Paul Hilder, Campaign Director
07879 424547 / paul@Vote4Peace.org.uk
February 21, 2005
£100,000 defence fund for anti-war MPs
Daphna Baram and David Hencke
Disillusioned Labour voters will be urged to rally behind anti-war rebel MPs or elect Liberal Democrats standing in Tory marginal seats in May's general election by a campaign launched tomorrow.
Vote4Peace.org.uk is to target 40 marginal seats, including many where Labour or Liberal Democrat MPs face being ousted by Tories, and will provide volunteers and donations from its £100,000 budget to help them stay in parliament. The organisation is also targeting Tory shadow cabinet members and backing Adam Price, the Plaid Cymru MP who led the campaign to impeach Tony Blair over Iraq.
The group said its funding came from disillusioned Labour supporters.
The organisation is the second to announce a campaign targeting marginal seats. Jeremy Sweeney, a former lobbyist, is trying to oust 51 anti-hunting MPs in a campaign reflecting the views of the Countryside Alliance.
Vote4Peace.org.uk will place advertisements in the Guardian, New Statesman and local media. It is an initiative coming out of Waging Peace, whose leaders were behind the Just Say Sorry, Tony campaign over Iraq last year, and have been seeking intervention in the Darfur conflict in Sudan.
The first advertisements, to be published tomorrow, are headed Next Stop Iran? No More Iraqs.
Paul Hilder, campaign director, said: "Candidates who had the courage to raise their voices against the folly in Iraq shall be rewarded. The supporters of illegitimate war and occupation must acknowledge their mistakes, and be held accountable."
February 21, 2005
Anti-war voters urged to think tactically
Voters opposed to the Iraq war are being urged to think tactically - particularly in marginal constituencies.
A newly launched off-shoot of the international Waging Peace campaign - which campaigns for world peace in the nuclear age - is appealing for those disillusioned with the war in Iraq to back a cross-party slate of anti-war MPs in the upcoming general election.
Vote4Peace has selected a slate of 40 anti-war MPs from the Labour Party, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and SNP who it believes are committed to "peace and legitimacy".
It hopes to gather volunteers in target constituencies as well as raise donations for under-funded candidates.
MPs to receive its backing include Plaid Cymru MP Adam Price who launched a campaign to impeach Tony Blair, Liberal Democrat defence spokesman Paul Keetch, and prominent anti-war Labour MP Ann Cryer.
It explains the absence of Conservative MPs or candidates from its slate by saying that very few opposed the war in Iraq, and none of those are in marginal constituencies.
Vote4Peace claims inspiration from non-party anti-war platforms in the USA such as MoveOn.
Exactly how much money the organisation has at its disposal is unclear. The Guardian claims that it has about £100,000, but its campaign director Paul Hilder told his web-blog that the campaign doesn't have that much money.
He said that the campaign is not about money but "it's actually about the people: the many not the few, the moderate majority of Brits who believe in peace and legitimacy but despair for the realisation of their dream.
"Vote4Peace. Our try, some of us, at building a politics of peace and legitimacy, rather than just crying after that which has evaporated."