stage did I attack the SP for being Protestants.

I was constructing an argument in an adult manner.
But if you see that as attacking the SP as Protestants then surely you were, by the same token, attacking SF as Catholics.

SF has never killed anyone. This sort of demonisation of members of a political party has led to a climate where Loyalists felt it was acceptable to murder members of SF and other republicans.

Do the SP stand over this felon setting?

author by anonopublication date Fri Nov 07, 2003 19:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ther is no Sp member in QUBSU leadership.

author by Lobberpublication date Sun Nov 09, 2003 20:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dont try it on, your lies fool no one. It was well discussed at the time it happened (Stall, Finucane) on Indymedia and the SP defended their actions at the time. The SP person in question is a member from England who moved to the North to study.

author by mattpublication date Mon Nov 10, 2003 10:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I have been listening to this shit from the Militant/SP for twenty years. Opposing sectarianism has always meant taking the same side as the Brits and loyalists against the republican movement. Some of this stems from their stupid notion of a 'Socialist Federation of the British Isles', which of course logically commits them to support anyone who opposes the unification of Ireland, and as good ruthless "Leninists" that would obviously mean being objectively in support of the state and the death squads in repressing the republican movement. And so they were. And that stuff about not being nationalists is rubbish. The leadership of Militant took a chauvinistic ENGLISH nationalist stance in relation to the Falklands War. This was at a time when Militant was attacking young working class men and women who were taking on the Brits in Tyrone and Belfast and Derry as petit-bourgeois sectarian nationalists! You supported the para and marine scum in this country just as you waved the flag for them in Goose Green.

author by Voice of unreasonpublication date Mon Nov 10, 2003 13:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Matt, is there some particular reason why every post you send to Indymedia consists of a diatribe against some left wing organisation and praise of Sinn Fein?

There are plenty of dickheads who use this site only to grind their particular organisations axe but you really do take the biscuit.

Here you are all but jumping up and down and shouting Orangeman! Orangeman!. Your next post after this one is about how the evil Socialist Party are supposedly excluding Sinn Fein from the Finglas anti-bin tax campaign despite the fact that Finglas is about the only area in Dublin where Sinn Fein really have played anything approaching a full role in the campaign. Before that you were having a pop at the SWP or the anarchists. Before that it is was Working Class Action.

Do you have anything positive to say about anybody? This behaviour just makes you look completely unreasonable you know.

author by Hebepublication date Mon Nov 10, 2003 15:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Every SP posting on the Bin Tax has to include an attack on SF? Even the post about Saturdays (badly advertised) march included one.

author by Joepublication date Mon Nov 10, 2003 15:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Both the SP and the SWP think everyone outside their ranks has a 10 second memory.

For the SWP this means they expect people to have fogotten their last scam every time they wheel out a new one.

For the SP this means they have to keep reminding us that SF in Sligo voted for the bin tax, that Daly told people to pay it and that the Labour Party are pro-capitalist.

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