Boris Johnson's seat, in Uxbridge, is being targetted by a campaign to unseat him. The Brunel Marxist society have been working to engage students to kick out Boris Johnson, and last week they launched the Students4Corbyn campaign on campus. And last weekend, hundreds of activists took to the streets for the "Fck Boris!" demonstration.
If this movement continues to gain ground, there is every chance that Boris Johnson could be made the first sitting Prime Minister to lose his seat. We publish here reports of the Students4Corbyn campaign launch and the 'Fck Boris!" demonstration.
By Martin Swayne
In the midst of the most important election in a generation, the Students4Corbyn campaign was launched in Uxbridge last week. Students from the newly formed Brunel Marxist Society have been working on campus to get students registered to vote and to kick out Boris Johnson from his own constituency.
Ali Milani, the local Labour Party candidate, was scheduled to address the meeting but unfortunately had to give his apologies as he was being interviewed on television. Nevertheless, this did not dampen the spirits of a lively and productive discussion!
Milli Wright, a student at Brunel, opened by saying that austerity is all she has known. She was eight when the financial crash happened and as long as she has been politically conscious, she said, we have been subjected to Tory austerity that has inflicted over 100,000 deaths. The youth are angry, and rightfully so.
She pointed out that, in Uxbridge and South Ruislip, Boris Johnson’s majority was halved in 2017, from 10,000 to 5,000. With Johnson now the Prime Minister, we have the chance to make history in this constituency and to make him the first Prime Minister ever to lose his seat. With a bold and radical Labour programme to motivate students and offer real positive change: the election is Labour’s to win.
Joe Attard, former UCU activist and supporter of Socialist Appeal, developed this theme and provided a broader context to the current political situation. He made the point that we are the first generation since WW2 to be worse off than our parents, due to the senile and decaying capitalist system. Young people are desperately striving for an alternative, which is why they got behind Corbyn in large numbers in 2017 and will do so again in this election.
The Corbyn movement is a symptom of the same crisis that has proved protest and revolution from Haiti to France, to Lebanon, to Chile. Ultimately, the task of young people in Britain is to fight for a Corbyn-led Labour government committed to free education, nationalisation etc., and defend that programme from inevitable attacks by the capitalists and Blairite quislings. Beyond that, students must fight alongside workers for the end of capitalism and for a socialist society.
A far-reaching discussion followed, in which the attendees spoke about the policies and proposals from Labour that most excited them - touching on the national education service from cradle to grave, the Green New Deal, the national pharmaceutical company etc. Many attendees signed up to Students4Corbyn at Brunel, which will begin to organise canvassing sessions of university halls to get the vote out in this key battleground.
By Andy Southwark
On Saturday 16th November hundreds of activists took to the streets of Uxbridge to mobilise residents to kick Boris out. Uxbridge and South Ruislip is currently the Prime Minister’s constituency, but there is a very real possibility that Labour could win it in the forthcoming election. Such an upset would make Boris the first ever sitting Prime Minister to lose their seat.
The area has traditionally returned Conservative MPs with majorities of more than ten thousand. However the 2017 election saw Labour under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership increase it’s vote share by 13.6%, which brought Johnson's majority down to only 5,034 - less than half of what he had in 2015 and the smallest majority of a Prime Minister since 1924. A swing to Labour of just over 5% is all it would take to send Boris looking for another job.
The magnificent 2017 result was achieved without significant campaigning resources targeted at the seat. But this time around all eyes are focused on securing the Prime Minister’s scalp. As part of this, the ‘FCK Govt, FCK Boris’ campaign group organised a parade through the constituency that focused on registering residents to vote by handing out thousands of leaflets and registering residents on the spot.
Starting in the busy shopping area around Uxbridge station, hundreds of activists had conversations with local residents before forming up to follow a bus driving through the constituency blasting out music. Soon the streets of Uxbridge were echoing with chants of ‘Fck Boris!’.
The parade had an overwhelmingly positive response from residents who came out of their houses to take pictures and talk to activists. Groups of local kids spontaneously joined up with the march as it wound its way through the residential streets of Uxbridge. There was a positive and energetic atmosphere throughout. Yet underlying the fun was a steely determination to ensure defeat for Boris.
The demonstration stopped off at Brunel University where almost 14,000 students study in the constituency. After Labour spectacularly toppled the Tories in Canterbury in 2017, they are now terrified of the power of the student vote to unseat Conservative MPs in formerly safe seats. That’s why the election date has been set after term has finished at most universities. But this attempt at gerrymandering has been met with anger by students determined to have their voice heard. If every Brunel student was to vote Labour it would go a long way to sending Boris packing.
Although Uxbridge was long thought of a Tory safe seat, it is a far cry from the Tory heartlands of the Home Counties. The impact of austerity and the crisis of capitalism has been deeply felt in the constituency, with 30% of children now growing up in poverty and residents furious about declining services at the nearby crumbling Hillingdon hospital.
Only Labour can offer an answer to these problems, so it is unsurprising that sands should shift in our favour. In inflicting brutal austerity across the country the Tories have become their own gravediggers - as long as Labour is able to offer a radical alternative to cuts and despair, and mobilise our activists to put forward that message on the doorstep.
This is exactly what is happening in Uxbridge and few things will give Labour activists more delight after weeks of gruelling campaign than to see Boris unceremoniously kicked out of Parliament on election night. Such a glorious victory is within our reach. Let's make it happen.