Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Madiba - our tribute


Members of Rugby Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) have reacted with great sadness at the announcement a couple of hours ago of the death of Nelson Mandela.

“Members and supporters of Rugby TUSC have been collecting their experiences and memories of Nelson Mandela and the fight against one of the most extreme forms of racism – apartheid in South Africa,” TUSC spokesperson Pete McLaren has informed us. “I set the ball rolling by describing how I watched the film 'Cry Freedom' with our then nine year old daughter Karla, and I think she was moved to tears even more than I was at the death of Steven Biko and the actions of the repressive anti apartheid regime. It certainly helped form her political views. I also went to the Wembley concerts in 1988 and 1990, the first organised in support of Mandela's release from prison, the second just after his release when it was so moving to be part of the audience, all 80,000 of whom gave him an 8 minute standing ovation before he spoke.”

Julie Weekes, Rugby TUSC Treasurer, and Trade Union Studies lecturer, told me about her memories. “The whole labour movement in the 1970’s challenged apartheid. We even ran special courses on it for union reps. I remember taking part in lots of pickets outside the SA embassy in Trafalgar Square and going to pop concerts too to raise awareness and then later to celebrate his release. I was also lucky enough to hear him speak in Birmingham when he visited.”

Local supporter Gerry White added, “Always having been active supporters of the anti-apartheid movement, my sister and I went to South Africa to celebrate her 50th birthday and to see for ourselves the changes that Mandela's recent election victory had brought about. There was a wonderful feeling of optimism everywhere we went in Cape Town, Jo'burg, Pretoria and the rural Eastern Cape. Our most moving moment was when we stood on the very spot at the parliament buildings in Pretoria where Mandela had so recently taken his oath as President! We probably will never see his like again - a great fighter for freedom as well as a great person.”

In his summary, Pete McLaren said “As socialists we have all consistently supported Nelson Mandela as a freedom fighter, but it will be interesting to hear what kinds of sentimental hypocrisy come from the Tory leadership when it is doubtful any of them supported Mandela during his imprisonment. Some were members of the Federation of Conservative Students, which produced "Hang Mandela" posters in 1985. David Cameron, in 1989, as a rising star of the Conservative Research Department, accepted an all expenses paid trip to South Africa funded by an anti-sanctions lobby firm whilst Nelson Mandela remained imprisoned by the Apartheid regime. This was described at the time as a ‘sanctions busting jolly.’ The Thatcher government of the day had opposed placing sanctions on the racist regime, with Thatcher, Cameron’s political heroine, calling Mandela’s Party, the ANC, ‘a typical terrorist organization.’ Let’s see what Tory MPs have to say today,” he concluded.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

TUSC expresses anger at Autumn Statement: further attacks on the working class

Rugby Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) has reacted angrily to today’s Autumn Statement. “One again, the Tory/Lib Dem Government has decided to hit public services and ordinary working people, including those already in poverty”, TUSC spokesperson Pete McLaren claimed this afternoon, “and once again Labour has been conspicuous by its silence on these dreadful cuts

“The most vicious attacks outlined in the Autumn Statement are on those forced to rely on benefits. On top of the £19 billion per year already cut from the welfare budget, Chancellor George Osborne has today announced cuts of a further £3 billion over the next 3 years. The Tories had already announced that from April 2014, benefits and tax credits would only rise annually by 1% for each of the next 3 years, well below inflation.

“If forcing those already struggling to face further cuts in their living standards is not bad enough, the Government has stealthily slipped into today’s Statement a new plan to make unemployed young people work for their benefits. Those under 21 not reaching a required standard in English or Maths will have to undertake training every day or lose their benefits. All under 21 unemployed for over 6 months will have to do unpaid work experience, a community work placement or start a traineeship – at a time when youth unemployment has risen to 21% of the workforce – over 1 in 5 of those under the age of 25, one million young people. Unemployed people want to work, as they have been telling us as we leaflet outside Rugby Job Centre against Universal Credit. But there are no jobs – 5 people chase each one.

