Wednesday, 31 December 2014


WORKERS ON TAP!

Today’s Economist magazine front page cartoon depicts workers coming out of a tap. “Workers on tap” is the headline. It may be unintentional (although I’m not sure) but the effect is to show how working people are seen - from the viewpoint of the large employer and of capital.

They want a world in which workers can easily be hired and fired; workers on low, “competitive” wages; on zero-hour contracts; on absent health and safety regimes, with no unions! This undoubtedly will become the “new normal” in the coming years - unless we stop it.

In many countries, we are seeing the first signs of great political change - in Greece, Spain, Italy, Ireland and elsewhere. Here, workers and youth have started the process of forging their own political combat organisations and leadership. 

But in other countries, such as France, in the absence of a bold and ambitious lead from trade union leaders or workers’ parties, the forces of the racist right are able to rear their ugly heads, to sow confusion and disruption amongst workers.

In the UK, it looks very much like “One Nation Labour” has neither the will nor the political programme to challenge the rule of big business. On the contrary, it hobbles lamely behind the worst of British politics! It is truly lost to workers - even if it pulls the odd left-sounding phrase out of the bag!

Many trade union leaders similarly are not up to the job (although with honourable exceptions). Some have tried to reform “New Labour” from within - only to be expelled and shunned. The National Shop Stewards Network, however, is fighting hard, and gaining ground, to change the climate (and the leadership) in the union movement.

Therefore, many workers and union activists, and also community activists and campaigners, are drawing the conclusion that a new workers’ party is required to challenge the rule of the 1% in the political sphere. This is the conclusion reached by the indefatigable Bob Crow, recent leader of the RMT. Together with other like minded individuals and socialist organisations he helped  create TUSC as the vehicle for putting socialist, working class political firmly back on the agenda.

TUSC is an umbrella organisation that seeks the maximum unity of all workers and left organisations behind a programme of socialist challenge to the Tweedledum and Tweedledee parties of big money. 

We aim to show there is an alternative to austerity, poverty and uncertainty.

We aim to build a powerful political influence for working people. A party not only for workers, but also of workers. 

We will be fighting hard in 2015. 

Change starts here! Join us!

Friday, 19 December 2014

TUSC CHRISTMAS APPEAL

Sweet it is to sleep, sweeter to be a stone.
In this dread age of terror and shame
Thrice blest is he who neither sees nor feels.
Leave me here then, and trouble not my rest.

For many families - too many - daily life is hard: full of worry and uncertainty. It is perhaps understandable how these words of Michelangelo may ring true for them. 

BUT TUSC IS FIGHTING BACK! 

The long history of working people has been one of determined struggle for a better life. Through trade unions, political parties, community organisations; workers have fought to change society. And that continues….

The Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition will not idly stand by whilst the lives of millions are ruined by the barbarism of big business and their stooges in Parliament and councils. We aim to halt “this dread age of terror and shame”!

But finances are the sinews of war. So, if you possibly can, please make a small (or large!) donation to our local bank account - details below. We have no millionaire backers. We rely on the sacrifices of ordinary people. (If you’d prefer to send a cheque or cash, please email us at SuttonCroydonTUSC@gmail.com)

Poverty! Bad Housing! Unemployment! Food Banks! Zero Hours! High Rents! Racism!

END IT!

HART! FOR CROYDON NORTH!

----
Unity Trust Bank
Account Name - Sutton Croydon TUSC Support Group
Account Number - 2 0 3 3 7 3 4 2
Sort Code - 0 8 6 0 0 1

Monday, 15 December 2014

CALLING CROYDON NORTH! 

Your TUSC candidate, Glen Hart, publishes his manifesto! You can see the full document here.

Please share with friends and family - as widely as possible! 

This is the Manifesto’s opening statement -

Glen Hart, the TUSC candidate for Croydon North, has lived all his life in Thornton Heath. He is an active trade unionist in the Rail and Maritime Trades Union (RMT), and currently is a station supervisor. Glen is married with 3 children

He is a socialist. One of his earliest political recollections is participating in the demonstrations against the Tories’ hated Poll Tax in the early 1990s.  “I am standing for TUSC”, he says, "because I want to give the people of North Croydon a real choice. The careerist mainstream candidates offer the same diet of austerity, and cuts in public services. If elected, I will be a workers’ MP on a workers’ wage. I will not take the fat salary and lavish expenses and benefits - I will stay in touch with my constituents!"


The Manifesto covers in more detail Glen’s top ten priorities. These are the headings -

1. Tackling Low Pay and the Cost of Living
2. Real Jobs, Real Work
3. The Local Community - Fighting Racism
4. Tackling the Housing Crisis
5. No to Privatisation: Yes to Public Services
6. Progressive Taxation
7. Defend the NHS - Health before Wealth!
8. Free Education for ALL
9. Protecting the Environment
10. Clean Politics


In due course this Manifesto will comprise the main content of the document that will be posted into everyone’s home in Croydon North, nearer the election. But we wanted to get the message out now.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

AUTUMN STATEMENT & CROYDON'S JOBS!

