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Tom Woodcock, Cambridge, Respect – The Unity Coalition

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what do you think is the most important issue in this election?

Electoral Reform!  I meet as many people who are not voting as who are and whether they are voting or not most people lack trust in the system.

why did you make the decision to stand in this constituency and for this party (as an independent)?

I am a socialist and I believe in co-operation so of course I joined RESPECT as soon as it was set up. I knew, because of the circumstances and the mood of the public, that RESPECT would make an impact and have a good chance of growing and I felt my voice would be included - it has been.

What kind of vote are you expecting on May 5th?

In terms of numbers, I feel opinion polls mislead the voter! The sitting MP does not look like she wants to be re-elected and the important result is to move as much of the vote Left of the three main Parties and that, if a proportional representation system is not brought in during the next term, will increase the likelihood of standing one Socialist/Environmentalist candidate in the future.

aside from the vote what are you hoping to get out of this campaign?

Our targets are to establish Respect's name, build on our network of support and activists and gain new members.  This is already happening.  A political base and voice for the progressive left is so important here and we feel we are winning battles every day!  We of course aim to continue influencing the mainstream debate.

in your view what is the greatest threat to our civil liberties at the moment?

George Bush, Tony Blair, the Daily Mail, the list is endless.  The whole tone this government has set is wrong.  Detention without trial is probably the most serious, more so because the government implies it is happening to very few and some of the population believe it.  In my view you have to count all those being held by the US/UK, including the 20,000 in Iraq, countless in Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay and the victims of extraordinary rendition. ASBO’s are also a pretty sinister treat. One of our members was threatened with one on a local anti-war demo for drawing chalk body outlines on the pavement!

Blair has taken us to war three times since coming to power (not including the occasional ad hoc bombing raid) in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq. Can war ever be justified?

I am, at heart, a pacifist and peace definitely spreads peace. Our war is against poverty and disease and guns never helps. I definitely could not send anyone else to commit violence on my behalf. So it becomes a personal issue and I could not answer the question until an occupying soldier had pointed his gun at me and my child or my mother's head, beaten me, routinely arrested me and then explained that I was now liberated, then continues to repeat the process for two or twenty years whilst denying me basic provisions and killing and imprisoning my friends.  I hope I would still have the strength of mind to talk and reason but I doubt it.

There is very little left to privatise in this country, if you had your way what would be brought into public hands?

The telephones and the internet, the trains, buses and commercial aviation, water, the arms trade and gas, oil and electric, state schools and hospitals, council housing and pensions. Any would help stablise the long term economy and the environment.

Some environmental campaigners have started talking about nuclear power as a way to bring down CO2 emissions - what do you think of this?

Fusion is worth the investment but fission should be fazed out. The answer lies in a host of government driven efficiency measures and mass investment in solar energy. Democratising global decision and regulating bodies is one of the biggest hurdles, as destruction through logging and likes is a major problem that needs global management.

Asylum and immigration will be central issues in this election. What action on this issue would you like to see the next government push

I am in for open boarders. So any steps to make the process of supporting immigrants to this country would be welcome and I hope other countries would return the favour.  I would certainly like to work abroad at some point and hope that I would be welcomed there!

What question do you wish was on this list but doesn't appear?

Q. What would you do if you got elected?
A. Set up a direct debit of £1000 a month to Cambridge RESPECT and £1000 a month to national RESPECT in order to lead by example and keep me on me straight a narrow!





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