The next meeting of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) all-Britain steering committee will be held on Wednesday May 17th.
Available in the following link (http://www.tusc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/Draft-Results-Report.pdf) is a draft version of the report by the National Election Agent that will form the basis of the discussion at the committee of the TUSC performance in the English local elections that took place last Thursday, on May 4th.
This is a statistical report, continuing the series begun by TUSC in 2011, in the interests of transparency and an honest accounting of strengths and weaknesses, of publishing the detailed results of every candidate that appeared on the ballot paper under the coalition’s name.
Political analysis of the campaign in its wider context will no doubt be produced by the component supporters of TUSC in the coming days and inform the discussion at the steering committee. That is in the nature of TUSC as a coalition of different political forces united at bottom by their agreement to provide an umbrella for trade unionists, community campaigners and socialists of different organisations or none, to fight together at the ballot box against the establishment politicians.
This report, however, is primarily a statistical digest of the campaign, on which a political analysis can be based.
On Thursday 27th April the former Labour MP Emma Dent Coad announced “after a great deal of soul-searching” that she was resigning from the Labour Party after nearly 40 years of membership. Another Socialist Campaign Group MP who, in her time in the House of Commons from 2017-2019 was part of the small minority within the Parliamentary Labour Party who firmly supported Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, is no longer a party member.
Emma, a Kensington and Chelsea councillor since 2006, won the Kensington parliamentary seat in one of the upsets of the 2017 general election, overturning a Tory majority of 7,361 in a never-Labour-before seat to win by 20 votes, recording a 10.6% swing. Days later the country was rocked by the Grenfell Tower fire in her constituency, which she denounced as an “entirely preventable tragedy” resulting from Tory policies locally and nationally and New Labour’s effective complicity with them.
Two years on, after a concerted media campaign to promote the former Tory minister turned Liberal Democrat Sam Gyimah as the main challenger to the Conservatives in Kensington, she narrowly lost the seat, by 150 votes. Gyimah finished third and now serves on the board of Goldman Sachs International Bank – while last October, Emma Dent Coad, despite the backing of the Unite union, was excluded from the ‘long list’ of potential candidates to contest the seat once again. Now she has resigned and we print below her statement, first published on the Labour Hub website at https://labourhub.org.uk/2023/04/27/not-welcome-here/
Candidates from the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) in this week’s English local elections are standing on a positive platform of using councils’ powers and resources to open up a new front in the battle against the cost-of-living crisis (see https://www.tusc.org.uk/18435/07-03-2023/tuscs-core-policy-platform-for-the-may-2023-local-elections/). But a vote for TUSC, where there is the opportunity to do so in the elections on Thursday, is also a vote in solidarity with those like Emma Dent Coad who, in her words, “can no longer be complicit with the current trajectory” of Keir Starmer’s new New Labour party.
Candidates from the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) in next week’s English local elections will be adding their support to the ‘May Day weekend mega-strikes’ taking place from Thursday April 27th to Tuesday May 2nd.
This is the latest round of action by teachers, nurses and civil servants in the ongoing battle against the cost-of-living crisis – it could, however, potentially be the last set of strikes to be held before the government’s new anti-union Minimum Service Levels Bill comes into law, as it goes through its final stages in parliament.
The new law will allow Secretaries of State within six sectors – the health services; education; transport; fire and rescue; nuclear safety; and border staff – to make ‘minimum service regulations’ empowering employers to issue a ‘Work Notice’ to a trade union specifying which individuals they require to continue to work during a strike.
If a union “fails to take reasonable steps” to ensure that its members identified in a Work Notice follow an instruction to work, it will lose its protection from liability and subsequent claims for damages. An individual worker continuing to take part in a strike contrary to a Work Notice instruction will lose their current automatic protection from unfair dismissal.
This is a draconian attack on workers’ rights which must be resisted at every level – including by Labour-controlled public employers in local government education, transport and fire and rescue authorities, and the Welsh government. The Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf promised the Scottish TUC Congress on April 17th that the Scottish government “will never issue or enforce a single work notice” under the new legislation. So why not the Labour First Minister of Wales, the London Mayor Sadiq Khan, or the Labour ‘Metro-Mayors’ of Liverpool, Manchester, North Tyne, South Yorkshire, the West of England and West Yorkshire?
Or the Labour council candidates standing in the local elections on May 4th?
