Up went the Red Flag, or so it felt, when John McDonnell explained the major reforms he would implement if elected Labour´s leader. It was encouraging to also hear the militant stand against the war and privatization made by supporting speaker Gordon Munro, probably the only local Labour Councillor willing to publicly speak out against the Tory line of New Labour.
John congratulated the work done by the young comrades of Hands of Venezuela (organisers of the meeting with the Scottish Labour Campaign for Socialism) and welcomed speeches from the platform by Patrick Orr (School Students Against the War) and Chris Rutherford (Edinburgh School Students union).
John's fluent, honest explanation, reminiscent of Tony Benn, encouraged a good discussion with some comrades pointing out the need to go much further onto socialism to carry out the policies John is standing on. Many Labour Party branches were meeting that night to select council candidates and there was also a big meeting of the Stop the War Coalition, and also that of the Scottish Socialists about free school meals, so our attendance was well down on what it should have been.
However, this was a good start to his campaign locally with 39 attending, a quarter of whom were under thirty and a generous £54.81 collected to fund further activity.
Just by wearing my john4leader badge I've sold two Socialist Appeals and handed out John's leaflets, so the interest in a socialist alternative to Brown, Reid, etc, is there, and people are just looking to be involved. Eight Journals were sold on the night, plus £3 for the Fighting Fund and the names of two young people given to be added to those collected by Vince Mills (CfS), who expertly and fairly chaired the meeting.
John McDonnell's Campaign can be contacted at john4leader.org.uk