Sunday 29 March 2015

Swansea TUSC supporters not daunted by miserable weather

This weekend sees the clocks go forward but the weather wasn't very spring-like in Swansea.

Undaunted by the foul weather, Swansea TUSC supporters visited the Uplands market to talk to potential voters in Swansea West... and the response certainly made it worth it!

We had some great comments from shoppers and market workers. Several times people who'd taken one of our mock ballot paper postcards came back to the stall to find out more about TUSC - which shows the effectiveness of the simple image which sums up the difference between TUSC and all other parties in this election

One woman down from London, visiting her daughter, had been inspired by seeing the Dave Nellist Underground interview on RT. Not only did she encourage her daughter to vote TUSC in Swansea West but said she would be checking out whether there is a candidate in her constituency in London.

She was one of a number of people who bought copies of the Socialist for the quality of its coverage of the TUSC election campaign.

One lifelong Labour voter told me how he'd given up on Labour and was wondering where the fightback would come from. He'd never heard of TUSC before which shows one of the difficulties that a new party faces but he has now and was pleased he has.

There's an awful lot of nonsense you have to go through in an election but talking politics with ordinary people is always a pleasure and it was great to see the new TUSC material go down so well.

Ronnie Job, TUSC prospective candidate. Swansea West.

Thursday 26 March 2015

Further Education cuts: Welsh Labour can't escape responsibility

This is a follow up to yesterday's article on FE cuts.

An early day motion supported by all the main unions in further education, calling for the reversal of devastating cuts in FE provision, now has the support of over 50 MPs.

Scanning the list I noticed that at least one Welsh Labour MP, Martin Caton, representing Gower, has signed. Gower College Swansea, which has one of its two main campuses in Martin's constituency, like pretty much every college in Wales, is facing up to huge cuts in funding. It is also, again like many other Welsh colleges, suffering from the Welsh Government's insistence on awarding many training contracts to private providers.

TUSC calls on Martin, who is stepping down at the General Election, to condemn his colleagues from the Labour Party, in the Welsh Government, for passing on Con-Dem cuts and to demand they reconsider. If these cuts are not urgently reversed then, should Labour win in May, then we will have a Labour Government in Westminster and a Labour Government in Cardiff, presiding over devastating cuts to further education in Wales.

If you are an education worker, student or a worker considering re-training, then Welsh Labour is letting you down badly; fund out how you can build TUSC and defend education.

Tuesday 24 March 2015

Will Welsh Labour be gravediggers of lifelong learning?

It wasn't so long ago that the Welsh Government was making a commitment to 'Lifelong Learning' - equality of opportunity in learning and training throughout life a key stone of education policy in Wales. But like pretty much everything else that Labour used to believe in, that idea is being sacrificed on the altar of obedience to austerity and sticking to Con-Dem spending limits.

Welsh Further Education (FE) colleges are now facing up to a 50% cut in funding for most part time provision. This is on top of a general so-called "efficiency saving" - that's an obscure way of saying "cut" to those of us who work in further education. The result is jobs, courses and maybe whole colleges are put at risk.

The Welsh Government has just awarded a number of its latest work based learning contracts to private or 'third-sector' providers, some of whom don't even recognise trade unions. So much for the promise I heard First Minister, Carwyn Jones, make to the Wales TUC in 2013, that there is no room for outsourcing of public services in Wales!

Or does Welsh Labour no longer consider education and training to be an essential public service? Their willingness to continue to pass on destructive Con-Dem cuts to funding for further education in Wales, even when they hope and expect to have a Labour Government in Westminster in a couple of months, would seem to suggest that this is the case. It also says that they know as well as the rest of us that Labour in Westminster will continue with both austerity and underfunding Wales.

We're in a fight for the very future of further education in Wales and what is needed now is national action from trade unionists to secure the funding we need to continue to provide the quality training and education that college workers pride ourselves on. My experiences of being at the sharp end of Welsh Labour cuts in further education confirms for me the correctness of standing for TUSC, to provide hope and an alternative to the cuts-consensus. If you're a public sector worker in a service like FE, threatened by Welsh Labour's acceptance of Con-Dem austerity, isn't it time you checked out TUSC for yourself?

Sunday 8 March 2015

My Competition for the Alternative Vote, ladies and gentlemen.

I can categorically confirm that TUSC won't be scapegoating any gay donkeys in the election campaign.

Saturday 7 March 2015

Blair's Blood Money Backs Cardiff's Labour candidates.

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has offered Jo Stevens, and Mari Williams, Labour candidates for Cardiff Central and Cardiff North respectively a donation of £1,000 each.

Blair is rightly hated for his role in the Iraq war which claimed the lives of thousands of ordinary Iraqi civilians, and TUSC Wales calls on both candidates to refuse the blood money.

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair - cartoon by Alan hardman 
The money is part of a wider donation totalling £106,000 to the local campaigns in each of Labour's 106 key target seats.

Part of the way Blair has made his money since leaving office is giving out PR advice to the dictator of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev. If you want to get away with the murdering civilians like Nazarbayev get in touch with Tony today.

Blair's represents so much of what is wrong with the Labour party and British politics. A stalwart of privatisation he left the NHS with £70bn worth of debt as a result of the governments PFI schemes.

He also began the neo liberal assault on education by introducing tuition fees for university students and then tripling them to £3,000. Instead of education, education, education, Blairs slogan should have been profit, profit, profit.

The trade union and socialist coalition candidate for Cardiff Central, Stephen Williams has condemned the donation saying; "Ordinary people in Cardiff know that it was Blair that took us to an illegal war in Iraq and ended the socialist principles of old Labour. We all know that Blairism stands for war and an anti-working class, pro-capitalist rule."

