HomeLatest NewsThe strange case of the disappearing TUSC Against Cuts emblem

The strange case of the disappearing TUSC Against Cuts emblem

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Postal voters received their election packs in mid-April.  But in the six wards being contested by Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidates in the Hertfordshire borough of Broxbourne they were given ballot papers which were missing the TUSC Against Cuts ‘party emblem’. 

The bold TUSC Against Cuts logo is a clear signifier of the policies TUSC candidates fight for.  It stands out on ballot papers against the Labour rose, the Conservatives’ tree emblem, and the Liberal Democrats’ bird-in-flight symbol.  But not on the original papers prepared in Broxbourne.

A sample of the ballot paper sent to Broxbourne postal voters – with the TUSC emblem missing.

Realising its mistake – candidates’ have a legal right to have the emblem of the party they are standing for printed on the ballot paper – the council has sent out replacement postal vote packs and correctly ruled that any of the original ballot papers that are returned will not be counted.  But obviously people apply for postal votes for various reasons, including being away from their home, and some electors will inevitably have lost the chance to vote.

And the question remains.  Why was the TUSC emblem omitted in the first place?  Not just from one candidate’s ballot paper, but from all of the TUSC candidates in Broxbourne, contesting a majority (six) of the borough’s ten wards?  On the other hand, the two UKIP candidates in the borough had their emblem included – out of the grand total of 14 council candidates that UKIP is standing across the whole of England on May 2nd compared to 280 for TUSC. 

Possibly this is an example of how bias in wider society can be reflected in AI programmes!  But more likely, some sentient being at some point made the decision to include the establishment parties’ emblems on the ballot papers (including UKIP), but not the TUSC one.

Stand up for local democracy

The reality is that all the establishment politicians – and often their senior management accomplices – are showing an ever greater discomfort with local democracy.  There are actually only 107 councils this year with local elections.  Compared even as recently with 2012, on the same four-yearly cycle as this year’s contests, there are 29 councils which then held annual elections – for one-third of the councillors usually – which have since moved to elections once every four years.  They have  all chosen to make themselves more remote and less accountable to local voters.

These include Labour-led authorities like Liverpool, Bristol, Warrington, Slough, St Helens, Doncaster, Wirral, Rotherham, and Birmingham – currently making the biggest cuts in local government history.  At least it can be said for Tory-led Broxbourne council that, while someone there was uncomfortable with including the TUSC emblem, they still hold annual elections!

With councils responsible for one-fifth of all public spending, TUSC has always taken local democracy seriously, with a fighting programme of core policies that could see councillors be an important part of a fightback against austerity politics (see https://www.tusc.org.uk/20023/13-01-2024/tuscs-core-policy-platform-for-the-may-2024-local-elections-2/). 

So where you can – not just in Broxbourne but in the nearly one-in-seven council wards that has a trade unionist and socialist candidate this year – why not send a message on May 2nd by voting TUSC? ■  

* The full list of TUSC candidates can be found at https://www.tusc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/Final-TUSC-list.pdf.  A further list of 62 other recommended stop the cuts and stop the war council candidates who are, at this stage, standing outside the TUSC umbrella, is available at https://www.tusc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/Other-Candidates.pdf

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