Today the Government will announce its “Autumn Statement”. They are not succeeding, everyone will say, in cutting the deficit. According to the BBC, New Labour's Ed Balls will say that unless wages are rising, the deficit won’t come down, and what is needed therefore is, “A plan for jobs and work”.

The apparent need to “balance the budget” (there is actually no need to do so) will be the subject of a later post. What concerns us here is that “plan".

A plan for “jobs and work” is indeed vital, but not to get the deficit down! It is vital because we need to end unemployment and lift living standards; to end the misery it causes!

But, does Croydon's “One Nation Labour” council, or Labour nationally, really have a plan to tackle unemployment? Take the Croydon party's flag-festooned manifesto, for example, where the plan should be.

In relation to youth unemployment, it says, “we are ambitious for our young people”. Good. So what is your strategy for tackling it? 

“Labour’s strategy is to create an ambitious and vibrant ‘place to be’ ”, it says.

This is pathetic! It encapsulates our complaint about New Labour, and what it has become. There is no “ambition” here for workers, at all!  None whatsoever! 

They will, the manifesto says, "work with" businesses to make Croydon an attractive place to invest. This is their best shot - do whatever it is that business wants, and then hope they'll employ Croydon’s workers.

But we think we already know what it is that big business wants. It says so itself often enough. It wants low wages, zero hour contracts, no trade unions, no health and safety legislation. In other words it wants workers who are easy to hire and fire, and who are cheap!

New Labour’s problem is that it accepts the limitations and permissions set by big business. Consequently it must go cap-in-hand to the leisure classes. Please, it says, please invest here. We’ll do whatever you want! And because we are “Labour”, we’ll be better able to persuade workers to toe the line.

The other part of their solution for the jobs crisis is improving the skills and education of job seekers. Nothing at all wrong with that. But there’s an issue here too.  According to the reports earlier this year, there are, "about 39 applications for every graduate job…”. Non-graduate job vacancies are just as over-subscribed. Some jobs attracts thousands of applicants!

So if ten people apply for a job, it hardly matters how skilled and educated they are. Only one person is going to get it!

The fact is, what is causing unemployment is NOT the absence of skills, but the unwillingness of big business - despite swimming in cash - to invest! They are sitting on their hands!

With the compliance of spineless “Labour councils, THIS is what is happening >

- Around 500,000 jobs have been lost in local government since May 2010. (Financial Times, 10 Nov, 14)
- Armed Forces - 11,000 redundancies since 2011.
- Portsmouth Naval Shipyard - 900 job losses, bringing an end to shipbuilding there.
- Remploy - factories and workshops for people with disabilities - around 1,700 job losses due to closure of most installations. (2013/14)
- Grangemouth oil refinery - 200 job cuts. (Early 2014)
- nPower - announced 2,500 cuts in August 2013.
- Royal Doulton ceramics - 1,000 UK jobs - Dec 2013 announcement.
- Blockbuster closure - 1,200 losses.
- Tie Rack closure - 200.
- “The big four banks have cut 200,000 jobs since the credit crunch. And another 50,000 or more are set to be cut in the next five years”. (CityAM, 5 Mar 2014)
- Post Office announces 1,300 job cuts (March 2014)
- Nottingham cigarette factory to close - 500 jobs. (Early 2014)
- Morrisons announce 2,600 job losses, June 2014.
- Phones4U goes into administration. Around 5,000 jobs. Sept, 2014.
- Birmingham's “Labour" council announces 6,000 job cuts over next few years.  Sept 2014.
- TfL wants to cut 1,000 jobs in tube network. Closing the ticket offices. Sept 2014.
- Unipart (Solihull) has gone into administration. 1,400 job losses. (Guardian July, 2014)
- Lloyds bank has lost around 30,000 jobs since financial crisis. (Guardian July, 2014)
- Tata steel is proposing 400 job cuts in Wales. (Guardian. July, 2014)
- Lloyds bank announces 9,000 more job losses. (BBC Oct, 2014)
- Murco's Milford Haven Oil Refinery - 340 jobs to go. And 200 contract workers also likely to go. (BBC. 5 Nov, 2014)
- Rolls Royce - 2,600 jobs to go - 1,700 of which in UK - mostly around Derby. (Guardian. 5 Nov, 2014)




Tuesday, 25 November 2014

More New Labour Hypocrisy

The hypocrisy of Steve Reed and One Nation Labour is boundless.

Recently for example, Reed backed “Labour’s” plans to, “save our NHS”. They will, if you believe them, introduce a “Time to Care Fund” to increase the number of health care staff. 

TUSC welcomes all tangible and long-lasting reforms that directly benefit working people. 

But we spy some of New Labour’s weasel words again. They say their plan, “will see 20,000 more nurses, 8,000 more GPs, 5,000 more care workers and 3,000 more midwives”. 

But what does, “will see”, mean? Why not say plainly that if elected they will directly recruit these additional staff. And why not also say by which date, even approximately, they will achieve it?

Reed blames the Tories. And of course there is some truth in that. But you do have to ask yourself, what were New Labour themselves doing when they were in power for 13 years? Do they think we have a problem with our short-term memory?

