Saturday, 31 May 2014

More than 68,000 votes for TUSC – A good base to build on

Getting ready to go; TUSC cavalcade in Hackney, 17.5.14, photo Judy Beishon
Getting ready to go; TUSC cavalcade in Hackney, 17.5.14, photo Judy Beishon   (Click to enlarge)
The final vote tally for the 560 local election and three mayoral Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) no-cuts candidates in the 22 May elections is 68,031.

In 21 councils TUSC has polled over 1,000 votes. In ten of these, it has been over 2,000. There are 78 council wards where TUSC has polled over 5% of the vote.

Anti-cuts councillor Keith Morrell was re-elected in Southampton‘s Coxford ward with 43% of the vote. In Coventry, while Labour held on to the city’s St Michaels ward, TUSC’s national chairperson Dave Nellist polled a very good 974 votes, coming second with a 29.7% share.

In Birmingham TUSC’s 12 candidates polled 1,766 votes, with James Redfern scoring 9.3% in Tyburn ward and Ted Woodley 7.6% in Stockland Green. Also on 9.3% was Amanda Dilley, the top TUSC result in Stevenage council.
In Sheffield TUSC’s candidates have collectively polled 2,657 votes across the city, with a 10.2% share of the vote in Manor Castle ward and 8.4% in Burngreave ward. In Doncaster TUSC polled 1,556 votes, in Barnsley 1,361, and in Wakefield 1,257.

In London there were 5,482 votes cast for TUSC candidates in Waltham Forest, 4,166 in Haringey, 2,260 in Hillingdon, 2,162 in Enfield, 1,887 for the ward candidates in Newham (in addition to the 1,708 votes, 2.2%, for Lois Austin, TUSC’s candidate for mayor), 1,315 in Lambeth, and 1,134 in Southwark.

What is clear from the results is that ‘the party that doesn’t exist’ for the national media has made its mark and prepared the ground for broader and deeper electoral challenges in the future.

The TUSC national steering committee is meeting on 28 May to discuss the results and plans for next year – the general election but also the 2015 local council elections, being fought in more seats (excluding London) than were contested this year. A full election report will be ready for the meeting (see www.tusc.org.uk for latest).

 

Keith Morrell re-wins seat in Coxford, 22.5.14, photo N Chaffey
Keith Morrell re-wins seat in Coxford, 22.5.14, photo N Chaffey   (Click to enlarge)

Great Victory in Southampton

Keith Morrell has re-won his council seat in Coxford, Southampton, standing as part of TUSC. Keith was previously kicked out of the Labour Party for voting against cuts.

He has been decisively re-elected with 1,633 votes, 43%. This is a great result and vindication for his stand, alongside fellow rebel councillor Don Thomas, in opposing all cuts. Ukip came second with 796 votes, Labour third with 724 votes, the Tories fourth with 500 votes, and Lib Dems last with 168.

The result has lit up the idea that fighting councillors can help build support for a real alternative to austerity. It is in sharp contrast to the close shave for Labour council leader Simon Letts who nearly lost his seat to Ukip after two years of implementing Tory cuts.

Keith said: “This result is a victory for the people of Coxford who fought to save local services and won an important victory to re-open our local swimming pool. It shows what is possible.
“Other significant results across the city for TUSC Against Cuts candidates show the potential that exists for a new party – a party that stands up for working people, campaigns for jobs and housing and tackles the growing poverty that affects so many families in the city”.
Nick Chaffey

Support still strong for socialists in Coventry

Dave Nellist and other Socialist Party members out campaigning for TUSC in Coventry
Dave Nellist and other Socialist Party members out campaigning for TUSC in Coventry   (Click to enlarge)

Support still strong for socialists in Coventry

In Coventry, standing as TUSC for the first time, socialist candidates received a total of 2,592 votes (3.5%) across the city. Dave Nellist recorded a solid 974 (30%) in second place in St Michaels ward.

