Tuesday, 19 November 2013
Baddeley, Milton & Norton by-election – another shattering blow to Labour, another small step forward for TUSC
Stoke-on-Trent’s City Independents won their second consecutive seat from Labour in by elections as their share of the vote slumped by a massive 13%. This represents another clear message from voters that they want no more of the Labour council’s orgy of job losses, cuts, closures and privatisation.
Other cuts parties also suffered as the Lib Dem’s share of the vote was down by 4% and the Tory vote down by 11%. However, in a further humiliation for Labour, the Tory candidate pushed them into third place! As expected UKIP’s vote increased by 8%.
The result was also a condemnation of Labour’s decision to continue plans, despite massive opposition, to borrow a minimum of £59 million to build a new City Council HQ. Their recent decision to keep the current Civic Centre in Stoke for ‘some’ council workers but still build the new HQ in Hanley as well has only increased that anger.
The by election was triggered because the ex Labour incumbent, Andy Lilley, has been jailed for 16 months for fraud despite Labour trying to sweep it under the carpet – at least while he was still a member of the Labour Party. Of course this didn’t help Labour much either!
If local elections took place now across the city Labour would face a wipe out. This after three years of the Con-Dem’s savage austerity measures. If they had at least tried to fight against the government’s cuts instead of carrying them out then they would have won this and previous by elections. But anyone still waiting for Ed Miliband or any other Labour leader to come charging over the hill on a white horse to push Labour back into a party that represents ordinary working class people might as well ‘urinate’ in the wind. This applies as much in Stoke-on-Trent as it does nationwide.
The City Independents are now the second biggest party with 10 seats on the city council and pose a serious threat to Labour’s domination at the next full local elections in 2015. Although, if those elections coincide with a general election on the same day it will provide Labour with a better chance of hanging on to power.
The City Independents have achieved this position by providing an ‘opposition’ in words to some cuts. But as yet that opposition has not included a clear commitment to oppose all cuts or a serious alternative which could protect jobs and services.
Importance of this by election
As local elections across Stoke-on-Trent won’t take place again until 2015 this by-election was a rare opportunity for various parties and others to stand as candidates. This led to a large field of 10 in the largest ward in the city which made it more difficult for the Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition (TUSC) and other smaller parties to make a significant impact at this stage in terms of the votes received.
There was only a 19% turnout but that takes nothing away from it’s importance. Under Labour’s control the city council has already carried out £77 million worth of cuts over recent years. This has resulted in thousands of council workers jobs going and the closure of swimming pools, care homes, children’s centre’s libraries etc. Now they are planning a further eye watering £100 million worth of cuts over the next fours years which would all but decimate what services remain.
All the other candidates in this by election seem oblivious that this is the key question facing the 250,000 people who live in the city. Most of their leaflets did not even mention cuts whilst a few did so only in passing with no mention of actually fighting against them or any idea how they could be stopped. This inevitably means that the newly elected City Independent councillor will join the others carrying out these hated austerity measures.
TUSC strengthened by this by election
Only TUSC candidate Liat Norris stood on the basis of a fight against cuts. We had a great response from people we spoke to. Two fellas in their forties who had never voted before voted for TUSC. A firefighter who we first met three days ago voted for TUSC. Three women who are active in community based groups voted for TUSC. At a public meeting we organised in the ward two local activists said they would stand as TUSC candidates in 2015.
This by election represents an important step forward for TUSC in Stoke-on-Trent. It represents an important step forward in the building of a new party that we so desperately need to fight for ordinary working class people and it represents one more step towards our aim to stand working class fighters in every ward in the city in 2015.
“I would like to thank all those who voted for TUSC’s fight against cuts. One of the most important parts of this election is that TUSC have now stood in 8 wards in the city on a clear platform of fighting against all cuts; we are and we will continue to build our profile as the only alternative to the pro-cuts parties.
For a new developing party fighting against the mainstream consensus that there is no alternative but to carry out these brutal cuts, this important groundwork of building a base of support across the city is key, as is giving people the option to vote against these cuts that would have been otherwise lacking.
This is not the last people in Milton, Norton or Baddeley Green will see of us, or indeed the last anyone else in the city will see of us. We will continue to fight against the council’s plan to carry out another £100 million of cuts, and will be looking to stand in every single ward in the city in 2015.”
By Election result:
City Independent – Mundy -861 – 32%
Tory – Richardson -504 – 18%
Labour – Chetwynd – 444 – 16.5%
UKIP – Harold -333 – 12.4%
Independent – Gary Elsby -313 – 11.7%
BNP – White -79 – 2.9%
Green Party Colclough -50 – 1.8%
Lib – Dem Grocock -32 – 1.1%
Independent – Davis -27 – 1%
TUSC Norris -25 – 0.9%
- Total votes: 2674 = 19.18% turnout
- UPDATE: Since this article was written Stoke North Labour MP Joan Whalley has announced she won't be standing at the next general election and Stoke South Constituency Labour Party Secretary Tony Whalley has resigned.
Saturday, 16 November 2013
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) in Newcastle-Under-Lyme is appealing to trade union members, anti-cuts campaigners, young people – everyone in fact who opposes the Con- Dems’ austerity agenda. Are you prepared to support local councillors who will refuse to vote for cuts? Or even be a council candidate yourself?
Con-Dem austerity is affecting every part of our lives. From pensions to tuition fees; the bedroom tax and low wages; our NHS and libraries; Sure Start centres and support for people with disabilities. A fight back is needed but not a single council – Tory, Lib Dem and Labour alike – has said no to the cuts.
