Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Fight the cuts - VOTE TUSC AGAINST CUTS on 5th May

Fight the cuts: Vote for a socialist alternative
TUSC against cuts

Dave Nellist
Socialist Party councillor, Coventry
TUSC steering committee

Dave Nellist at NSSN lobby of TUC, photo Suleyman Civi
Dave Nellist at NSSN lobby of TUC, photo Suleyman Civi
On Thursday 5 May millions of people get the chance to pass judgement on a year of the Con-Dem government.
Elections are being held for local councils in England (outside London), the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales, and the councils and Assembly in Northern Ireland.
In all these elections there will be socialist candidates offering an alternative to the diet of cuts and austerity supported, to one degree or another, by all the establishment parties - the Tories, the Lib Dems, Labour and the nationalists.
Hanging, like the sword of Damocles, over every village, town and city, is the prospect of deeper cuts to essential services and local jobs than seen for decades.
But while the cuts originate in parliament and Whitehall, the government's job in making those cuts is partly eased by the lack of real opposition from Labour and many trade union leaders.
When the government proposed to cut future pension and benefit rates, by changing the way in which they are indexed - Labour abstained. When the government debated widespread cuts in disability, housing and other benefits - Labour abstained. In every council where Labour currently has a majority, as far as I know they have passed on the government's cuts, without a single Labour vote against.
You can't rely on Labour to stand up for you, because at heart they want most of the same cuts, only "slower". They don't disagree with the government's direction of travel, only the speed; forever repeating "too far, too fast". They don't intend to resist the cuts, only to cynically harvest public opposition on their road to the 2015 general election.
And in recent weeks, Labour's strategists' master plan for that election has emerged in the newspapers, to rebrand Labour as 'Blue Labour', consolidating the party as "small-c Conservative" - as if Labour's record on privatisation, wars, and the widening gap between the rich and the rest wasn't 'blue' enough already!
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) will be standing 180 candidates in 53 towns and cities in England on 5 May. Our candidates are drawn from the best working class fighters, who will protect local services, including active members of the following trade unions: PCS, Unison, Unite, FBU, RMT, Aslef, CWU, UCU, NUT, and NASUWT.

Stop the cuts

If elected, TUSC councillors would campaign to stop the cuts being implemented locally by linking up with trade unionists and working class communities and helping to coordinate the fightback.
This election is but part of a longer term anti-cuts battle. The last 12 months have just been year one of a five-year government austerity plan.
26 March showed the strength of feeling among working class people and their families when half a million trade unionists marched through London to protest at the cuts. But protest and rage is not enough; we need a strategy to beat the government.
The TUC needs to support those trade unions starting the fightback, by developing an escalating programme of coordinated national industrial action, beginning with the defence of pensions in June. Alongside that, trade unionists need to develop a serious political alternative to the establishment parties' overlapping agenda of cuts and austerity.
Vote TUSC Agianst Cuts on 5 May.

Focus on Bilton Ward

The 7th & final seat Rugby TUSC are contesting in the local elections this year is Bilton Ward.

Steve Roberts lives in Bilton ward and works for the fire service.  He is the chair of the Fire Brigade Union (FBU) in Warwickshire and an active member of Rugby against the Cuts.  If elected he will fight ALL cuts in jobs and services in Rugby.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Focus on Brownsover South Ward

The sixth seat Rugby TUSC are fighting in the local elections is the Brownsover South Ward.

Brownsover South covers the South and West of Brownsover estate from Keswick Drive/Lindale over to Hawlands and Coniston Close.  It also includes old Brownsover around Boughton Road and the new housing in Projects Drive and Aqua Close.

Clive was born & grew up in Brownsover and attended Boughton Leigh School for six years in the 1970s.  He currently lives in the Brownsover South ward and works as a teacher.  Clive is an active member of the teaching union the NUT, Rugby Against the Cuts and the Socialist Party.  If elected Clive will oppose ALL cuts.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Focus on Hillmorton Ward

The fifth seat that Rugby TUSC are contesting in May's local elections is Hillmorton Ward.


