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'Working class people need political representation'

Posted: 25 June 2014

As part of a feature on building an alternative in the aftermath of the local and European elections (see http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-ce7d-There-must-be-more-to-politics-than-this ), the Morning Star this week carried a substantial article on the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition's recent local elections campaign, which we republish below:

The Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) put together what it describes as the biggest left electoral challenge to the mainstream parties since the Communist Party in 1950.

It stood 559 candidates in the local elections and received 68,000 votes. It supported Southampton rebel Labour councillors Keith Morrell and Don Thomas, who were expelled from the Labour group for voting against council cuts and presenting an alternative budget.

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Local groups build on election momentum to prepare for 2015

Posted: 20 June 2014

Four weeks on from May's elections local groups of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) have been using the momentum generated by the election campaign to prepare serious plans for the ten months to polling day 2015.

This date, Thursday May 7th, will not only be the date of the general election but will also see elections for over 7,000 council seats in 279 councils across England.

As the post-election letter sent to TUSC's candidates by the national steering committee argues (see http://www.tusc.org.uk/17005/03-06-2014/tusc-steering-committee-sets-out-plans-for-2015-in-letter-to-candidates ) these contests will be as important for the task of building working class political representation as the general election. There will be many trade unionists, community campaigners and working class people generally who will want to see the back of the Con-Dems at Westminster but who at the same time will be prepared to support council candidates - or stand themselves - who will defend local public services against the austerity agenda of whoever the new occupant of No.10 will be. But preparing for the 2015 challenge starts now.

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TUSC steering committee sets out plans for 2015 in letter to candidates

Posted: 3 June 2014

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee met on May 28th to assess the outcome of the local election campaign and discuss plans for 2015.

TUSC chairperson Dave Nellist opened the meeting by congratulating the TUSC steering committee member Keith Morrell, present with follow rebel councillor Don Thomas, on his decisive victory in Southampton's Coxford ward. It was a message to all Labour councillors who sit in council meetings voting for cuts with a 'heavy heart' - they can refuse to implement the ConDems' austerity agenda, and be re-elected.

The meeting agreed the comprehensive election report presented by the TUSC national election agent, Clive Heemskerk (see www.tusc.org.uk/txt/306.pdf). It then got down to discussing the plans for developing TUSC over the next eleven months.

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Local elections 2014: The TUSC results in full

Election Report 2014

Posted: 30 May 2014

A COMPREHENSIVE account of the TUSC results from last week's local elections is now available at www.tusc.org.uk/txt/307.pdf

A total of 554 candidates, standing in 507 wards in 86 councils, contested the local council elections on May 22nd under the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) umbrella. In addition, TUSC stood candidates in the directly-elected mayoral contests in Lewisham, Newham and Tower Hamlets, and in five by-elections in three councils without scheduled elections this year, that were held on the same day. In total 68,152 votes were cast for these candidates.

Scheduled elections took place in 161 local authorities in England, to fill 4,216 seats in around 3,000 wards. The TUSC challenge, contesting 12% of the seats and 17% of the wards, was greater than anything attempted before in the four-year history of our coalition. In 2011, the first local elections seriously contested by TUSC, we fielded a candidate in 2% of the seats. In 2012 it was 4% and in 2013, when it was mainly county councils which were up for election, TUSC had a candidate in 5% of the seats, 120 in total. This year was on a different scale.

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Local elections 2014: TUSC now on 65,000 votes, with two councils to publish

Posted: 27 May 2014

The vote tally for TUSC candidates in last Thursday's local council elections has now passed the 65,000 mark, with just two councils yet to publish their official results (in London and the West Midlands).

In 21 councils TUSC has polled over 1,000 votes. In ten of these, it has been over 2,000. A powerful anti-austerity message has been sent in all these areas.

In previous years we have presented a 'league table' of ward results (see the previous election results links on the Candidates page on the TUSC website, at http://www.tusc.org.uk/candidate ). But this year's challenge has been of a different scale. There are 77 council wards, for example, where TUSC has polled over 5% of the vote.

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Local elections 2014: Over 50,000 votes for TUSC and we're still counting

Posted: 24 May 2014

Even though most of Thursday's local council election results have now, at least, been declared, it is still proving harder than expected to collate together all the results for the 560 TUSC candidates.

But we have now passed the 50,000 vote mark, with TUSC, at this point, scoring more than 1,000 votes in 16 councils.

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.

