This year again TUSC candidates will be standing across the region in Stevenage, Peterborough, Hatfield, Cambridge and maybe elsewhere that I am not yet aware of. TUSC stands against all cuts and privatisation unlike any other party we don’t feel that any cuts are necessary and ordinary people should be made to pay for a crisis not of their making.
In Stevenage last year 5 candidates stood this year we have 6 standing we are also standing in new towns like Hatfield and Peterborough. We will be putting up candidates in Harlow in the coming years but we thought this was a bit too soon for Harlow at this stage. But while the region has a mostly Tory look to it the labour council in Stevenage has disgracefully passed on every cut passed its way. Its get out clause this year has been to increase the rents on council housing evading bigger cuts in jobs and services in the council. This is a cynical and unfair tactic of claiming they are not making any cuts this year instead making ordinary residents of Stevenage pay for the cuts instead.
We will be highlighting this and the fact that next year and the year after that more cuts are on their way and they will not get away with this.
People who are looking for an alternative may see TUSC at this stage as a small party with not much hope of winning but I think we are on the cusp of a change in consciousness. Some people say we still have to vote labour to keep the Tories out but this argument is wearing thinner and thinner with Labour councils up and down the country passing on all the cuts given to them with little to no opposition.
So it is important we do stand and offer an alternative I feel. With the London list of top trade unionists and anti cuts candidates standing in London we could see a breakthrough there with just 5% of the vote across London needed to get a candidate elected to city hall. Giving workers a voice against the establishment parties who are tied to austerity and privatisation.
The basic TUSC manifesto is as follows
• Oppose all cuts to council jobs, services, pay and conditions - we reject the claim that 'some cuts' are necessary to our services.
• Reject increases in council tax, rent and service charges to compensate for government cuts.
• Vote against the privatisation of council jobs and services, or the transfer of council services to 'social enterprises' or 'arms-length' management organisations, which are first steps to privatisation.
• Use all the legal powers available to councils, including powers to refer local NHS decisions, initiate referenda and organise public commissions and consultations, to oppose both the cuts and government polices which centrally impose the transfer of public services to private bodies.
• When faced with government cuts to council funding, councils should refuse to implement the cuts. We will support councils which in the first instance use their reserves and prudential borrowing powers to avoid passing them on - while arguing that the best way to mobilise the mass campaign that is necessary to defeat the cuts is to set a budget that meets the needs of the local community and demands that the government makes up the shortfall.
PUBLIC OWNERSHIP, NOT PRIVATISED PROFIT
Stop all privatisation, including the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) and Public-Private Partnerships (PPP), and the immoral privatisation of prisons. Bring privatised public services and utilities back into public ownership under democratic control.
NO CUTS - QUALITY PUBLIC SERVICES
Take rail back into public ownership and build an integrated, low-pollution public transport system.
For a high-quality, free National Health Service under democratic public ownership and control.
Stop council estate sell-offs and build eco-friendly, affordable public housing.
Good, free education for all, under democratic local authority control; student grants not fees.
Keep Royal Mail as a publicly-owned service, not a privatised cash cow.
JOBS, NOT HANDOUTS TO BANKERS & BILLIONAIRES
Bring banks and finance institutions into genuine public ownership under democratic control, instead of giving huge handouts to the very capitalists who caused the crisis.
Tax the rich. For progressive tax on rich corporations and individuals, with a crackdown on tax avoidance.
For massive investment in environmental projects.
EMPLOYMENT & TRADE UNION RIGHTS
Repeal the anti-trade union laws.
A minimum wage set at half average adult male earnings, with no exemptions.
Invest to create and protect jobs, including for young people.
Solidarity with workers taking action to defend jobs, conditions, pensions, public services and trade unions. Reinstate full trade union rights to prison officers.
PROTECT OUR ENVIRONMENT - STOP GLOBAL WARMING
Deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions - otherwise climate change, caused by capitalism, will destroy us.
Invest in publicly-owned and controlled renewable energy.
Move to sustainable, low-pollution industry and farming - stop the pollution that is destroying our environment.
Recognise that many of our planet's resources are limited and that capitalism fritters them away for profit.
Produce for need, not profit, and design goods for reuse and recycling.
DECENT PENSIONS & BENEFITS
Restore the pre-Thatcher real value of pensions. Reinstate the link with average earnings.
Protect entitlement to benefits; for living benefits; end child poverty.
DEMOCRACY, DIVERSITY & JUSTICE
Welcome diversity and oppose racism, fascism and discrimination on the grounds of race, sex, disability, sexuality, age and all other forms of prejudice.
Defend the right to asylum. No scapegoat of migrant workers.
Ensure women have genuinely equal rights and pay.
Defend our liberties and make police and security democratically accountable.
SOLIDARITY NOT WAR
Bring home all British troops from Afghanistan immediately - no more wars for resources.
No more spending on a new generation of nuclear weapons, huge aircraft carriers or irrelevant euro fighters - convert arms spending into socially useful products and services.
An independent foreign policy based on international solidarity – no more being a US poodle, no moves towards a capitalist, militarist United States of Europe, no Lisbon Treaty.
For a democratic socialist society run in the interests of the people not the millionaires. For democratic public ownership of the major companies and banks that dominate the economy, so that production and services can be planned to meet the needs of all and to protect the environment.
While these policies are basic in their outline we as the socialist party who play a role within TUSC believe that TUSC could be a stepping stone towards a new mass workers party which is urgently needed in this country and across the world. By us standing this may we may or may not win but the main thing is that we do offer that alternative. At last people have someone to vote for and won’t be let down if you vote TUSC this may.