Dave Goodwin is 40 and has worked on the railway since leaving school in 1986. Almost a proper cockney he lived in East London for 29 years before moving up to his adopted home of Rugby. If asked Dave says that London is a great place but he won't be moving back there in this lifetime! Dave follows West Ham United and is known in certain parts of Hillmorton as West Ham Dave.

Dave has been a member of the RMT and its predecessor the NUR since he joined the railway and has struggled with the rest of his union's membership through the disastrous period of privatisation and the recent assaults on Network Rail staff's terms & conditions which have led to approximately 1500 redundancies.

A Health and Safety rep, Dave has fought issues at a local and national level and will do the same for his constituents should he be elected. No Cuts mean No Cuts, this country was in a worse state at the end of world war 2 yet we built the NHS, built social housing and brought industries into public ownership. We must all fight these neo-liberal free market millionaires who don't care if you carry the can for their failures.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Focus on Eastlands Ward

The forth of the seats Rugby TUSC are contesting is Eastlands  ward.

Eastlands covers the area around Eastlands Road, the Southfields Estate, and the Slade Road & Sidney Road areas.

Bert Harris, 49, is former Labour Candidate and led Rugby’s campaign against the Poll Tax. He has lived in Rugby all his life apart from the 3 years he spent studying Politics at Liverpool University. For the past 17 years he has run his own business supplying Crew to the live events industry and also works as a freelance Stage Manager. Bert is a Wolves Season Ticket holder and also enjoys golf, fishing and mountain biking.

Bert has not been politically active for a few years but has been forced back into action by the severity of the ConDem’s cuts. He says, ‘ At the time of the Poll Tax campaign we warned of the effects on council services, the Poll Tax was defeated by a mass movement of the people, lets hope the same can be done with the campaign against the cuts’. He added, ‘ The bankers are sitting pretty with their big bonuses while we are forced to pay’.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Focus on Dunchurch and Knightlow Ward

The third of the wards Rugby TUSC are standing in is Dunchurch and Knightlow ward.

Dunchurch & Knightlow ward covers the villages of Dunchurch, Thurlaston, Marton, Stretton on Dunsmore, Frankton and Princethorpe.


Pete McLaren lives locally in Long Lawford, and is married with 3 children and 5 grandchildren, three of whom live with their parents in Dunchurch.  He is a former teacher at inner city Comprehensive Schools in Coventry.  He is National Secretary of the Socialist Alliance and national Press Officer of the Campaign for a New Workers’ Party.  Locally, he is the Secretary of Rugby against the Cuts, Coventry and Warwickshire Socialist Alliance, Rugby Against Racism and Rugby Stop The war Coalition.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Focus on Caldecott Ward

The second of the wards Rugby TUSC are standing in is Caldecott ward.

Caldecott ward covers the town centre area by Rugby School and runs from Norton Leys (Off Dunchurch Road) over to the area around the Railway club on Hillmorton Road.


Julie lives in Caldecott ward and works as a teacher.  She is an active member of the UCU and was also active in the anti-poll tax campaign in the early 1990s.  Julie has campaigned against the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan as a member of the Rugby branch of the Stop the War Coalition.  She has also campaigned against racism and far right parties/organisations in the town.  If elected Julie would oppose ALL cuts to jobs and services in Rugby.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Focus on Leam Valley Ward

Over the next week Rugby TUSC will introduce all their candidates for May's local elections in Rugby, we start by looking at Leam Valley ward. 

Leam Valley covers the Birdingbury, Grandborough, Leamington Hastings, Flecknoe and Willoughby areas.