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Local elections 2014: Great victory as TUSC 'rebel councillor' re-elected

Keith Morrell, Southampton rebel councillor, photo Paul Mattsson

Keith Morrell, Southampton rebel councillor, photo Paul Mattsson

Posted: 23 May 2014

Southampton 'rebel councillor' and TUSC national steering committee member Keith Morrell has been re-elected to his council seat in Coxford, in a vindication of the bold stand that he, and fellow rebel councillor Don Thomas, made against the Labour council's cuts (see http://www.tusc.org.uk/press180213.php )

Keith has been decisively re-elected with 1,654 votes, a 43% share of the vote. At the last full council elections in Southampton in 2012, Labour won Coxford ward with 1,647 votes. This time Labour dropped to third with 724 votes (19%), as UKIP came in second with 796 votes. The Tories polled 500 votes, and the Lib Dems 168.

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 candidates show the potential that exists for a new 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".

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The 2014 local elections results: watch this space

Posted: 23 May 2014

AS WE post this, counting the votes in Thursday's local elections is under way.

This year there were 4,216 council seats up for election in 161 English local authorities. TUSC stood candidates for 560 seats, 13% of the total, and also stood in three of the five contests for directly-elected mayors taking place, in Lewisham, Newham, and Tower Hamlets (the other mayoral contests were in Hackney and Watford).

Around half of the councils with elections this year are counting overnight, with the remaining councils starting their count on Friday morning. As results come in, we will publish them on this website, with the first bulletin expected for mid-morning on Friday. When all the results come in we will post up a comprehensive seat-by-seat report on how the TUSC candidates fared. Watch this space.

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Senior union figures protest at media boycott of anti-austerity candidates

Posted: 21 May 2014

With hours to go until the polls open the national media boycott of the biggest left-of-Labour election challenge since world war two continues.

In the local council contests Labour and the Tories are standing in over 4,000 of the 4,216 seats up for election. The Liberal Democrats have fielded just under 3,000 candidates, UKIP over 2,000, and the Green Party 1,875. The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) has 560 candidates, 13% of the seats.

TUSC's presence on the ballot paper is not as big as the top five but it is indisputably ahead of the rest of the pack, with the next biggest parties being the BNP (106 candidates), the Christian Peoples Alliance (61), the Liberal Party (43), and the English Democrats (31). Yet TUSC's share of media coverage is no way commensurate with the number of candidates we are standing, even compared to these 'others'.

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Unison members fighting for public services by standing for TUSC

Posted: 21 May 2014

Below a few of the 75 members of UNISON, Britain's biggest public sector union, who are standing for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) in tomorrow's council elections, explain why they have decided to do so. The TUSC candidates include two members of the UNISON national executive. All UNISON members are standing for TUSC in a personal capacity.

"I sit on UNISON's National Executive Council, and am branch secretary of the Knowsley branch in the North West Region. As a public sector trade union activist I see the horrendous effects of ConDem cuts on people's lives, through job cuts, redundancies and cuts in pay and conditions of service. Unfortunately Labour councils do nothing to oppose these cuts, and even victimise Labour councillors who vote against them! It is therefore clear that working people need a new political voice, which is why I support TUSC".

Roger Bannister, TUSC candidate for Kirkdale, Liverpool

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Sheffield TUSC in head-to-head radio debate with establishment parties

Posted: 21 May 2014

On 15 May Sheffield TUSC Walkley ward candidate Chas Lockett took part in a live debate on BBC Radio Sheffield's Rony Robinson Show. You can listen to an extract from the programme where candidates from the Lab-Con-Lib Dem parties and TUSC (and UKIP and the Greens) debate whether councils can resist the cuts.

Click here to listen.

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Some of the 130 Unite members who are TUSC candidates say why they're standing against Labour

John Peers

John Peers

Posted: 21 May 2014

More than one hundred members of Unite, the biggest union affiliated to the Labour Party and Labour's largest donor, are standing for TUSC in Thursday's local council elections. Here some of them explain why:

"I have resigned my membership of the Labour Party as I have no confidence that the party will address the issues facing ordinary working people in this country. The economic strategy outlined by the party has no substantive difference to that of the Conservatives. It is time for a radical change in direction to meet the needs of the majority not the few".

John Peers, Unite rep Mile End hospital, TUSC candidate for Island Gardens, Tower Hamlets

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PCS members standing for TUSC on Thursday

Mark Benjamin

Mark Benjamin

Posted: 20 May 2014

The civil servants' union, the PCS, have been at the forefront of the fight against austerity. Two members of the PCS's leadership, the assistant general secretary Chris Baugh and vice-president John McInally, sit on the TUSC steering committee in a personal capacity. Sixteen PCS activists are standing for TUSC on 22nd May. Here some of them explain why:

"I am standing for TUSC in the local council elections as I believe that working class people deserve the opportunity to vote for a candidate who is willing to stand up for them, and say no to austerity and no to all cuts to public services. I have been involved in the local Save Ealing Hospital A&E campaign by participating in the marches, leafleting the public and gathering signatures for petitions".

