The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) was set-up in 2010, co-founded by the late Bob Crow, with the primary goal of enabling trade unionists, socialists, and working class social movement and community campaigners to stand candidates against pro-austerity establishment politicians.
Candidates who want to stand under the TUSC banner have autonomy to run their own campaigns. The only provision is that they are expected to endorse the TUSC core policy platform for the relevant election, which are discussed at TUSC conferences subject to the final agreement of the TUSC steering committee, encompassing the different component parts of the coalition (see How TUSC functions at http://www.tusc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/How-TUSC-Functions-September-2022.pdf).
The individual candidates and different organisations appearing on the ballot paper under the TUSC name and logo will almost certainly campaign for and promote far more issues than those covered in the core policies agreed for each election. That’s what being a coalition is about.
But what they will all do is fight to implement the core policies. Voters will know the minimum they can expect from any representative elected under the TUSC banner.
Whoever ends up in No.10, we want fighting councillors in our town halls!
The council elections that will take place on 2nd May 2024 will not be another routine set of polls for seats in the local town hall. They will be the last round of local elections before the general election, that must be called no later than December 2024 – if the contest to decide who will end up in Number Ten Downing Street is not, as it could be, held on the same day.
Whenever the general election is actually held, the councillors that we elect in May 2024 will effectively be our communities’ negotiators with the new government – for the funding we need to protect, improve and expand our vital local public services. But this will be against the backdrop of a funding crisis for councils, and clear signalling from all the establishment parties in parliament that the austerity squeeze on public spending will continue.
That’s why every vote for a Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) council candidate will be the clearest possible counter-signal we can give in the May local elections – whoever ends up in Number Ten, we want fighting councillors in our town halls!
The draft TUSC core policy platform for the next general election
For more than a decade Tory-led governments have looked after the interests of the elite and inflicted austerity and real-terms pay cuts on working-class people. There have been increasing inequalities since the financial crash and then Covid. The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) wants to see an end to Tory rule. However, there is unfortunately no prospect of a Starmer-led Labour government bringing an end to Tory policies of capitalist austerity and pay restraint.
TUSC argues that working-class people should not pay for a crisis that we did not cause. That was why our coalition was set up in 2010 co-founded by the late Bob Crow – then the general secretary of the RMT transport workers’ union – to show that there is a clear left-wing alternative to policies of public sector cuts, privatisation, pay restraint, militarism and environmental degradation.
After decades of experiencing successive pro-rich governments – of the Tories, the Tory and Liberal Democrat coalition, and New Labour – millions of people express their anger by not voting at all. Many believe that participating in electoral politics only provides a ready-made answer for establishment politicians to use against any criticism of their policies, that ‘people voted for it’. The result of abstaining, however, is to give the establishment parties free rein. Standing as a TUSC candidate, campaigning for TUSC candidates, and voting for TUSC where possible, is a far more effective means of fighting back.
TUSC has accepted from its start that there may be some Labour candidates who share our socialist aspirations and will be prepared to support measures that challenge the austerity consensus of the establishment politicians and we are not standing against them in this election. We welcomed Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour leader and did not contest the 2017 and 2019 general elections but instead campaigned for a Corbyn-led government.
However, under Sir Keir Starmer’s leadership, Tony Blair-style ‘New Labour’ politics once again completely dominate the party. Jeremy Corbyn’s anti-austerity manifesto has been jettisoned and he himself will not even be allowed to contest the next election as a Labour MP. In the majority of seats the only way to ensure that there is a working class anti-austerity socialist alternative on offer is by standing candidates independent of all the establishment parties, including Starmer’s Labour.
Every vote for trade union, socialist and anti-austerity candidates, including those standing under the TUSC umbrella, will put pressure on Labour to look over its left shoulder.
Unfortunately, whatever the outcome of the general election it is clear that the next government will act in the interests of the elite and not the working class. However, even an initially small block of MPs who were determined to provide a voice inside Westminster for the working class, would enormously strengthen workers’ struggles outside, and would be a step towards solving the crisis of working-class political representation.
To play this positive role though would require them to refuse to be part of any pro-capitalist coalition government. Instead they would need to maintain their independence, voting to further the interests of the working class at every stage, which is the fundamental, underlying policy of TUSC.
Our coalition is committed to providing a banner under which trade unionists, socialists, community and environmental campaigners can unite to contest elections around a pro-working class, anti-austerity programme. Our general election platform, outlined below, is not a full programme for government but rather summarises the minimum policies which voters should know that all TUSC candidates support:
What the Scottish Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition stands for
The Scottish election on May 6 2021 will take place against the backdrop of the Covid pandemic, majority support for Scottish independence, and a growing confrontation with the Westminster government over a second indyref. These issues will dominate the election. Yet it's clear that a recovery from Covid in the interests of the working-class majority and the struggle for the right to self-determination are inextricably bound together.
We have seen the capitalist establishment and their political representatives prove incapable of protecting the population from the catastrophe of the pandemic. Failure to act quickly enough as the virus approached was magnified by a complete lack of resources for testing and contact tracing, PPE and the funds needed for the health emergency at the start of the crisis.
Not only the woeful Boris Johnson Westminster government but also the SNP Scottish government are complicit. As they are over care home deaths and the fixation with forcing schools back full time in the late summer of 2020 with no social distancing, which gave the virus further opportunity to spread in the autumn and winter period.
The colossal death toll from Covid is heart-breaking - but it was also unnecessary. As of early March 2021 approaching 10,000 people had lost their lives in Covid-related deaths in Scotland. Across the UK that figure is well over 120,000. That puts both Scotland and the UK among the very worst levels of fatalities per head of the population in the world.
For a working class socialist voice in the Senedd to resist Covid austerity!
Cuts to public services emanating from Tory governments in Westminster have rained down on Wales for over a decade. The Welsh Labour governments in that period have failed to protect working people in Wales from those cuts - in fact they have implemented most of them. These cuts have been most cruelly exposed in this Covid crisis by the cuts to NHS hospital beds. The number of beds since 2008 have been cut by 21% which has meant that Wales entered the Covid crisis with the lowest number of intensive care beds per person in western Europe - lower even than NHS England under the Tories.
Covid has revealed both the drastic situation our local public services are in - with the NHS and councils massively underfunded - but also some of the many things the Welsh government has the power to do that could improve our lives.
For example, why not extend the scheme that housed the homeless during the first lockdown and banned evictions and make it permanent? And the Welsh government has spent £2 billion in grants to business during the Covid crisis. But it should have ensured that any government aid to individual businesses is dependent on retaining jobs and pursuing ethical employment practices - ensuring workers are not forced to work in unsafe Covid conditions; not using fire and rehire to drive down wages.
The Welsh Labour government's defence for cutting services in the past is that it's funding in real terms has been cut by the UK Tory government. But where has been the fight against these cuts? In fact there are a whole number of levers that the Welsh government can use to protect Welsh public services from Tory cuts - where there is a will there is a way!