Posted: 15 October 2013
AS GEORGE Osborne announced a further 10% cut in council funding for 2015-16 in this summer's public spending review, Tory Party chairman, Grant Shapps, ridiculed councillors for the 'good work' they were doing in "cutting their cloth more intelligently".
"When we said [in 2010] we would reduce their budgets by 26% over four years, we were told councils would be going bust by this stage" but they haven't, he mocked. "I think they can do another 10%". (The Guardian, 26 June 2013) There couldn't be a clearer answer to the idea that councils should accept the cuts in the hope that things will get better in the future. The dismantling of local public services will continue in the age of austerity unless we have trade unionists, socialists and working class community campaigners as councillors who are prepared to fight back.
Shapps' claim that council services aren't really 'cash-strapped' is, of course, completely untrue. Recent research from the Leonard Cheshire Disability charity shows that six out of ten councils are now commissioning 15-minute maximum home care visits for elderly and disabled people, with the number of such visits rising by 15% since 2008. Meanwhile the number of people who got any council-funded support in their own homes fell from 958,000 in 2009-10 to 802,000 in 2011-12.
Posted: 3 October 2013
THE WARRINGTON rebel councillor Kevin Bennett, who was suspended from the Labour Party earlier this year for voting against cuts, has issued an Open Letter to Labour councillors in the North West as council budgets for 2014-15 begin to be discussed.
As Kevin says in his letter, councillors don't have to carry out the Con-Dems cuts. This February the Southampton rebel councillors, Keith Morrell and Don Thomas (now members of the TUSC national Steering Committee) presented an alternative budget to their council's budget-making meeting. Their proposals met the legal requirements of a balanced budget at least for the 2013-14 financial year - it was not a 'deficit budget'. Scandalously, however, the Labour councillors refused to even allow it to be debated (see http://www.tusc.org.uk/press180213.php ).
But the fact was they had a choice - councillors don't have to vote for cuts.
Posted: 1 October 2013
THE Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidate Ray Smith won 27% of the vote in last Thursday's by-election for the Rossall ward of Fleetwood Town council in Lancashire.
GMB union member Ray stood to oppose the Tory-Liberal government destroying public services and led a campaign to keep the local hospital open. Ray used to be a Labour councillor (from 1995-1999) but joined TUSC because Labour was not defending working and vulnerable people.
As one of Ray's supporters said to TUSC election campaigners: "There's a lot of anxiety at the savage attack on people living in poverty, with disabilities, in fact all vulnerable people, by the Coalition government. I feel so disillusioned that Ed Miliband is not standing up for us or challenging David Cameron on his attack on the poor. Amnesty have condemned the Coalition for their attack on the disabled. Why can't Ed Miliband?"
Posted: 11 September 2013
FOLLOWING ON from Ed Miliband's speech at the TUC on Tuesday ex-Labour MP Dave Nellist, now chairperson of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), said: "I've spoken to TUC delegates who told me that the room was so quiet during Miliband's speech you could hear the penny dropping for many more trade union members.
"Ed Miliband has proven time and again that he does not want the Labour Party to represent organised workers within the trade union movement - and his policies don't represent the interests of the workers and their families. Only last week Labour were forced to admit that there was no grounds for the suspension of trade union members in Falkirk - but that hasn't stopped Labour pouncing on these events to further divorce the unions from the party they set up.
"The GMB cut their funding to Labour to represent the numbers who took part in the Labour leadership contest - a cut of nearly 90%. This shows that there is no enthusiasm for continuing the link with Labour.
Posted: 10 September 2013
Do we need a new party to reflect the working people of Britain? As Labour prepares for a bruising clash with the unions, could a left-wing UKIP become a reality? asks The Guardian's John Harris at http://www. theguardian.com /politics/2013/ sep/09/ time-for-leftwing-ukip-labour
Ever since the general election of 2010, British politics has been in a very curious state of flux. Public mistrust in politicians runs rampant. After one inconclusive contest, the idea that neither Labour nor the Tories will have a majority of seats in 2015 is now common currency. What will happen to the Lib Dems is uncertain: they will almost certainly be thumped at the ballot box, but could once again hold the balance of power. Next year sees both the Scottish referendum on independence, and the European elections that might see Ukip finishing first.
Posted: 7 September 2013
THE Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee, meeting this week after the summer break, made a special welcome for two new members, the Southampton 'rebel councillors' Keith Morrell and Don Thomas, who were expelled from the Labour Party last year for opposing council cuts.
Don was elected as a councillor for Southampton's Coxford ward in 2007 and re-elected in 2011 (having first stood as a Labour candidate in the area in 2002).
Keith joined him on the council in 2010, having also previously been a Southampton council candidate for Labour from 2006. Both members of Unite, their record in the labour movement is exemplary.
Posted: 23 August 2013
Former Labour councillor Ray Smith has been selected as prospective candidate by the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) to fight the forthcoming town council by-election in the Rossall ward of Fleetwood, Lancashire on 26 September.
Despite the best efforts of some in the area (see below), Ray forced the election to be called after a sitting town councillor resigned.
GMB union member Ray is standing to oppose this Tory-Liberal government destroying our public services.