We expected our campaign to be impacted by the ‘European election factor’ which undoubtedly boosted the votes of the main parties plus Ukip and the Greens (neither of which really exist on the ground in Coventry).

TUSC supporters can be pleased with the result given those conditions. More importantly we have laid the foundations for future TUSC work in the city. A significant number of leading local trade unionists took part in the campaign for the first time.

A fantastic campaign launch meeting of 65 people was held in March where many signed up to be part of a campaign team which distributed over 30,000 leaflets across the city, with multiple leaflets in St Michaels.

In St Michaels we still have a strong base of support despite an increasingly transient population replacing former settled communities.

Our campaign and material focused on raising socialist demands and policies – calling for a £10 an hour minimum wage, thousands of new jobs and homes and kicking privatisation out of the NHS.
Unlike every other party, our campaigning won’t stop on election day. We have established better roots and support in the city to build upon for the general election and for future class struggles.
Lenny Shail

  • Comment on Facebook from Coventry voter: “Voted for you in Sherbourne ward. Really nice to have somebody to vote for rather than usual bag of unscrupulous bastards. Thank you :)”

James Kerr, Chris Flood and Cheryl McLeod, TUSC candidates for Telegraph Hill in Lewisham
James Kerr, Chris Flood and Cheryl McLeod, TUSC candidates for Telegraph Hill in Lewisham   (Click to enlarge)

Lewisham

For weeks we have been pounding the pavements and front doors of New Cross and Brockley, looking for those TUSC votes that would elect a socialist back onto the council in Lewisham, south east London.

We have had socialist councillors in Telegraph Hill ward before, Chris Flood and Ian Page, and residents on the doorstep and visiting our stalls had fond memories of this. In the end, Chris received 659 votes. Many people signed up to get involved in TUSC and in the Socialist Party.
Unlike when we have won in the past, there is no unpopular New Labour government that helped us in our argument that an alternative to Labour is necessary. With residents mainly wanting to punish the Con-Dems, the Labour ‘brand recognition’ and party machine is a formidable hurdle to overcome.

On election day Labour didn’t bother to appear until late afternoon. For the last couple of hours, the Labour candidates degenerated into blocking the polling booth entrance and aggressively interrupting our conversations with residents.

Of course it is best for Labour to keep the conversation short – why get into any awkward conversations about the services they’ve closed, the jobs they’ve already cut or the hundreds of millions of pounds worth of cuts they plan to make over the next four years. If Labour in Lewisham continues with its plans, there won’t be much of a council left for them to run.

TUSC stood more widely than we have done before with 12 candidates in ten wards and Chris Flood for mayor. Chris received 1,354 votes in the mayoral contest and all bar three of our candidates gained more than 150 votes. It is an excellent foundation to build on.

We will continue to campaign against cuts, the bedroom tax, service closures, and local housing and all the other attacks on our community.
Cheryl McLeod, Chris Flood and James Kerr

  • On Twitter from Natasha Hourau (who stood on the No2EU Yes To Workers’ Rights list in London in memory of her father, general secretary of the RMT, Bob Crow): “Well done in your victories! Looking forward to seeing how TUSC now moves forward from here!”

Tower Hamlets

Tower Hamlets TUSC mayoral candidate Hugo Pierre, photo Paul Mattsson
Tower Hamlets TUSC mayoral candidate Hugo Pierre, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)
Tower Hamlets

In Tower Hamlets, east London, TUSC stood for the elected executive mayor and candidates in 13 wards. Some on the left argued before the election that we shouldn’t stand because the independent mayor, Lutfur Rahman (standing during these elections as Tower Hamlets First), is left-of-Labour.

The political background was explosive. Rahman was targeted by Labour because he stood against the Labour candidate last time. There have been allegations of corruption in his administration and even a Panorama special which led to police raids on his offices orchestrated by Tory communities secretary, Eric Pickles. The Labour candidate, John Biggs, was the borough’s Greater London Authority representative.

Undoubtedly the other mainstream parties would have preferred the safe Labour candidate to Rahman.

