24 April 2013
‘Why we’re standing’: TUSC candidates in next week’s elections
IN NEXT week’s council elections over five per cent of the seats will have a fighting anti-austerity alternative on the ballot paper. The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is standing 120 candidates, in 20 of the 35 councils with elections this year. In addition there is the TUSC candidate for the mayor of Doncaster, Mary Jackson, and TUSC candidates in two council by-elections taking place on the same day.
In a significant step forward TUSC, the sixth biggest party in numbers of candidates standing, is contesting more seats than the BNP – “the first time in recent history”, according to the New Statesman magazine, that a left-wing party “will be better represented than Griffin’s mob”.
Below some of the candidates explain who they are and why they are standing on May 2nd.
Kevin Morrison is a member of the RMT transport workers’ union national executive, and is standing for Lancashire County Council in the Thornton Cleveleys Central division:
“I am standing as a Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidate pledged to vote against ALL cuts.
“I have lived in Thornton with my family for over 20 years. I understand local concerns: the crumbling infrastructure of roads, pavements and paths; the threat of cuts to local bus services; fear of shale gas extraction and the threat of flooding; gas storage in the estuary – beaten again but still a threat.
“I will fight to protect our community. We should be building affordable housing in Thornton Cleveleys, but on brownfield sites. This would create jobs but would not damage our flood defences. We should also be investing in green jobs such as tidal power.
“After the second world war as a country we were bankrupt. However we had an inspirational Labour Party which was swept to power with a socialist mandate. The promise made and kept was to create full employment, a tax-funded universal National Health Service, and a cradle-to-grave welfare state with the campaign message, ‘Let Us Face the Future’.
“The ensuing legacy was the NHS, over a million decent homes built for the many, the welfare state created where help was provided to those who needed it, nationalisation of the essential services such as gas, electricity, water and transport. Plus full employment! Now it’s all been flogged off in return for sky high prices and shabby service.
“How can we pay today for the public services we need? Tax the companies who avoid paying. £25 billion is lost annually in tax avoidance and a further £70 billion in tax evasion by large companies and wealthy individuals. An additional £26 billion is going uncollected. Scrap the replacement for Trident saving between £94.7 and £104.2 billion. Use the £850 billion held by financiers who refuse to invest in this country. Levy a 0.05% tax on financial transactions raising £20–30billion per year.
“But for that we need politicians who stand for the millions not the millionaires”.
PCS union activist Nick Parker is standing for Lincolnshire County Council in the Lincoln East division:
“I’m standing for TUSC to provide a socialist alternative for all the working people who’ve been left without a voice since Labour abolished Clause Four and decided the secret to success was to mimic the stance of the Tories. I’m a PCS trade unionist and I’ve taken part in 12½ days of strike action in the last five years. We have never had a representative of the Labour Party even visit our picket line to show support, but we’ve heard regularly from Labour politicians telling us that our strikes are wrong. Trade unionists need a political voice that will support workers in struggle and TUSC is a step in that direction”.
GMB union member Pat Timson is standing for Cumbria Counnty Council in the Kendal Strickland and Fell division:
“This year’s Cumbria county council budget has seen a further £24.5 million slashed from spending with 55 job losses, on top of the 720 already gone. With no overall majority it is to the shame of our local councillors that they operate within a Tory-Labour coalition to steal away our services. This can only continue as long as we allow it. Just one dissenting voice inside the council could be enough to draw others into the struggle, empowering working people and uniting our communities”.
Former Labour councillor Robert Cossey-Mowle is standing for Cambridgeshire County Council in the Huntingdon East and Godmanchester division:
“I served as a councillor for the Labour Party in Islington for eight years. New Labour was invented in Richmond Terrace, Islington, and over 15 councillors and/or officers of Islington council served as yes women and men under Blair. In opposition they have done nothing but harm by not defending the people against these draconian cuts. Enough is enough”.
Steve Bell, a member of Unison’s national Health Sector Group Executive (personal capacity), is standing for Buckinghamshire County Council in the Aylesbury South West division:
“As a trade unionist involved in the local trades council I have seen the effects of the county councils cuts first hand. As a health worker I have seen the effects of cuts in health services and staff. As a socialist I have seen and spoken to people affected by the bedroom tax and cuts to welfare. That’s why I’m standing in opposition to all those that support these measures and to offer a socialist alternative to austerity”.