Posted: 4 August 2013
TRADE UNIONIST and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidate Jaime Davies polled a very creditable 9.7% share of the vote in last Thursday's by-election for the Penyrheol division of Caerphilly council.
Plaid Cymru won the by-election with 929 votes, increasing its share of the vote compared to when the seat was last contested in May 2012, but saw its actual vote fall by 432, as turnout slumped to 20%.
Labour was second with 554 votes - 520 votes down on May 2012 and with a 5% reduced share - while the Tories came in last, behind TUSC, with 135 votes.
Posted: 27 July 2013
THURSDAY 25th July saw a council by-election in the Tulse Hill ward of the south London borough of Lambeth.
Labour retained the seat with 69% of the vote, increasing the gap between them and the Liberal Democrats (on 12%), whose vote share fell from 28% at the last full council elections in May 2010.
Third place on Thursday went to the Greens with 177 votes (7.7%) - but this didn't represent an increase in their support.
Posted: 19 July 2013
Rugby and Lutterworth Observer, 18 July 2013
First two candidates declare themselves for 2015 election
THE first two candidates to challenge Mark Pawsey for his job as Rugby MP have been named - two years ahead of the next general election.
Posted: 17 July 2013
LAST WEEK'S council by-election in Brighton's Hanover and Elm Grove ward saw only the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) and UKIP increase their vote since the last time there was an election here, in May 2011.
Against a background of a week-long strike in the local City Clean depot by GMB workers fighting pay cuts of up to Â£4,000 being imposed by Brighton's Green-led council, it was a tightly fought contest.
In a previously solid Green seat, the Labour Party narrowly won but both parties saw their vote fall, the Greens by nearly 1,500 from their 2011 score. Labour increased its percentage share but actually lost over 250 votes.
Posted: 16 July 2013
Interview with Dave Nellist, BBC website, 13 July 2013, reposted on TUSC website 8 December 2013
As many MPs rush to condemn proposals to give them an 11% pay rise, few have taken the lead of the former member for Coventry South.
From his election in 1983 to his deselection by Labour in 1992, Dave Nellist kept less than half his salary.
Posted: 15 July 2013
SATURDAY'S Durham Miners' Gala (13th July) was the first time in 115 years there hadn't been a Labour MP speaking from the platform said Davie Hopper, general secretary of the Durham Miners' Association.
Huge applause followed when he went on to say it was probably just as well considering recent events.
But the massive crowd gave warm support to TUSC national steering committee member Bob Crow, RMT transport union general secretary, who called for the trade union movement to work for the creation of 'a new party of labour' to challenge head on the pro-business, anti-worker agenda of the three main political parties, Tory, Labour, and the Liberal Democrats.
Posted: 8 July 2013
Anti-poll tax campaigner Steve Nally is standing for TUSC in Tulse Hill, Lambeth, South London, on 25th July.
The old traditions of struggle are once again coming to the fore in Lambeth, which stood with Liverpool against Thatcher's cuts to local government.
Re-visiting old supporters to get nominations to stand, TUSC candidate Steve Nally, standing in the Tulse Hill by-election, was rebuffed by just one, only to receive a call the following day to say that, angry with Labour's choice of candidate, he wanted to nominate Steve after all.
Posted: 8 July 2013
Two pictures of the meeting and the prospective candidates who volunteered to stand for TUSC in Waltham Forest in 2014.
The prospective candidates who volunteered to stand for TUSC.
Waltham Forest TUSC Local elections 2014 press launch
Posted: 6 July 2013
THE ANNUAL conference (annual general meeting) of the RMT transport workers' union met in Brighton at the end of June, with the central themes being the continued attacks on jobs, pay and pensions, and the horrors of privatised and casualised transport industries.
But part of the solution to these problems is the need to build a political movement that will support workers' rights and a clear alternative to the failed policies of the current Con-Dem and previous Labour governments.
The debate this year on continuing support for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) bought out many of these issues and heavily rejected a call for the union to return to supporting the Labour Party.
Posted: 5 July 2013
JULY'S MEETING of the TUSC national steering committee discussed a 'half-term report' on the results achieved by TUSC candidates in council by-elections in the first half of 2013.
The results from the seventeen by-elections contested by TUSC in that period are listed below.
A total of 35,007 electors have voted in these contests, with TUSC's aggregate score of 1,266 votes representing 3.6% of all the ballots cast.
Posted: 5 July 2013
Posted: 26 June 2013
Waltham Forest Guardian, Tuesday 25th June 2013
The Trade Unionists and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is looking for candidates to contest the 2014 elections in every ward of Waltham Forest.
The anti-cuts group is opposing all main parties because of their support for slashing public spending, and it is looking for trade unionists, community campaigners and others willing to stand as TUSC representatives in each ward.
Posted: 26 June 2013
Newham Recorder, Monday, June 24, 2013
Campaigners marched on the Town Hall last week to urge councillors not to evict people hit by government housing cuts.
Around a dozen protesters from newly-formed No Bedroom Tax in Newham (NBTN) loudly lobbied cabinet members as they made their way to a meeting on Thursday to get them to refuse to enforce the policy.
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