In this highly polarised election TUSC received enthusiastic support for a programme of rent controls, building council houses, a £10 an hour minimum wage and a fight to return £123 million stolen from the council by the government over the last four years.

The TUSC mayoral candidate, Hugo Pierre, got 871 first preference votes, which given the circumstances was a creditable result. In the council seats we got a total of 2,144 votes.
The count still hasn’t finished at the time of writing but Tower Hamlets First and Labour hold 18 seats each with the Tories holding 4. The collapse of the Lib Dems, who ran the council for eight years until 1994, was quite spectacular, as they fell behind Ukip and the Greens.

Lutfur Rahman’s re-election opens up a new stormy chapter in the borough, not least how he will deal with a gaping £80 million hole in the budget and a continuing and deepening social crisis.

Our stand was a modest but successful start to place working class action, solidarity and socialism as a real option in the future for workers in this borough.
Tower Hamlets TUSC

Waltham Forest

Glenroy Watson, RMT, Waltham Forest TUSC rally, May 2014
Glenroy Watson, RMT, Waltham Forest TUSC rally, May 2014   (Click to enlarge)
Waltham Forest

In our first time standing widely across the east London borough, Waltham Forest TUSC gained 5,480 votes. This is a great success for our 33 candidates and all supporters and campaigners.

TUSC candidates received 3% of the overall vote, which is about 5% when adjusted for the number of seats we stood in. In High Street ward, where we stood a full slate, we got 5.2% of the vote. Our highest vote, 362 for teacher Dan Gillman in Markhouse, means more than 11% of voters in the ward voted for Dan.

That our vote held up regardless of how many candidates stood in each ward shows the real advantage of standing widely and will hopefully encourage more trade unionists and campaigners to join us next time to ensure we can contest all 60 seats.

If election results depended purely on who had run the best campaign, TUSC would have been the hands-down winner. Our demand for rent control to bring down rocketing rents and investment in building affordable council housing got a huge echo.

We spoke to thousands of people on our rent control flashmobs, knocking on doors in our target wards and leafleting at supermarkets and schools. On all of these activities it was clear that the majority in Waltham Forest are sick of the parties of big business and were pleased to learn of an anti-cuts, working class alternative. On our final canvass, the night before the election, someone said he would definitely vote for us because we are saying what Labour leader Ed Miliband should be saying but is too scared to.

On election day it was clear that the campaign had made a mark – people enthusiastically wished us good luck and told us that they had or would vote for us. One woman told us she was so pleased she had met us as she wasn’t sure what she was going to do at the ballot box or if she would even bother voting.

We will now have monthly TUSC committee meetings, open to anyone who wants to help build TUSC in the area. We will continue our campaign for rent control in the borough – initially by collecting the 4,000 signatures needed to force a debate on the issue in the council chamber.
Sarah Wrack

  • In Hillingdon: While we were leafleting Northwood Hills a young man came up to us and said: “Are you the socialists? Then I’m voting for you”

North-east

TUSC at the 2014 Sunderland local election count
TUSC at the 2014 Sunderland local election count   (Click to enlarge)

North-East

The north-east generally has been regarded as a Labour heartland but Labour’s support is now fraying at the edges. It is against this backdrop that there were 21 TUSC candidates across Tyne and Wear.

The election campaign, whose candidates included trade union activists and many young people, was given a welcome boost when activists from Sunderland Against Cuts joined the campaign.

When one of our 18 year old candidates heard the BBC was interviewing candidates for the European elections in her local town centre she and her mam boldly went down, armed with placards asking: “Where’s our Recovery?”

Our candidates and volunteers in Sunderland had ‘blisters on their blisters’ as they delivered 14,000 leaflets. On Facebook after the election one of them posted: “We’ve only TUSC begun!”
In Newcastle we were approached by a Labour candidate who requested we stood down as he was on the left. We asked if he would vote against cuts. He said he would argue within the Labour group against cuts but conceded that he was not prepared to guarantee us that he would vote against all cuts. For us this was not good enough and we stood against him.