Emma-Jayne Woodhall, is standing for Lincolnshire County Council in the Lincoln North division:
“TUSC is the only alternative to the racist, anti-immigrant division peddled by the Tories, Lib Dems, Labour and UKIP. TUSC seeks to build a united campaign for proper funding for jobs and services, and to unite communities against the racist division whipped up by those who seek to divide working people and distract us from the destructive effects of austerity”.
Claude Mickelson is standing for Gloucestershire County Council in the Cinderford division. He recently received a Labour Party membership renewal reminder and wrote back:
“You recently sent me a membership renewal reminder. According to your rules, although not a Labour Party member, I am permitted to join as long as I do not support another party against Labour. Well I do, in fact I shall be standing in the coming county council elections as a candidate for TUSC. And don't say ‘I've never heard of it’ because, if you genuinely haven't, you soon will do so because we are mopping-up a great many past Labour Party members, ditched by the traitor to the working class, Blair.
“Some of us thought that the party would be rescued by Miliband from the grossly capitalist direction it has been going for years, but no. I recently asked Miliband personally at a meeting in Stroud, Gloucestershire, when was he going to renounce New Labour? His reply? "We are not going to do that but we move on". What kind of an answer is that? Keep the same old policies under another name?
“All my adult life I have voted Labour, and I'm a few weeks off my 90th birthday. Never before have I even considered standing for election, but now I will. I seriously respect the likes of John McDonnell and his colleagues but I believe that they are wrong in their thinking that the Labour ‘Reclamation’ Committee can do anything when they and many really good supporters over the years, have been unable to do so.
“If all good trade unionists and left minded people were to belong to a party that supported the real people of this country, that really make it tick, then we could beat the capitalists. But I forgot, Labour supports capitalism, doesn't it?"
Local artist Fiona Joyce is standing for Bristol city council in Lawrence Hill ward:
“I am motivated primarily by the appalling unemployment, neglect and lack of support for our young. The bedroom tax is another ruse to further decimate disabled people, the unemployed and the vulnerable. I oppose the reduction in refuge centres for women who are increasingly more at risk as this depression intensifies.
“Without urgent change we are facing levels of poverty not seen in a 100 years”.
Exeter student Luke Pilling is standing for Devon County Council in the Exeter St Davids & St James division:
“By encouraging people both locally and nationally to stand together against the cuts we can make our voices heard. The main issues we are campaigning on in Exeter include NHS privatisation, the bedroom tax, and the council tax hikes. We have received a great amount of support”.
Chas Berry, Kent NAPO union vice chair and chair of the Kent Association of Trades Councils, is standing for Kent County Council in the Gravesham East division:
“In Gravesend there are plans by developers Edinburgh House to ‘develop’ the town’s Heritage Quarter. Gravesend needs this type of regeneration like a hole in the head. There is certainly a housing crisis, but the council's response should be to build decent social housing in line with local wishes not hand responsibility to outside developers whose main interest is making a quick buck.
“Local authorities have been starved of the necessary resources by central government and are reacting by passing on cuts to local residents. They should refuse to do this and set a deficit budget based on the needs of the community.
“Big business is sitting on £800 billion of un-invested capital and we have spent billions bailing out the banks. It's about time we invoked the 'spirit of 45' and rebuild our communities based on the values of collectivism and socialism”.
Adam Freeman is standing for Hampshire County Council in the Winchester Westgate division:
“I am a university student and am hoping to represent the students and the youth who are all too often ignored. I will say no to increased tuition fees, bring back EMA (Educational Maintenance Allowances), and start a proper job programme for the youth of the city. As president of the University of Winchester Socialist Students I have good contacts with other societies and the student union committee. My campaign will be joined by fellow candidate Dave Boyes, a UCATT union member standing for TUSC in Winchester East”.
Brian Loader is standing for Derbyshire County Council in the South Normanton and Pinxton division:
“I am a Socialist Party member and a trade union representative in Unison, with strong connections to the NHS.
“Local ambulance stations are now threatened with closure by the East Midlands Ambulances Service Trust, increasing the response time for South Normanton and Pinxton residents. As a councillor I would help build campaigns to oppose all cuts”.
Unison member and independent socialist Karen Williams is standing for Lincolnshire County Council in the Lincoln Moorland division:
“I want to fight for a just and caring society. We need to work together for a government that genuinely meets the needs of all people and that manages global resources equitably to protect our ecosystems”.