This year socialist councillor Dave Nellist is up for re election. One of the few remaining anti cuts councillors left in the country it is vital Dave is re elected to stand up to the pro cuts parties of the Tories and new labour.
Dave Nellist, Socialist Party councillor has been a lone voice against cuts on Coventry council. He stands in the tradition of councillors who stand up for those who elected them - such as in Liverpool in the 1980s and Poplar in the 1920s.
Dave is a fighting socialist who backs up his words with actions. Standing on a proud record of never voting for cuts and standing by his principles by demonstrating alongside workers whenever he can. Dave never paid his poll tax and was expelled from the Labour party for doing so he was part of militant who lead a successful mass non payment campaign where at the height of the battle up to 18 million people across the country refused to pay their poll tax.
More recently Dave has turned down the opportunity to become the deputy mayor of Coventry having stood for the longest on the council now. He didn’t feel he could take the position as he’d be obliged to vote with the ruling party and that would be labour and would therefore mean voting for cuts. He also wrote back to the council saying this
“I have taken soundings from a number of local people, and other Socialist Party supporters, and I don't feel, at this time, able to accept.
I appreciate the honour of the ceremonial role and the greater contact over two years, with people young and old, in the city. I would enjoy mayoral visits to everyone from schools to care homes, celebrating with local people. I would take seriously being the voice of sympathy for the city in commiserating with those who have suffered loss.
Some of your colleagues urged me to accept, saying I could bring a radical edge... to the job of Lord Mayor. And I have been tempted.
The first thing I thought I could have done, for example, would have been to invite all those in the queue for food parcels on a Sunday morning by the Swanswell to eat at the expense of the Lord Mayor's hospitality budget that day (and pay for it by cancelling all the normal municipal dinners and attendances at other Lord Mayor's dos across the region).
You see, I think we urgently need to review the council's role and responsibility in the matter of dealing with growing austerity, not leave it to the generosity of individuals or of faith organisations.”
. The Coventry Telegraph commented: "It is not the first time Councillor Nellist has chosen principle over personal privilege. As an MP he refused to accept more than the average worker's wage - considerably less than the salary to which he was entitled."
Fighting the government's attacks. Dave still to this day has only ever taken the average wage of a skilled worker in his area and has donated the rest back to the working class be that trade unions, communities or back in to campaigning for a socialist transformation of society.
This is socialist party policy and we are proud that Dave demonstrates this policy and how it can be done quite easily whilst being assessed by an outside independent auditor.
I was lucky enough to meet Dave and his wife Jane at socialist party summer camp last year and what a pleasure it was too. Dave is and I hope he doesn’t mind me saying this is just like you and I he is a councillor but doesn’t do it for the power or the money he is simply there to represent ordinary working class interests and give them a voice on the inside. I am proud the socialist party has class fights like Dave Nellist in our party even if he fails to get re elected this may few can doubt his record of fighting the cuts at every opportunity and raising the need to change society on a socialist basis.
Hearing Dave speak you get the feeling every word is meant and nothing at all is false or put on. Many politicians these days make lovely speech’s and twist and turn all the time and you are left wondering what exactly they said if anything. With Dave you left know where he stands exactly and his passion is clear for all to see. One of the best the militant and the now socialist party has ever had and Dave is a shining example how Marxists can work in bourgeois elections and win for workers on the outside.
I am hoping with others in eastern region to get up to Coventry to help campaign for Dave and his comrades before may and I hope others who recognise Dave’s contribution to the working class and the labour movement will offer their support and solidarity too.