One of Gateshead‘s Labour councillor’s bragged in her election material that they were “supporting over 250 volunteers to help run five libraries and 15 community centres.” This is because Gateshead’s Labour controlled council has sacked workers!

In North Tyneside we stood candidates but also worked alongside an independent socialist candidate.
Elaine Brunskill

Plymouth

Plymouth TUSC candidates and supporters during the May 2014 local elections campaign
Plymouth TUSC candidates and supporters during the May 2014 local elections campaign   (Click to enlarge)

Plymouth

This is the first time that TUSC has undertaken such a huge campaign in Plymouth, managing to stand candidates across all 19 wards. 17 of our candidates had never stood for TUSC before.
With relatively small numbers on the ground, we have managed to achieve 1,168 votes. With 19 candidates and a modest number of supporters we’ve already inspired over 1,000 people to reject the notion that austerity is a necessity. We also had a great deal of interest from people who are willing to get involved with TUSC and we now need to build in anticipation of next year’s elections.

The fact that Bill Stevens, newly re-elected Labour councillor for Devonport, saw fit to make a dig at us by proclaiming that he is a “real trade unionist and socialist” shows that Labour are already feeling the pressure that we are exerting on them.

The irony of his statement was that at the same time as he was making this proclamation, the Labour-led council was at the courts petitioning for the next batch of Council Tax Liability Orders. 20,000 people, in a population of around 250,000, have found themselves in council tax arrears since the Welfare Reform Act was introduced in April 2013.
Remember, if you’re against cuts, sign up to TUSC!
Ryan Aldred

Salford

Salford

Across Salford 2,150 people voted TUSC. Across the nine wards we stood in (six of which TUSC had never stood in before) we received 9.9% of the vote. In Little Hulton ward we came second.

We’ll be meeting on 28 May to talk about the results and discuss where next for TUSC in Salford. We need to continue building and growing so that there are 20 TUSC candidates standing in Salford in the 2015 local elections.
Matt Kilsby

SEE ALSO ………..

2014: The ‘rejection election’

., photo .

Thursday, 15 May 2014

 

Make a REAL difference – Vote TUSC on 22nd May

The TUSC broadcast they wouldn’t show!

London UCU strike

Dave Nellist, chair of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), outlines why you should vote TUSC on 22 May 2014.

* Who We Are

* How you can help

* Donate here

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

TUSC PROTEST TO DEFEND RIGHT TO VOTE NO TO CUTS IN NEWCASTLE-UNDER-LYME!        

Campaigners against Newcastle-under-Lyme council’s plan to deny people the right to vote against cuts over the next three years made their voice heard today. The protest organised by TUSC supporters outside the council building was very effective despite a complete blackout of the event by the local media .
 
Hundreds of leaflets were given out to council workers and shoppers. Many were angry to find out that they could be denied the chance to vote against the cuts planned by the council over the next three years. Some workers took handfuls of leaflets to give out at work.
 
The protest sent a clear message to the Labour council that their plan to sneak in this attack and thereby stifle any opposition has not worked.
 
TUSC 2014 protest against voting gag 003
TUSC candidate Becky Carter and supporters on the protest outside Newcastle Council building (click photo to enlarge)
 
BELOW IS AN EXTRACT FROM THE TUSC LEAFLET
 
Currently you get the chance to elect a councillor for your ward area for 3 out of every 4 years. This means you can get rid of those who may not be up to the job and in doing so also influence who will control the council for each year.
 
Now, ruling Labour councillors want you to have a vote just ONCE every FOUR YEARS based on a recommendation by the council’s unelected chief officer who is paid £100,000 a year. (with the help of 3 executive directors who together ‘earn’ £165,00 a year) 
 
Labour say it would ‘save’ £330,000 pounds but the real reason is that they want to stifle opposition to the endless cuts that they intend to carry out over the next four years.
 