“The Autumn Statement also attacks pensions. Those in their 40’s and younger will have to work until they are 70 to get their state pension, 5 years longer than at present. People already struggling with health and fitness will be forced to work even longer – in order to save the Government £500 billion over the next 50 years.

“Public Services will also be hit by the announcement that most Governments departments face a collective cut of a further £1 billion a year for 3 years, leading to redundancies, loss of services and rising unemployment. It is a fact that the poorest suffer disproportionately from service cuts because of their greater need for them

“Today’s’ Autumn Statement is yet another attack on the poor and low paid. A TUC study shows that average household income has fallen to 2005 levels. Those in work are £1,600 a year worse off than in 2010 when this Government came to power. But the wealthy are not suffering. The collective wealth of the richest 1,000 people is the highest on record. Total pay for the directors of the UK ‘s top businesses has risen by a staggering 14% in the last year. As usual, there is one rule for the rich, and one for the poor – we are certainly ‘not in this together’ as the Tories keep claiming,” he concluded.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013



Rugby United Railway Club, Spring St/Railway Terrace CV21 3HE

8pm – late (Bar until 12pm)


Rugby based Classic Rock Metal Punk
Covers and Originals band

Eve Singleton
Winner “Rugby’s Got Talent’ Exciting young
singer with a collection of her own songs

Original Pop Music Duo
Emilie Rackham and
Becki Morgan

DISCO by Mick, Tim and Adam

Tickets: £5/2 unwaged
Available on the door, or in advance
From Rugby TUSC PO Box 4123, CV21 9BJ
Or http://rugbytusc.blogspot.co.uk/
Email rugbytusc@gmail.com

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Rugby TUSC members join protest march in Manchester outside Tory Party Conference against austerity and attacks on the NHS


"Members of Rugby Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) joined around 100,000 other protesters today Sunday in Manchester to protest against the Tory Government public sector cuts and against any further privatisation of, or cuts to, the NHS," TUSC spokesperson and prospective Parliamentary candidate Pete McLaren told us today. “It was a lively but peaceful protest, with the noise reaching a crescendo as it passed where the Tory party Conference was being held.

"I was delighted by the numbers who, at relatively short notice, came to Manchester to voice their protests outside the Tory Party Conference. There were coaches from Rugby and Coventry and from all over Britain from as far away as Plymouth, Exeter, London, Newcastle and Glasgow. Thousands of us were prepared to give up a Sunday to let the Government know how strongly we oppose what they are doing. No one was ecxpecting these numbers to attend – most trade union estimates were for about 30,000.

"I was particularly impressed by the number of nurses, firefighters, local government workers and teachers marching to protect the NHS, welfare state, and public services generally. It was a family and carnival type atmosphere - but always tinged with the serious nature of the effects cuts have. Children and grandchildren joined the march with their parents, holding placards asking why their mothers, fathers and grandparents might lose their jobs. Others were demonstratively campaigning against closures of local A & E Departments, as in Rugby, and against other attacks on our public services

"We carried the Rugby TUSC banner close to the front of the march, and it was inspiring to watch for over an hour as those behind us slowly entered the park for the Rally which followed. Protection of the NHS and the Welfare State was at the centre of the speeches and musical contributions. It was a day to remember, a day when tens of thousands, representing many millions of people, vociferously told the Government 'Enough is enough - we are not going to continue to pay for a crisis we did not cause by further cuts to public services, including the NHS'.

"Let the Tories, and their Lib Dem supporters, be warned - we are fighting back", he concluded.