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) all-Britain steering committee today issued an Open Letter to the Green Party urging them to declare that they will not stand a candidate in the Islington North parliamentary constituency if Jeremy Corbyn decides to contest the seat independently of the Labour Party at the next general election.
The TUSC national chairperson Dave Nellist, a former Labour backbench colleague of Jeremy Corbyn from 1983-1992, said:
“It is clear that the move instigated by Sir Keir Starmer to debar Jeremy from standing again as a Labour candidate is not just about rejecting him as an individual but his radical policies too”.
“As the Open Letter from the TUSC steering committee to the Green Party co-leaders argues, in a situation where the Labour Party under Keir Starmer is not an alternative to the Tories but an alternative Tory Party, how other parties respond to a prospective independent candidacy by Jeremy Corbyn will say volumes about them too”.
“Jeremy has not stated his intentions yet regarding the next election but I hope he does decide to stand. He would win wide support in his constituency and nationally too if he did so. And if, as I hope, along with even just a couple of unions he was to initiate a new democratically-organised party in preparation for his stand, I would wager it would be the third largest in the country, with 100,000 members, within a week!”
In its April 2nd edition The Observer published an article by Andrew Anthony, a journalist at the Sunday paper’s sister publication, The Guardian, since 1990, under the heading, ‘Jeremy Corbyn’s last stand: should he run and could he win?’
The article included a reference to “when Militant-supporting MPs Dave Nellist and Terry Fields were deselected as Labour candidates in 1992”. By using the word ‘deselected’ – a specific procedure in the Labour Party when local party members have the opportunity to remove their sitting MP – rather than the correct term, which is ‘expelled’ (by the national party over the heads of the local members), the article is misleading.
Andrew Anthony, who was around at the time, should know this. Terry and Dave were prominent parliamentary representatives of the mass campaign of non-payment of the poll tax, the critical factor behind the resignation of Margaret Thatcher in November 1990. Terry was actually jailed for 60 days for refusing to pay the tax in solidarity with his working class constituents who couldn’t pay. Labour, under Neil Kinnock, ‘opposed’ the poll tax verbally but, much like Sir Keir Starmer’s ‘disagreement’ with austerity today, went along with its implementation.
But if Andrew Anthony had genuinely forgotten what happened at least a ‘progressive’ publication like The Observer would print a corrective letter, surely? The late Terry Fields is not here to defend himself but Dave Nellist, a member of the Socialist Party, the Militant’s successor, and the chair of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), is. And so Dave sent a letter for The Observer’s April 9th edition, setting the record straight but also urging Jeremy to stand as a candidate in the next general election.
But encouraging in any way a bold stand against the capitalist establishment’s austerity consensus is a little too much for its ‘liberal’ media arm. So we are publishing Dave’s letter below. Because The Observer wouldn’t. ■
TUSC’s local election campaign in Leicester, Britain’s tenth biggest city, has won the support of three former Labour councillors, who will be appearing on the ballot paper under the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition name and logo on May 4th.
TUSC’s stand against the austerity consensus of all the establishment parties is headed by Steve Score, the candidate for the city’s directly-elected mayor. Steve’s election address, which will be included in the booklet that will go to every household in the city, can be viewed at http://www.tusc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/Steve4Mayor-election-address.pdf
Also standing as TUSC candidates are former Labour councillors Wayne Naylor (in Braunstone & Rowley Fields ward) and Barbara Potter (Humberstone & Hamilton), and the sitting councillor Ruma Ali, who was one of the 19 Leicester councillors who were removed as Labour candidates by the national party just weeks before the elections.
Days before the outrageous decision of Labour’s national executive committee (NEC) to bar Jeremy Corbyn from standing for the party again, 19 Leicester councillors were informed that they too were no longer eligible to stand as Labour candidates, in this case in the upcoming local elections on May 4th.
Another councillor, Gary O’Donnell, had already left Labour after voting against the cuts budget proposed by the city’s right-wing Labour mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby, and a huge hike in district heating charges on a number of estates.
Not all of the 19 councillors now excluded by the national Labour Party have by any means adopted the same anti-austerity stance, even within the Labour Group of councillors. Old scores between different groups of right-wingers are also being settled in this purge. But what is clear is that, in the name of allegedly ‘cleaning up the party’, even the mildest left-wing dissenting voices have now been silenced.
In this situation the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) all-Britain steering committee has offered a hand of solidarity to the debarred councillors, sending them a letter following our meeting on March 22nd. In particular, as the letter explains, offering them a way to overcome the problem they faced, if they still wished to stand in May’s election, of how best they could describe their position on the ballot paper.