Mark Benjamin, PCS Disabled Members Advisory Committee and TUSC candidate for Elthorne, Ealing

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Some of the RMT members who are TUSC candidates on May 22nd say why they are standing

Posted: 19 May 2014

Bob Crow, the late general secretary of the RMT transport workers' union, co-founded TUSC and the RMT has officially supported it since 2012. This year an unprecedented number of RMT activists - 53 in total - are standing for TUSC in the local elections. A few of them explain why they are standing to be councillors against cuts:

"I am the RMT Regional Organiser for the North West and as a member of RMT have consistently fought to defend working class people in the workplace, as I will on the council for my ward Princes Park, Liverpool. Our services and communities are being damaged by the austerity policies of the ConDems and Labour. Enough is enough. We have to fight back against cuts and deliver socialist TUSC councillors in the local elections for the working class. That why I'm standing for TUSC".

Daren Ireland, TUSC candidate Princes Park, Liverpool

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TUSC candidates hit the news in the Fast Foods Rights Day of Action coverage

Posted: 16 May 2014

Thursday saw a global day of action against super-exploitation in the fast food industry. In the US thousands of McDonalds workers joined walk-outs as part of a growing campaign for a $15 an hour minimum wage.

In London over 50 protesters targeted Whitehall McDonalds demanding an end to poverty wages, secure contracts with guaranteed hours, and trade union rights. They appealed to workers inside the store to consider joining the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers' Union (BFAWU), who initiated the Fast Food Rights campaign to fight for better conditions.

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Make a REAL difference - Vote TUSC on 22nd May

Posted: 15 May 2014

The TUSC broadcast they wouldn't show:

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

* Who We Are

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Watch this video - Portsmouth candidates do TUSC proud

Posted: 13 May 2014

It's been impossible to post up on the national TUSC website all the campaign material - the leaflets, posters, local manifestoes, website links, press releases, YouTube clips etc - that has been produced by the 560 TUSC candidates in the last few weeks. All of it has done TUSC proud.

But this video produced by the Portsmouth TUSC candidates deserves the widest possible circulation.

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Local news coverage round-up

TUSC opposition to waste plant covered in Derby Telegraph, 12.05.14

Posted: 13 May 2014

While the national media - with one or two exceptions - continues to consciously ignore TUSC's election campaign, there has been some decent coverage this week in the local press.

The Derby Telegraph led the way with a headline article, 'Derby TUSC election candidates: We'd rip up waste plant contract', highlighting the local TUSC candidates' pledge to do everything possible to stop a waste incinerator plant being built in the Sinfin area of the city (see http://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/Derby-TUSC-election-candidates-d-rip-waste-plant/story-21085286-detail/story.html )

The Telegraph article also pointed to TUSC's policy of standing "up to cuts by setting a council budget which 'meets the needs of the local community and means the government must make up the shortfall'. In the short-term, the party said it would use council reserves and borrowing to provide any cash needed to keep services". TUSC was attacked for its stance by both the Labour and Liberal Democrat group leaders, showing once again that the establishment parties are fundamentally the same.

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Listen to this! TUSC candidate takes on Labour leader of Britain's biggest council

Posted: 12 May 2014

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) were invited to participate in a Birmingham local election debate last week on the Adrian Goldberg radio show.

Our candidate, RMT member Ted Woodley, was not allowed into the BBC studio with the alleged 'big three' parties - the Conservatives, the Lib Dems, and the Labour leader of Birmingham council, Sir Albert Bore. But he was allowed, along with the Green Party and UKIP representatives, to say a piece towards the end of the show, which then provoked a lively discussion on whether the establishment parties are all the same and whether councillors had any option other than to implement the Con-Dem government's cuts.

Click here to hear the couple of brief clips in which the ideas of TUSC were discussed by the candidates of the six biggest parties.

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Socialist councillors can help boost resistance

Posted: 12 May 2014

"Can I take this opportunity to wish all candidates standing for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) best wishes for polling day on 22 May.

"Until a few months ago, when I retired due to family illness, I had been a socialist councillor in Preston for ten years.

"I believe it is important for working class people to have socialist representatives who are prepared to speak out against cuts, privatisation, racism and war.

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