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Thursday 27 March 2014

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TUSC election challenge reaches 349 candidates and counting

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) local election challenge has now reached 349 candidates, after another 98 applications to stand under the TUSC umbrella in May's local elections were approved this week by the national steering committee.

The number of councils where TUSC candidates will be fighting seats has now risen to 69, out of the 160 councils with elections in May. There are currently ten councils where TUSC will be standing in at least ten seats, and in Coventry and Portsmouth every seat will be contested, with nine RMT members coming forward as candidates in the later.

A full list of the candidates approved so far, broken down into regions and including this week's applications, can be found at www.tusc.org.uk/txt/289.pdf.

However, we still need to get application forms in as soon as possible to get as close as possible to the broadcasting authorities' 'fair coverage' threshold of 625 candidates.

It's clear from the mainstream media's coverage of the tragic death of TUSC co-founder Bob Crow that we are going to have to fight for 'fair coverage' from the BBC and others.

The media couldn't ignore the outpouring of grief by working class people at Bob's death. But they responded by developing a line that Bob was 'not political'. The BBC's website was typical in carrying a piece by one of its political journalists John Moylan stating that "Mr Crow was not a member of any political party when he died" (see http://www.tusc.org.uk/16934/12-03-2014/bob-crow-tusc-steering-committee-member-2010-14-in-his-own-words ).

A formal complaint was made about this article, and the general coverage by the BBC of Bob's political activities, by Clive Heemskerk, TUSC's National Election Agent, and two days later it was amended to include a quote from TUSC national chairperson, Dave Nellist.

Then, on March 26, TUSC received an official reply from the BBC's Complaints department. In a Kafkaesque response they state: "we've looked at some of our articles which don't mention Bob Crow's connection to the TUSC but equally the article [by John Moylan] does". In other words the only thing they could find to defend their coverage was the very article which we complained about because it's original text explicitly said that Bob was not a member of a political party! The letter continues, stating that on this basis, "we don't feel Bob Crow's connection to the TUSC connection [sic] has went unmentioned [sic] in our coverage".

What is the solution to breaking the mainstream media's boycott of the anti-austerity socialist alternative? One step is to join the 349 people who have put themselves forward to date and become a TUSC candidate on May 22nd. There's still time to do it.


To apply to be a TUSC local election candidate complete the council candidate authorisation application form available on the Candidates page of the TUSC website at http://www.tusc.org.uk/candidates.php and e-mail it to Clive Heemskerk, the TUSC National Election Agent, at cliveheemskerk@socialistparty.org.uk