 The council has already carried out government cuts to local jobs and services totalling £13.2 million since 2008/09. Now it plans to carry out at least another £5.1 million worth of cuts by 2020. And they want to get rid of annual elections so they don’t have to answer at the ballot box for their actions.
 
All TUSC election candidates in Newcastle are campaigning against the council’s attempt to ban elections. Any TUSC councillor elected on 22 May will build opposition inside and outside the council chamber against the plan to gag voters.
  • No to a 3 year cuts regime
  • For council elections each year – let’s hold them all to account for their actions
  • No cuts, closures or privatisation
VOTE TUSC on 22nd MAY
to defend your voting rights
to stop cuts, closures  & privatisation
VOTE
* JACK WILLIAMS in Knutton and Silverdale
* BECKY CARTER in Kidsgrove
* RICHARD STEELE in Silverdale and Parksite
* STEVE WHEELER in Wolstanton

Saturday, 10 May 2014

DEFEND YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE NO TO CUTS IN NEWCASTLE!           

TUSC 2014 Defend your right to vote 2

Campaigning against Newcastle Labour council’s plan to deny the right to VOTE AGAINST CUTS IN NEWCASTLE 
 
Currently you get the chance to elect a councillor for your ward area for 3 out of every 4 years. This means you can get rid of those who may not be up to the job and in doing so also influence who will control the council for each year.
 
Now, ruling Labour councillors want you to have a vote just ONCE every FOUR YEARS based on a recommendation by the council’s unelected chief officer who is paid £100,000 a year. (with the help of 3 executive directors who together ‘earn’ £165,00 a year) 
 
Labour say it would ‘save’ £330,000 pounds but the real reason is that they want to stifle opposition to the endless cuts that they intend to carry out over the next four years.
 The council has already carried out government cuts to local jobs and services totalling £13.2 million since 2008/09. Now it plans to carry out at least another £5.1 million worth of cuts by 2020. And they want to get rid of annual elections so they don’t have to answer at the ballot box for their actions.
 
All TUSC election candidates in Newcastle are campaigning against the council’s attempt to ban elections. Any TUSC councillor elected on 22 May will build opposition inside and outside the council chamber against the plan to gag voters.
  • No to a 3 year cuts regime
  • For council elections each year – let’s hold them all to account for their actions
  • No cuts, closures or privatisation
DEFEND YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE
Gagging pic
* JOIN THE PROTEST *
Outside Newcastle Council Offices, Merrial Street, Newcastle ST5 2 AG
12 noon on Wed 14th May

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Fight cuts, Back strikes, Vote TUSC

Fight Cuts, Back strikes, Vote TUSC

Fight Cuts, Back strikes, Vote TUSC   (Click to enlarge)

On 22 May millions of working class people have the opportunity to vote in the local government elections. At the same time workers are voting or have voted for strike action to resist the attacks on their pay, pensions and working conditions.

This year, in almost one in seven local election seats, these teachers, firefighters, health and local government workers, civil servants, transport workers and others can choose a real anti-cuts pro-working class voice.

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is standing 560 candidates. In local government councillors can use their position to build the resistance to austerity. But only a handful have voted no to cuts. The Tories and Lib Dems, but also Labour, Green and Ukip councillors, choose to vote through attacks on working class people.

TUSC candidates have all pledged to vote against cuts. They back the working people taking strike action. In fact, in many cases, they are the strikers.

Workers cannot expect any support from Labour when they struggle. A day before a planned strike by RMT members on London Underground in defence of hundreds of jobs, Ed Miliband said: "The Tube strike is wrong and it shouldn't be going ahead." In June 2011, before the massive public sector strike, he repeated his denunciation of the action six times.



