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Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
December 3rd 2012
Tweet of the day from Mark Steel: “Surely in these times of austerity he should have been neutered to avoid the cost of another one on the civil list”
New TUSC broadsheet available
An appeal to anti-austerity campaigners: we need council candidates to stand up to the Con-Dems! Why not you?
A new A3 folded TUSC broadsheet is now available, appealing for candidates to contest next May’s local elections. It includes the TUSC ‘core policy platform’ for council elections and a brief introduction to what the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition is. Ideal for distributing to trade unionists and anti-cuts campaigners looking for a chance to fight back: £3-00 for 80 copies £5-00 for 150 copies £9-00 for 300 copies. Cheques payable to Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, and sent to TUSC, 17 Colebert House, Colebert Avenue, London E1 4JP. Or use the PayPal donation facility on the TUSC website – at http://www.tusc.org.uk/donate.php – and send an e-mail with delivery details etc, to firstname.lastname@example.org
November by-elections round-up
THE TRADE Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) was set-up in 2010 to enable trade unionists, community campaigners and socialists to appear on the ballot paper in elections as something distinctly opposed to the establishment parties and their pro-austerity agenda. Otherwise, if not endorsed by a party registered with the Electoral Commission, opponents of austerity would only be able to appear as indistinguishable ‘Independents’. At the same time, TUSC exists to aid those fighting the long-term battle that is necessary, in the trade unions in particular, to re-establish independent working class political representation.
The candidates who came forward to take up the TUSC banner in November’s by-elections certainly fulfilled both tasks, and are to be congratulated for their stand.
In November 29’s eleven-candidate by-election contest in Rotherham Ralph Dyson, the joint divisional secretary of the local National Union of Teachers, polled 281 votes. On the same day John Malcolm, the secretary of the Tees, Esk & Wear Valley Unison Health branch, polled 277 votes in the Middlesbrough by-election. These contests followed the Manchester Central by-election on November 15, where TUSC was represented by Alex Davidson, the vice-chair of the PCS North West Region. Also on November 15 a TUSC candidate, Unite member Tom Baldwin, won 1,412 votes in the Bristol mayoral election – and candidates in three council by-elections, in Rugby, Liverpool and Manchester, polled from 3.9% to 2.2%.
The TUSC national Steering Committee is meeting in December and will discuss some of the broader issues arising from the November elections. Is there any significance in the fact that the Greens, with their higher profile, didn’t contest every seat (or that they polled 1.1% in Corby)? How should trade unionists and socialists respond to UKIP as a potential repository of protest votes (although interestingly the TUSC mayoral candidate in Liverpool this May, with 4,792 votes, polled ahead of the Tories and double the UKIP vote)? And then there were the Respect candidates, in Manchester (where TUSC outpolled Respect) and Rotherham (where ex-Sunday Express journalist Yvonne Ridley polled 1,778 votes for Respect). TUSC has previously pursued Respect to discuss possible electoral collaboration but they have not been prepared to talk (see TUSC-Respect correspondence) – what should be done now?
Overall, as we wrote earlier this month, “not too much can be drawn from a handful of electoral contests, either ‘writing off’
TUSC or exaggerating the possibilities at this stage. The most important fact is still the absence of a vehicle for working class political representation, given Labour’s broad acceptance of the capitalists’ austerity agenda. Standing in elections is part of the struggle to build one”. After the November election rush, with an unusually high number of parliamentary by-elections for one month, that’s still the case.
Middlesbrough parliamentary by-election
Labour 10,201; UKIP 1,990; Lib Dems 1,672; Conservative 1,063; Peace Party 1,060; BNP 328; TUSC 277 (1.6%); Independent 275.
Rotherham parliamentary by-election
Labour 9,966; UKIP 4,648; BNP 1,804; Respect 1,778; Conservative 1,157; ED 703; Independent 582; LD 451; TUSC 281 (1.3%); Independent 51; EDL 29.
Bristol Mayoral election
Bristol First 31,321; Labour 25,896; Conservative 8,136; Lib Dems 6,202; Green 5,248; Independent 2,404; Independent 1,855; Respect 1,568; Independent 1,413; TUSC 1,412 (1.6%); Independent 1,037; Independent 994; Independent 761; Independent 494; Independent 411.
Manchester Central parliamentary by-election
Labour 11,507; Lib Dems 1.571; Conservative 754; UKIP 749; Green 652; BNP 492; Pirate Party 308; TUSC 220 (1.3%); Respect 182; MRLP 78; People’s Democratic 71; Comm League 64.
Rugby council, New Bilton ward by-election
Labour 496; Conservative 192; Green 100; UKIP 82; Indpendent 56; Lib Dems 41; TUSC 39 (3.9%).
Liverpool council, Knotty Ash ward by-election
Labour 1,213; Lib Dems 149; Liberal 131; UKIP 101; English Democrats 50; TUSC 48 (2.7%); Conseravtive 40; Green 36.
Manchester council, Ardwick ward by-election
Labour 1,904; Green 120; Lib Dems 94; Conservative 92; UKIP 61; TUSC 52 (2.2%); BNP 43.
For a full breakdown of TUSC’s May election results, across more than 120 seats, see http://www.tusc.org.uk/pdfs/2012/TUSC_Results_Report.pdf)
TUSC’s Structure Commission to meet on Sat Dec 15th in Rugby – open to all TUSC supporters as well as with organisations and individuals who have made structure submissions
A one day meeting has been organised for Saturday 15 December as the next step in the ‘Reviewing TUSC’s Structures’ discussion, started at our September conference. A number of submissions had been received by the time of the conference and were presented as a preliminary report by the Reviewing TUSC’s Structures Commission (go to the TUSC website at http://www.tusc.org.uk/events190912.php and click on Structure Commission Report for a copy).
