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Monday 29 September 2014

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TUSC in the thick of it - well, at least in the Guardian

Thanks are due to Ian Martin, one of the writers of the savage political satire The Thick of It, for his recent article in the Guardian from this year's Labour Party conference (see http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/sep/23/ian-martin-labour-conference-thick-of-it ).

Firstly because he uses his piece to explain once again - if not exactly in Malcolm Tucker terms but near enough - just how spineless the alleged 'official opposition' to the Con-Dems have become. But also, in pondering what possible alternatives there might be, for name-checking TUSC and one of our co-founders, in Ian's words, "the late great Bob Crow".

TUSC chair Dave Nellist sent in a letter to the Guardian to let its readers know that TUSC is intending to stand even more widely next May - for both the general and the local elections - than we did this year, when we fielded the biggest-ever left-of-Labour working class electoral challenge for 60 years (see http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/sep/24/labour-conference-message-offers-left-little-hope ).

The final irony is to be found in one of the other letters published responding to Ian's article, objecting to his 'spineless opposition' characterisation, from the former Newcastle Labour council leader, Jeremy Beecham, now in the House of Lords. Trying to argue that Labour "will make a huge difference" to "the people who live in the thick of it", Lord Beecham mentions the end of the bedroom tax, new council house building, "dealing with the problems of the private rented sector", and "above all fairer funding for local council services slashed by the Tory/Lib Dem government".

But these are all policies that Labour councils, with the necessary political will to resist the government and backed up by the Labour front bench, could have implemented over the last four years, as TUSC has consistently argued (see http://www.tusc.org.uk/17024/04-09-2014/guardian-article-confirms-tusc-policy-councils-can-resist-austerity-if-they-choose as an example). Isn't the fact that Labour doesn't fight to defend local services - and instead chooses to implement the Con-Dems' cuts - the very definition of 'spinelessness'?