'Socialist Steve' making an impact in Doncaster mayoral campaign
It's been a great first week for Steve Williams' Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) campaign for the mayor of Doncaster. Steve won the drawing of lots so his election address will appear first in the mayoral booklet that will be posted out to all 220,000 voters. He is currently in the lead in the on-line poll being run by the Doncaster Free Press.
More importantly, Steve is winning support on the ground. The local RMT rail union branch is strongly backing TUSC, and TUSC backed the Northern Rail guards on their strike picket line on Saturday before petitioning in the town centre to Keep Guards on Trains.
As chair of the Doncaster District & Bassetlaw UNISON health branch, Steve has the backing of Care UK workers who three years ago took 90 days strike action against pay cuts and the privatisation of the NHS (see picture above). Now the Doncaster NHS Clinical Commissioning Group has announced more rationing of routine operations and procedures, and this is before the 'Sustainability and Transformation Plans' (STP) cuts are implemented.
On the streets, there is no enthusiasm for the incumbent Labour mayor, Ros Jones. Members of the public have described her to us as a 'nodding dog' who has just rolled over and carried out the Tory government cutbacks. There have been £106 million cuts over the last four years in Doncaster, closing residential homes, day care centres, libraries and leisure facilities.
There is a real feeling that Labour in Doncaster is not standing up for local people. Significantly, several Labour Party members have said that they will be voting for Steve. But where Labour candidates back Jeremy Corbyn, like in Steve's own local ward of Conisbrough, then TUSC is not standing candidates against them for the council seats.
With only five other mayoral candidates, TUSC is getting more media coverage than in the past. Steve's even been invited to hustings at the Doncaster Chamber of Commerce conference - it will be interesting to see how TUSC's campaign to make 'Donny a £10 an hour' minimum wage town goes down with 200 businesspeople! On the other hand, many smaller businesses are being clobbered by the big banks - including their local branch network closure programme - and a national business rate revaluation that privileges multi-national companies like Amazon. We'll see.
Come to the TUSC pre-election public meeting on Tuesday 2 May, starting at 7pm, at the Danum Hotel, High Street, Doncaster DN1 1DN.
Speakers will include Steve Williams and Dave Nellist, the former Labour MP who is now the national chair of TUSC.
For more information contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org