• Rugby TUSC was set up in March 2011. It is part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition nationally - www.tusc.org.uk
• Rugby TUSC can be contacted on 07881 520626 or RugbyTUSC@gmail.com; PO Box 4123 Rugby CV21 9BJ
• Pete McLaren is a member of the TUSC National Steering Committee, and has recently been elected its Local Group Development Officer. He has recently been selected to contest the next General Election by Rugby TUSC

Monday, 30 September 2013


Rugby Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) has expressed its disgust at the proposals outlined today to force those unemployed for more than two years to work, train or attend their job centre every single day in order to qualify for any state benefits. “At a time of very high unemployment, this is yet another example of how out of touch the Tories are,” Rugby TUSC spokesperson Pete McLaren claimed today. “Two and half million people are unemployed, nearly 8% of the work force. The vast majority want to work. The number of people working part time because they can’t get full time employment – 1.45 million – is at an all time high since records began in 1992. Youth unemployment stands at 21% - more than one in five 16 – 24 year olds are out of work. That is a scandal, and these Tory proposals fail to address any of this

“There simply are not enough jobs to go round. Latest figures show there are 460,000 job vacancies in the UK being chaced by the 2.5 million unemployed. Jobs to unemployment ratios are much worse in some areas – we were told by a worker from Gateshead at the TUC Demo in Manchester yesterday that when a new restaurant advertised 20 new jobs, there were 5,000 applications! An annual survey by the Associate of Graduate Recruiters recently showed that many leading UK employers are receiving an average of 85 applicants per job . In July, a company called High Flyers Research reported that up to 160 graduates were chasing every job . This is despite many of these job vacancies offering very low wages

“The real strategy of this Tory Government is to divide and rule. A divided working class makes it easier for them to win elections. Their aim is to set workers against each other, encouraging those on low wages to support this Conference policy and turn against those who can not find work and instead are forced to claim benefits. If the Tories force people to work for their benefits, not only will this cheapen labour further, it will also mean even fewer real jobs will be available. Those on low wages will feel their own jobs are under threat as unscrupulous employers look to save costs by taking on those on benefits they do not have to pay. It is low pay that is the problem, not welfare benefits.

“What the unemployed need and want is full time jobs that are permanent and pay a living wage, or adequate training that provides the skills society needs. Cutting public spending and privatising virtually everything that breathes is doing the opposite. And to make the unemployed pay yet again for a crisis they did not cause is criminal. Only last week, a Task Group of Rugby Council reported that, when Universal credit is introduced in Rugby in October, some claimants with children in childcare will be worse off under the scheme. At the same time, the charity Christians Against Poverty suggested Universal Credit will lead to increased hardship and debt. Research by the TUC goes further, showing that, taken with other benefit changes, Universal Credit will make a massive 62% of those on such benefits actually worse off, and just 8 % better off.

“The Tories are once again hitting those least able to defend themselves, whilst hoping their divide and rule tactics succeed. We will be doing everything possible in the months ahead to prevent that,” he concluded
• Rugby TUSC was set up in March 2011. It is part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition nationally - www.tusc.org.uk
• Rugby TUSC can be contacted on 07881 520626 or RugbyTUSC@gmail.com; PO Box 4123 Rugby CV21 9BJ
• Pete McLaren is a member of the TUSC National Steering Committee, and has recently been elected its Local Group Development Officer. He has recently been selected to contest the next General Election by Rugby TUSC

Wednesday, 26 June 2013


The Public Spending Review announced by Chancellor George Osborne today (June 26th) sets out the Government’s plans for the economy up to and beyond the 2015 General Election. “This is more of the same, but worse,” Pete McLaren, Rugby Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) spokesperson, told us immediately after the announcement. "The Tory/Lib Dem government is imposing £11.5 billion of further cuts to recently decimated public services.
“These 'Savings' will mean
• Drastic cuts to all the services provided by local Councils like Rugby and Warwickshire with the announced 10% cut to the Communities budget
• A similar level of cuts to those public services administered by the Government - 10% cut to the Ministry of Justice; 10% cut to the Department of Work and Pensions; 10% to the Department of the Environment; 9% cut in Transport; 8% to the Department of Energy and Climate Change; 7% cut to Culture and Media; 5% to the Department of Museums, Community Sports and Arts
• Pay cuts to largely low paid public sector workers with the announcements of maximum pay rises of 1% with inflation running at 3%, and the ending of automatic progression in pay
• A massive additional cut of £4 billion to welfare payments with a series of measures including a new welfare cap for the system as a whole, to be set each year for 4 years, despite rising unemployment, and a '7 day wait' before new claimants can even 'sign on' for benefits. How can you live without any money?
• Further privatisation of education with money somehow being found for more Academies and Free Schools

