I happened upon an interesting meeting yesterday evening (28th) in London.

It was called something like "British Politics at the Cross Roads", and most of the speakers were advocating a broad left alliance whose main aim was to attract enough votes at the Euro Elections to shock the New Labour Government to the left. There were many excellent speakers including George Galloway, also the Gen Sec of the RMT and a shop steward of the FBU slagging off their leadership. Also an amazingly able young Asian woman (I suppose I am being patronising - sorry) who spoke most emphatically of the need for such an alliance and made one of the only two references to involving the Green Party (GP). However the style of their publicity and much of their speeches were Green, i.e. pro environment and anti Bush inter alia because of his attitude to Kyoto. It seemed to me that the movement (if that is what it is) is using the million strong anti war march, and the no-war end occupation movement as its jumping off point. Speakers claimed the great march was as much anti New Labour as pro peace. (I as a Quaker doubt that because I know there were many there whose motive was not generally anti Govt - only over the threat of war. But I could be mistaken in that assessment.)

There was much applause for tub thumping speeches by a leader of the unofficial postal strikers, the FBU one (promising they'd reject the current offer) and leader of the RMT who made good points about safety on London Underground - to my opinion. Again promising a strike, to wild applause.

The constant call was for unity but greater cheers were raised by calls for disunited action against Labour and official TU policies.

However George Galloway made a really brilliant, old fashioned heart-string pulling oration about the perfidy of New Labour - at times laying into his former Lab Party colleagues ("I look along the Labour benches and see a shudder looking for a spine to chill") but at other times appealing for them to come over to the new left.

I do not know if the Alliance has made overtures to the GP nationally - I know they have tried locally and would be interested to hear what was said to them.

My view for what it is worth is that though fine, stirring , and brave; the old left is an anachronism. I feel very sad saying that, both my fathers (my biological one and the one who brought me up) were of the extreme left and I agree with their concern about what is wrong with our present system. But their solutions will not come to fruition under a democracy, and I certainly think our democracy though flawed (one could say, polluted) is far preferable to any other. Within our time people have tried fascism, theocracy, and several variants of communism - none has worked for long (except perhaps Castro's?) .

It is easy enough to speechify about the faults, less so to live out solutions. (How many of us are truly deep green?)

I was also stirred by David Taylor's address to us on Tuesday evening. Just as visionary as that of the far left but far sounder and more deeply based. Also far better worked out in detail. The green party offers a real alternative - the old left have little to offer but theatricality and nostalgia.

I hope the GP does not throw in its lot with this new left coalition. I think the public is irritated by the left - right dichotomy. Most are apathetic. Many are environmentally aware (one could say the national curriculum is indoctrinating children with the GP line!) and its that which we need to tap into. NEW GREEN POLITICS - not old grey.

I would hope the GP had someone at yesterday's rally. In case not perhaps someone could pass this report to them. I must get on with my preparations - I am going to Palestine tomorrow.

Stephen Petter.