Geoff says "I have worked in Rugby for 6 years, and am seeing, from a professional point of view, the effects that the cuts are having already. They’re hitting all levels of society in one way or another. But, inevitably, it’s the most vulnerable who are facing the greatest losses. I am 62 years old and have experienced the rigours of post war social deprivation in my home town of Bradford, and am determined to fight all retrograde steps. If elected, I will steadfastly pursue an anti-cuts agenda, until these measures are substituted with more equitable policies."

Monday, 4 April 2011

Big Society on the Agenda

This is a report of a meeting which took place in Dunchuch in March.

A meeting of over 100 angry residents packed into Dunchurch Infants School, just outside Rugby, to hear the chair and local Liberal Democrat parish councillor declare the only way to save the local library from closure was to staff it using volunteers.  It seems the ‘big society’ agenda is even being pushed by coalition partners at local parish council level as well as nationally.

The angry meeting was told about budget cuts being made by the Tory controlled Warwickshire County Council which will result in 16 libraries being closed down in the county, including the local one in Dunchurch.
With a defeatist attitude the Liberal Democrat chair of the parish council, Robin Aird, declared to the meeting that there was no way the County Council would reverse these cuts and the only possible way to maintain a library in the village would be to run it as a ‘big society’ venture using local volunteers to replace the two women workers currently employed to run the service.

During the discussion some local residents, following Aird’s negative lead, said they would get involved in running the service.  However, two of the local election candidates from Rugby TUSC made short interventions explaining that there are alternatives to cuts and firmly stated that it wasn’t acceptable to sack workers and replace them with community volunteers.  We also pointed out that this is a weak coalition that can be forced into U turns, giving the example of the protests in the Forest of Dean which helped to force the coalition to reverse their decision to sell off the country’s woodlands.

Myself and Pete McLaren (TUSC candidate for Dunchurch in the coming local Borough elections) were the only people to receive a round of applause at the meeting.  This clearly shows that where a lead is given and a fighting strategy to resist cuts is put forward people are determined and willing to fight back.

Clive Dunkley
Candidate – TUSC Candidate Brownsover South

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Rugby TUSC annonce 7 candidates - vote against the cuts!

With nominations closing at 12 noon today Monday, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition confirmed the names of its seven candidates who will be standing in Rugby.

“We have a strong list of active socialists and trade unionists standing to promote our opposition to cuts,” Election Agent Clive Dunkley announced.  “They are as follows:

Bilton - Steve Roberts            Chair, Warwickshire Fire Brigades Union (FBU) 
Brownsover South – Clive Dunkley   Socialist party & National Union of Teachers (NUT)
Caldecott – Julie Weekes Universities and Colleges Union (UCU)
Dunchurch –Pete McLaren     National Secretary, Socialist Alliance & NUT
Eastlands – Bert Harris – Former Secretary Rugby Anti Poll Tax Union
Hillmorton – Dave Goodwin  RMT Health & Safety Rep
Leam Valley – Geoff Dewhirst Secretary Warwickshire UNITE – Community & Youth Workers Section

All TUSC candidates will appear on the ballot paper as Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts.

“This is historic.  Never before have the establishment Parties in Rugby faced such an electoral challenge,” he continued.  “Our candidates will be standing to support the decision made by Rugby Against the Cuts to promote anti cuts candidates in every Rugby ward.  We now have an active Branch of TUSC in Rugby and these Elections give us the opportunity to show local people that there are alternatives to public spending cuts.  We will be arguing that the deficit could be resolved by a 5% wealth tax, or by collecting in all the taxes which the rich avoid paying or evade,” he concluded

Local TUSC spokesperson Pete McLaren added, “The three establishment Parties all believe that cutting public spending is the way to resolve the economic crisis.  Over 500,000 trade unionists and political activists marching in London a week ago said otherwise.  We are now giving the people of Rugby the opportunity to use their vote to show their opposition to public spending cuts.  Continued pressure can force Governments to change course, and we are delighted to be part of a growing anti cuts movement that is having an increasing influence,” he concluded.