Doncaster Care UK strike, Easter 2014, photo A Tice

Doncaster Care UK strike, Easter 2014, photo A Tice   (Click to enlarge)

Many workers are saying enough is enough. Here, some of them explain why they're standing as TUSC candidates:


The Labour council's policies of making every single cut as directed by the Tories have failed. Labour calls cuts 'savings'! I call them cuts and these cuts hurt. I am a member of the RMT trade union and have consistently fought to defend working class people in the workplace, as I will on the council.
Daren Ireland, RMT Liverpool


We've had enough. We have lost three fire engines in Waltham Forest, one from my very own station. I am proud to be standing with other trade unionists and socialists campaigning against cuts, particularly those working in the local Whipps Cross hospital.
Tim Roedel, FBU Waltham Forest, east London

The sale of council housing to housing associations, the privatisation of housing services, and the constant transfer of care services between different providers has led to a race to the bottom for workers and users of these services.
The Unite Housing Workers branch, covering over 2,500 workers, has been mounting a concerted and successful fightback against these attacks. With leading members of our branch I am standing for TUSC.
Suz Muna, branch secretary of the Unite union's Housing Workers' branch


TUSC has helped Care UK workers lobby Labour leader and Doncaster MP Ed Miliband and the Labour mayor and council cabinet. But still they say there's nothing they can do and won't even make a public statement of support. That's why most strikers are backing TUSC in the council elections including two strikers and a partner who are standing as TUSC candidates.
Care UK workers

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Baroness Golding out of touch!        


Baroness Golding, Labour’s candidate in Knutton & Silverdale on 22 May says,
 “I want to stand so I can go back to the House of Lords and tell them what local people have said.”
TUSC election agent Andy Bentley says,
 
“Llin Golding entered the House of Lords in 2001 so it’s taken her 13 years to realise that working class people in Knutton and Silverdale have suffered cuts, closures and privatisation under Tory and Labour government’s. The last thing we need here is an out of touch millionaire Baronesses. We need councillors who will fight against all cuts.”

TUSC SAYS NO TO LABOUR’S 3 YEAR BAN ON YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE IN NEWCASTLE-UNDER-LYME!

Currently you get the chance to elect a councillor for your ward area for 3 out of every 4 years. This means you can get rid of those who may not be up to the job and in doing so also influence who will control the council for the following year. 
 
Now, ruling Labour councillors want you to have a vote just ONCE every FOUR YEARS based on a recommendation by the council’s unelected chief officer who is paid £100,000 a year. (Plus 3 executive directors who together ‘earn’ £165,00 a year) 
 
Labour say it would ‘save’ £330,000 but the real reason is that they want to stifle opposition to the endless cuts that they intend to carry out over the next four years. 
 
The council has already carried out government cuts to local jobs and services totalling £13.2 million since 2008/09. Now it plans to carry out at least another £5.1 million worth of cuts by 2020. And they want to get rid of annual elections so they don’t have to answer at the ballot box for their actions.
 
All TUSC candidates in Newcastle are against the council’s attempt to ban elections. Any TUSC councillor elected on 22 May will build opposition inside and outside the council chamber against the plan to gag voters.
 
TUSC 2014 Vote TUSC cards
  • TUSC says no to a four year blank cheque to carry out cuts for Newcastle councillors
  • For council elections every year – let’s hold them all to account for their actions
VOTE TUSC to defend your right to vote every year
 
VOTE TUSC to stop cuts, closures and privatisation

Sunday, 4 May 2014

TUSC fully supports firefighters strike action ‏

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), co-founded by the late RMT union General Secretary Bob Crow, is offering its full support to firefighters striking over changes to their pensions, including raising their retirement age.

Unlike all the other major parties, TUSC fully supports trade unionists taking strike action to defend their jobs, pay and conditions.

TUSC agent for Stoke & Newcastle Andy Bentley commented,

"I visited firefighters striking over this issue on their picket lines last year in Longton and Newcastle. I visited Newcastle firefighters again last Friday with other TUSC supporters when they walked out at 12 noon. No wonder they are angry over proposals that are likely to see them forced into working into old age or face huge cuts in their pension. These proposals are dangerous both for firefighters and the general public. All TUSC candidates standing for election in Newcastle on 22 May support the firefighters action".