The current MP for Cardiff Central is Liberal Democrat Jenny Willot and as socialists we wan't to kick her and the brutal Conservatives out of government, but we need  a genuine alternative to replace her. This blood soaked donation shows Milliband's labour isn't a break from the politics of the last decades, it's a continuation of them, and working class candidates who stand against war, and austerity are needed.

TUSC demonstrating agiasnt war.

TUSC is standing at least 100 parliamentary candidates in the general election, but we won't be taking a penny of war criminals or big bushiness. We want to create a genuine alternative to the likes of new Labour. Socialism would mean an end to war for profit, and the misery inflicted on the working class by successive governments that represent the rich. If you support these ideas, get involved and vote TUSC!

Tuesday 3 March 2015

Cardiff Cuts Curtailed by Protests but New Anticuts Party Needed to Finish the Job

Council Leader Phil Bale, who is facing calls for his resignation.
It was chaos.

The group of Labour councillors ruling Cardiff Council showed us last Thursday that pantomime farce is alive and well in this city - and not confined to the New Theatre.

Pantomime dame from Cinderella, which showed at Cardiff's New Theatre earlier this year.
Committed to making the cuts, but terrified of how unpopular this would make them, the ruling group dithered through the budget meeting until almost midnight, through adjournment after adjournment after adjournment.

Under massive pressure from campaigners, who were gathered outside for the Cardiff Against The Cuts protest lobby (more brilliant photos here), Labour councillors were forced to submit THREE emergency budget amendments TO THEIR OWN BUDGET.

Just days before, councillors had insisted that there was no option but to slash this funding, but when campaigners refused to blink they cancelled cuts to almost all the facilities and services that had organised public protests.

Funding for branch libraries was guaranteed until the next council elections, extending library campaigners' victory after previous protests. Play centres, which have fought a gruelling guerrilla war against closures plans for over a year, including protests in Grangetown and Splott that blocked major roads, were given another year's reprieve. Day centres for the elderly have been saved and youth clubs and Cardiff Alcohol and Drug Team have had their cuts reduced.

Austerity isn't over in Cardiff, though. The budget that all Labour councillors eventually supported agreed tens of millions of pounds worth of cuts to services and hundreds more job losses in a city that can't afford more unemployment. Much-loved facilities, such as Canton Community Centre and others, are facing demolition.

But the cat's out of the bag now: if you fight back, it is possible to win. We've got to shout that from the rooftops, and also broadcast the best way to fight in order to score a victory against cuts.

First off, never give in. No matter who tells you the cause is lost and there's no alternative but to accept cuts, closures and privatisation.

Second, don't be fobbed off by assurances that the money will appear from somewhere else - whether it's charities, companies or the community. Private companies aren't interested in public services unless they can milk them for profits, and there just isn't enough money in the pockets of ordinary people to be able to fund  all the facilities and services under threat. Focus on fighting to keep guaranteed funds from the council or other public body.

Third, give councillors, Assembly Members and Members of Parliament HELL unless they're doing absolutely everything they can to stop cuts to public services. They all claim to be on your side (especially in an election year!) but councillors, for example, can come out and publicly oppose cuts in the press, vote against their party's budget, resign from the cabinet to show their opposition to a plan, call in decisions to force the cabinet to look at them again, resign from their party and go to the press, and most crucially, call for a no-cuts budget that uses emergency cash in the reserves and careful borrowing to save all jobs and services while a campaign to demand more funding from the government is built.

Fourth, publicly promise to stand in elections as an anti-cuts candidate if your representative isn't doing all of the above. The growing support for this strategy amongst campaigners was a crucial factor in Labour backing off from these cuts, as they feared the development of a force that could take rob them of their positions - including (God forbid!) - the cash allowances that come with them!

Ross Saunders, the secretary of Cardiff Against The Cuts, is likely to stand for anti-cuts election alliance, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, in Cardiff South and Penarth, with widespread support from campaigners. At TUSC's Cardiff launch last Thursday, Ross said "Austerity is our fault. They've got away with it because we've let them - because we weren't organised enough to stop them. It's time we corrected that mistake: anticuts campaigners should stand in elections against the main parties, linking up through TUSC Against Cuts to start the process of organising a new, democratic party run by of ordinary working-class people to fight for our own interests. If I'm elected I'll take an ordinary working-class wage, donating two-thirds of my MP's salary back to the movement like the best socialist MPs did in the past."

Cardiff Council Leader Phil Bale could be booted out of office on Thursday, but we've had a change of leader before. LibDem Rodney Berman, Plaid's Neil McEvoy and both Goodway-puppet Heather Joyce and current Labour leader Phil Bale have changed the colour of the flag and changed the face in the papers, but the policies have been the same - cuts when big business demand we pay for the recession. We'll have to build a new party to change course away from austerity as well.

Swansea Labour Council's Cuts are taking us backwards

"Time stands still" reads the article in the Evening Post, in a story about how council  cuts have led to a number of publicly visible clicks around the city being set to, and remaining at, 12.00 as they are not being wound.


As far as services are concerned though, Swansea's Labour Council is taking us backwards.

A £27 million cut in funding for jobs and services this year alone (projected £80million+ over 3 years) means everything that isn't a statutory requirement and probably some that are, is likely to be cut.

We must call time on cuts and all parties, including Labour, voting for them. TUSC, with 8 candidates already announced in Wales and more in the pipeline, is the only party putting a consistent no-cuts position in the General Election in Wales. Contact us to find out how you can help build the TUSC alternative.