It is not true that councils have ‘no option’ but to pass on the Con-Dems’ cuts. If just a handful of councils defied the Con-Dems and refused to vote for cuts the government could be made to back down and fund public services properly.
Individual councillors have a choice. The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition has a policy platform for local council elections which could make a difference. Even one councillor taking a stand, if they used their position in the council chamber to appeal to those outside, could give confidence to trade unionists and community campaigners to fight.
This platform is the basis on which any prospective council candidate can stand under the TUSC name in local council elections. We encourage every trade unionist, anti-cuts campaigner, community activist and all those who want to see an alternative to the establishment parties to become a TUSC candidate.
We intend to stand as many candidates as possible in Newcastle next year, but to do that we need your help. To this end, we have organised a public meeting at the Borough Arms Hotel in Newcastle on the 12tf of December at 7pm with TUSC national chair Dave Nellist (ex 'Militant' Labour MP for 9 years) as a guest speaker.
I hope you will join us.
on behalf of the Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition in North Staffordshire
Tuesday, 12 November 2013
TUSC candidate Liat Norris in the Baddeley, Milton and Norton by election sends a message of support to firefighters who have been forced to take strike action tomorrow. Liat says,
“I fully support the action being taken by members of the fire service. The disgusting attacks by this government on pay, conditions and pensions of firefighters deserves to be met by the full force of the organised trade union movement. Myself, TUSC and the Socialist Party are fully behind you in this and any future action”
Saturday, 9 November 2013
Much has been done through the hard work of a small number of TUSC supporters so far in our election campaign. This includes;
- John travelling straight from his workplace at Stafford Hospital to leaflet in Baddeley Green and Norton
- Matt leafleting before going to work and after finishing work whilst helping to look after a new baby just weeks old.
- Our candidate Liat is using his holidays to campaign most days this and next week
- Stuart has travelled from Crewe to help and Jim from Stafford
- Tony after his shift working in Crewe
- Ex postal worker Jane who is now retired through ill health has leafleted all the streets around where she lives in the ward and will be doing so again with our second leaflet
- Ritchie, who works and has four children, has done a campaigning stall in Milton and has promised to do some leafleting next week
We have received a very good response on our campaign stalls and our second leaflet is now being delivered to homes across the ward.
As we predicted most of the other nine candidates have not even mentioned the council's planned £100 million cuts over the next four years and those that have make no mention of fighting to stop them!
Only TUSC is putting forward a fighting programme based around a Needs Budget to save much needed jobs and services from cuts, closure or privatisation.
We want to get as many votes as possible to send a clear message to the Labour controlled council that enough is enough. With £77 million worth of cuts already carried out another £100 million will devastate what council jobs and services remain.
The most important thing we need now is others to help out with leafleting, campaigning stalls etc in the last 5 days up to and including election day next Thursday 14 November.
So, if you haven't been able to help so far can you commit an hour or two over the next week? YOUR help could potentially make a big difference.
Please get in touch asap by calling or texting TUSC Election Agent Andy on 07845893607
Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidate in the Baddeley, Milton and Norton by election condemns Keele University’s massive hike in fees for postgraduates.
TUSC candidate, Liat Norris, had this to say after standing shoulder to shoulder with Keele students campaigning against this backward step.
“Young people currently face a barrage of attacks from this government and this system – shutting down any path to a decent future. From the path of work where the lack of decent jobs has resulted in a million unemployed youth, whilst those working get lumbered with exploitative zero-hour contracts – to the path of education, where the increase in fees and cutting of EMA has resulted in an education system many young people simply cannot afford to access.
Today, Keele University decided to further shut down access to education for working class youth by deciding to increase fees for their postgraduate courses by up to a massive 54%. This further reinforces the idea peddled by the government that university should be the playground of the elite – a place working class youth don’t belong. This includes many young people in Baddeley Green, Milton, Norton and across Stoke-on-Trent. This is why I joined the protest of Keele students today, and will continue to vigorously oppose his measure.
This represents just one of the many attacks on working class youth supported by the Labour, Tory, LibDem mainstream. That’s why I’m standing as a TUSC candidate in the upcoming Baddeley, Milton and Norton by-election, and why we will be standing widely across Newcastle in the 2014 local elections – to build an alternative political party that will not pander to the rich and big business but that will fight for working class people and our interests!”
Thursday, 7 November 2013
Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidate in the Baddeley, Milton and Norton by election condemns Keele University's massive hike in fees for postgraduates.
TUSC candidate, Liat Norris, had this to say after standing shoulder to shoulder with Keele students campaigning against this backward step.
“Young people are currently face a barrage of attacks from this government and this system - shutting down any path to a decent future. From the path of work where the lack of decent jobs has resulted in a million unemployed youth, whilst those working get lumbered with exploitative zero-hour contracts – to the path of education, where the increase in fees and cutting of EMA has resulted in an education system many young people simply cannot afford to access.
Today, Keele University decided to further shut down access to education for working class youth by deciding to increase fees for their postgraduate courses by up to a massive 54%. This further reinforces the idea peddled by the government that university should be the playground of the elite – a place working class youth don't belong. This includes many young people in Baddeley Green, Milton, Norton and across Stoke-on-Trent. This is why I joined the protest of Keele students today, and will continue to vigorously oppose this measure.
This represents just one of the many attacks on working class youth supported by the Labour, Tory, LibDem mainstream. That's why I'm standing as a TUSC candidate in the upcoming Baddeley, Milton and Norton by-election, and why we will be standing widely across Newcastle in the 2014 local elections – to build an alternative political party that will not pander to the rich and big business but that will fight for working class people and our interests!”
Liat Norris – 07900880146
Andy Bentley TUSC Election Agent - 07845893607