Now a one-day meeting has been organised where a more detailed examination of different arguments will be possible than in a large conference setting. This will be held at the United Railwaymen’s Club, 102 Railway Terrace, Rugby CV1 3HE, from 11-30am to 3pm, on Saturday December 15. The organisations and individuals who have made submissions so far will obviously have the first call in making their case but any TUSC supporter is able to participate in the meeting.
Rugby TUSC FUND RAISING SOCIAL- December 8th All Welcome
Organised jointly with Rugby Against the Cuts and the local Stop The War Coalition, this annual event takes place onSaturday December 8th, 8.30pm onwards at 25, Epsom Rd, Rugby CV22 7PF £4/2 entrance Foods from around the world, music, raffle, political conversation (!) all included. Please bring a bottle
From the Unions
RMT picture exposes five inch gap in track on East Coast mainline
The RMT today released a shocking picture which shows 5 inches of rail head crumbled away to nothing leaving a potentially lethal gap in the track on the InterCity East Coast Mainline at Colton Junction just south of York where normal running speeds at 125mph. The picture was taken at the beginning of last week http://bit.ly/WDIuwQ
Slashing spending means fire stations will close – putting public at increased risk, firefighters warn
Nearly seventy fire stations in England are at risk of closure and scores more throughout the UK face severe downgrading if the government presses ahead, as expected with unprecedented spending cuts, the Fire Brigades Union warns. http://bit.ly/R1uOiF
HMRC must do more to reflect public anger at tax dodgers
The government needs to do much more to reflect public anger over tax avoidance, PCS says as campaigners prepare to target Starbucks. http://bit.ly/SGehxz
1,200 workers vote on industrial action at leading West Midlands food company
About 1,200 workers at the 2 Sisters Food Group in the West Midlands are being balloted for industrial action in a dispute over pay and conditions, and a culture of alleged bullying. Unite, the largest union in the country, started balloting its members at the Bevan Way and Dial Lane sites in Smethwick, West Bromwich and the Lincoln Street plant in Wolverhampton on Friday, 23 November on whether they wish to take strike action or industrial action short of a strike. http://bit.ly/11pISVa
University applications continue to fall
Sally Hunt, general secretary of UCU, has responded to news that fewer people are applying to university, compared to this time last year. She said, 'It is rather concerning that the number of people applying to university appears to be continuing to fall. Everyone expected a drop last year after people postponed gap years in 2011 to get into university before higher fees. There is still time for the figures to recover, but it is a serious worry. 'The bottom line is that hiking fees up to £9,000 a year will put people off. http://bit.ly/Vgvjkx
The following document is the political platform on which Hugo Chavez successfully sought re-election as the president of Venezuela: http://links.org.au/node/3079
Green councillor explores scrapping council tax benefit for students and single people in a letter to Eric Pickles: http://bit.ly/UC9a3L
Richest 10% of UK households own 40% of wealth and are 850 times wealthier than bottom 10%, ONS says http://gu.com/p/3c8qv/tw
The public are way ahead of the government on attitude to tax dodgers, and have been for some time. http://bit.ly/SGehxy
New TUC research - Poor households will lose eight times as much as the richest ones if working age benefits frozen http://bit.ly/UBogXd
2,000 primary pupils arrested for naughtiness: http://bit.ly/11HTaiu
East Kent Keep Our NHS Public (KONP) Meeting
Tuesday 4 December 2012, 7:30pm St Peter's Church Hall, St Peter's Lane (next to Cricketers Pub), Canterbury CT1 2BQ http://bit.ly/YqP5Bk
Autumn Budget Statement Demonstrations
George Osborne’s autumn budget statement will set out huge cuts for the next financial year, with an extra £10bn-£16bn to be lopped off the welfare budget expected to be the big headline.
Wednesday 5 December 2012, 5:00pm High Street, Near Waterstones, Birmingham B4 7SL http://bit.ly/YHMa6e
Wednesday 5 December 2012, 6:00pm Brighton clock tower http://bit.ly/VgweSc
Lobby Barnet council’s cabinet over privatization and cuts
6 December 2012, 5:30pm Hendon Town Hall, Barnet, NW4, NW4 http://bit.ly/VgApwM
UK Uncut CALL OUT! 8 December: refuge from the cuts - target Starbucks!
Saturday 8 December 2012, 10:00am onwards, up and down the country http://bit.ly/ReAUvZ
Boycott workfare week of action against workfare
Saturday 8 December 2012 Up and down the country Take action 8th December onwards http://bit.ly/11Hs5fo
RUGBY TUSC SOCIAL
Saturday December 8th 8.30pm onwards at 25, Epsom Rd, Rugby CV22 7PF £4/2 entrance http://bit.ly/HqaK3E
You can find out more about TUSC at: http://www.tusc.org.uk/index.php
To donate to TUSC go here: http://www.tusc.org.uk/donate.php
TUSC aims to bring trade unionists, socialists and anti-cuts campaigners together to stand candidates at elections who are committed to representing working-class interests. Resistance to the cuts is vital, but we also need a political alternative to the policies of cuts and privatisation. TUSC believes that a new working-class party is needed that campaigns for a democratic socialist society run in the interests of the millions not the millionaires.
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