The 4 May elections in England will see contests in 229 councils. The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) will be standing candidates in hundreds of seats to say that there is an alternative to Tory and Labour public service cuts and council tax rises.
Published below is a shortened and edited version of the opening contribution made by the TUSC national chairperson Dave Nellist to the discussion on the core policies platform (the common ground between all those who want to stand as TUSC candidates in the May local elections) at the TUSC conference on 4 February:
“There should be nothing inevitable about the poverty and suffering that has impacted working-class families by the cost-of-living crisis”.
“We know that trade unions are winning victories against individual employers. But there is another force within society that could be part of the working-class fightback: local government itself. As someone who spent 14 years as a Socialist Party councillor on Coventry City Council, I took inspiration from several battles of the past”.
“For example, Poplar council in east London in 1921. There, Labour councillors defied the government, the courts, and the Labour Party leadership. They called for the council to receive more income to tackle the area’s high unemployment, hunger and poverty, and to raise council workers’ wages, including equal pay for women workers. Three of the policies in the TUSC platform for May’s elections (see below) directly echo their struggle”.
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) steering committee has approved the first batch of 86 candidates to contest the local council elections in May – and appealed for more to come forward, not least to send a clear message to Sir Keir Starmer after his announcement that Jeremy Corbyn will not stand again for Labour, that socialists are not going away at election time!
Starmer is not just removing Jeremy Corbyn from the revived Tony Blair-style New Labour party but his policies challenging ‘the rigged system’ too. Everything is being done to reassure the establishment that their free market, profit-before-people system – capitalism by its proper name – will be safe in New Labour’s hands.
Some may argue that even Starmer-type Labour politicians are at least more susceptible to our concerns than the Tories. But actually, they will only ‘look over their left shoulder’ if they feel challenged there. On the picket line, certainly, but also at the ballot box – starting in May.
The 2023 conference of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is being held at London’s Birkbeck College on Saturday 4th February.
The conference, open to all TUSC supporters to attend, will discuss plans for both the general election and the local elections taking place in May 2023.
Under the title, ‘Starmer’s heading for Number Ten: What should we do at the general election?’, the opening session of the conference will include a broad discussion on what attitude trade unionists and socialists should take to the next general election, that must be held no later than the end of 2024.
The November meeting of the All-Britain Steering Committee of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) agreed to step up preparations for the elections coming up in the period ahead.
These include the 2023 local elections in England which will see over 7,500 councillors elected (see the TUSC directory at https://www.tusc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/473.pdf for the councils going to the polls in May), a bigger battleground in terms of seats to be contested than in either 2021 or 2022. But also, of course, there is the general election, which must be called by the end of 2024 but may well be held much earlier.
With the Labour Party on course with its plan to have a full list of its general election candidates in place by spring 2023, one proposal the TUSC steering committee agreed was for local delegations to be organised to Labours prospective parliamentary candidates (PPCs) to see where they stand on the policies needed to meet the cost-of-living crisis that we face.
A model letter to Labour PPCs was approved highlighting six policy areas where the pledges made in the 2019 general election manifesto under Jeremy Corbyns leadership would go far in beginning to reverse the capitalist political establishments austerity agenda. Sir Keir Starmer, we know, has made it clear that he has put the last manifesto to one side. The slate is wiped clean. There is no prospect of radical change there.
But where do the local candidates stand? And if they cant commit to even the policies that many of them were elected on just three years ago, how can they expect not to be challenged at the ballot box by trade unionists, socialists and anti-austerity campaigners who will?
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) has stepped up its campaign to get a serious discussion going amongst trade union members, community and social movement campaigners, and socialists from any party or none, on how a working class alternative can be put in place for the next general election.
The autumn tour of TUSC-hosted forums under the heading, Enough is Enough! But what do we do at the ballot box?, has kicked off with successful meetings in Southampton, Wakefield and Newcastle. Further dates have been organised (see https://www.tusc.org.uk/events) and the TUSC steering committee is offering support to anyone prepared to get something going themselves if there isnt a meeting nearby.
This includes supplies of the TUSC leaflet (see https://www.tusc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/476.pdf to view the text, and https://www.tusc.org.uk/resources for how to order) and a model letter to trade union branches - from the TUSC national chairperson and former Labour MP, Dave Nellist, and the TUSC national election agent Clive Heemskerk - which is available at https://www.tusc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/477.pdf.