"The effect of these cuts, on top of those that have already closed youth clubs, libraries, care homes and fire stations, will be to further take away the public services those who need them have grown to rely on and enjoy - including museums, sports facilities, and public transport. Cuts in provision for investigating climate change and environmental improvements fly in the face of creating the greener world we were all promised and strive for. For those who work in the public sector there will be massive job cuts and redundancies, and those fortunate enough to keep their jobs will face pay cuts. Those who are forced to rely on poverty level welfare benefits will suffer even more, if that is possible. These cuts are a disgrace.

"George Osborne began his Public Spending Review speech by repeating his lie that "We are all in this together." How can we be when, in terms of public services lost, the TUC estimates that the poorest 10% will suffer 15 times more than the richest as they have greater need for such services? Even the Institute of Fiscal Studies says the impact of tax and benefit changes reduces the incomes of lower income households by more than that of higher income families, with the biggest losers being the poorest 10% of families with children. It is no accident that the rich are getting richer whilst the rest of us are made to pay for the crisis - the collective wealth of this year’s 1,000 richest people has reached £450 billion, the highest on record, with the top 200 now worth £318 billion, an increase of 8.5% compared to 2012. We are most certainly not in this together.

“The Tories are making these and other severe cuts, with the support of both the Lib Dems and the Labour so-called Opposition, despite knowing that their austerity policies are simply not working. In the last three years, unemployment has risen to 7.8%, with youth unemployment scandalously standing at over one million. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has fallen by 2.8% since 2008. Inflation, at 2.8%, continues to outstrip wage rises which averaged 0.8% in the last year. Austerity measures have actually prevented the economy from growing, thus making it harder to reduce the economic deficit. .
“It is an absolute disgrace that Labour will not be opposing such attacks on the poor and ordinary working people. Addressing the Labour Party National policy Forum in Birmingham on Saturday, Ed Milliband promised to be ruthless about pursuing Labour’s public spending priorities, accepting the need for further cuts beyond the 2015 General Election. Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls had earlier committed Labour to keeping George Osborne’s spending cuts if it wins that Election.

“Spending cuts are not necessary, as Labour well knows,” Pete McLaren continued. “A 5% wealth tax on the richest 10% would, on its own, resolve the economic deficit. There is also £120 billion per year of unpaid tax that rich individuals or companies avoid or evade. Banks could be nationalized, with profits used to maintain and improve our public services. To cut public spending is a political decision by right wing governments to attack services won for and by the working class,” he concluded.

• Rugby TUSC was set up in March 2011. It is part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition nationally - www.tusc.org.uk
• Rugby TUSC can be contacted on 07881 520626 or RugbyTUSC@gmail.com; PO Box 4123 Rugby CV21 9BJ
• Rugby TUSC stood anti cuts candidates across the whole of Rugby in this year’s County Council elections
• Pete McLaren is a member of the TUSC National Steering Committee, and has just been elected its Local Group Development Officer

Sunday, 21 April 2013



Thurs Apr 18 3pm NEW BILTON Hollybush, Lawford Rd

Fri Apr 19 4pm STALL Along from Asda

7pm BROWNSOVER Crown, Newbold

Sat Apr 20 2pm EASTLANDS & HILLMORTON The Bell, Hillmorton Rd

Sun Apr 21 3pm CALDECOTT The Griffin, Kingsway

Thurs Apr 25 6pm EARL CRAVEN Half Moon, Warwick Rd, Wolston

Fri Apr 26 6pm LAWFORD Cauldecott Arms, Main St, Long Lawford

Sun Apr 28 2pm FOSSE Denbeigh Arms, Monks Kirby

Mon Apr 29 6pm ADMIRALS Black Horse, Main St, Bilton

Tues Apr 30 2pm NEW BILTON Hollybush, Lawford Rd

6pm BROWNSOVER Outside Merry Monk, Helvellyn Way

Wed May 1st 2pm STALL Rugby Clock Tower