They have the gall to say (on Reed’s website) that only “Labour” can be trusted to save the NHS. But tell us, and do so plainly, is New Labour definitely NOT in favour of NHS PFI contracts? 

Will they say plainly that they will HALT and reverse the NHS internal “market” - which consumes so much in time and money - and which substantially accounts for the bureaucratic, “top down” management which Reed bangs on about so often?


As we say in the previous post, it was no other than New Labour that implemented 150 PFI contracts in the NHS. Besides being a massively expensive way of financing public projects - in and out of the NHS - it paves the way for more private-profit intrusion into the heath services. 

Monday, 24 November 2014

NEW LABOUR NHS FRAUD

It's a sign of how far New Labour have fallen, that Clive Efford’s National Health Service (Amended Duties and Powers) Bill caused so much dancing in the streets - by New Labour MPs and Labour-friendly journalists. This Bill has just passed a second reading in Parliament by 241 votes to 18.

Where were the rest of the 650 MPs? It is quite likely that the Tories stayed away due to the by-election in Rochester & Strood.

But New Labour is in a double-bind. If this Bill eventually became an Act, that could only happen with the support of the Tories. That in turn would suggest the Bill is an empty piece of pre-election spin destined for the shredder.

However, if the Bill is blocked, that could suggest it really does contain something worthwhile. But in which case, why seek to repeal just a few paltry parts of the Tory's 2012 Act? Why not call for the repeal the whole Act?!

The fact is, this weaselly Bill is a stunt. And a poor one at that!

Will this Bill, for example, stop the private contracts worth £9 billion - due to be let to the likes of Virgin, Bupa, and possibly even arms manufacturer Lockheed Martin!? (See here for details of that).

If it WOULD do that, why isn’t “Labour” shouting this from the rooftops?

Is it because New Labour itself is not actually against the private provision of health services?

Is it because New Labour itself, by 2009, had implemented nearly 150 PFI contracts in the NHS?

"One Nation Labour" is starting its election campaign by desperately trying to sound like a Left party. It wants the support of trade union top bureaucrats, who will try influencing their members on the strength of these stunts. The growing emergence of TUSC’s electoral (and industrial) challenge is undoubtedly connected with New Labour's “let's look left” strategy.

But New Labour is a fraud! And we will expose that fraud every inch of the way from here to next May! Watch this space!


Saturday, 22 November 2014

Steve Appleton reviews "One Nation: Labour's Political Renewal"

New Labour has produced a document explaining what "One Nation Labour" is. Despite the title, there is nothing "renewing" about it. 

Whilst high on abstractions, its practical political content for working people is virtually nil. Instead of showing how austerity (for the 99%) can be ended, it is full of pseudo-religious allusions combined with sociological claptrap, 1990s "management-speak" and nationalist overtones. It is red, white and blue. (You can see it at the link below).

The document is another clear marker that New Labour has abandoned socialism and the working class. Stripped of its clever intellectualism, the text makes plain that a One Nation Labour government will operate strictly within the constraints and permissions of big business. 

These are its opening words - “Labour stands for big reform without big spending”. Barely two sentences later it says that they have rethought what Labour stands for, especially "when there is no money to spare”. (My emphasis). This mantra - there is no money - is repeated throughout. This is a “dog whistle” message for the rich - that their bank balances will be safe if One Nation Labour is elected.

It beggars belief that these people can talk about "financial restraint" when the richest 1% own as much wealth as the poorest 55% combined!

Despite the fact that there are clearly two nations here in the UK, the document insists on referring to "the nation" or "the people". It refers to things like "our land", and "our country". But this is not "our" country. How can it be, when 90% of the population owns only 10% of it?!

No less than 30% of "our land" is still owned by the ancient aristocracy!

The famous socialist Clause 4 was deleted from New Labour's constitution under Blair - as an earlier mark of fealty to capital. Ever since, they have been searching for a new (renewing!) philosophy. And they have found it; it is called "individualism" - the perfect philosophy for capitalism! 

By way of explanation, they quote Roberto Unger (a Brazilian philosopher) who says  that, "socialism today is about the individual", and that politics is about, "the human capacity to transcend our context and so transform our world". What use is this abstract rubbish to an unemployed young worker? - it almost suggests to him that somehow his plight is his own fault. He hasn't been able to "transcend" himself!

To further emphasise this individualism, they even quote the Bible! They don't, of course, choose Matthew (19:24), who quotes Jesus as saying it will be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than it will be for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. No, they choose an obscure quotation from Luke about God's kingdom being within each of us!

As to actual policies, the document is a model of ambiguity. There is much talk about "transforming" things, much sharing and devolving, plenty of, "helping people help themselves", promoting model citizenship, and even, "developing character for individual reliance". There is mutuality, inclusiveness, reciprocity.

But there is no proposal to re-nationalise the utilities or the railways. No £10 an hour minimum wage. No reversal of privatisation in the NHS. No rent controls. No halt to big business tax evasion. No end to austerity and cuts in public services.

This document makes it crystal clear, were there any doubt, that what was once the mighty Labour Party, is dead. Let us bury it!






Thursday, 13 November 2014

DO YOU BELIEVE THE GOVERNMENT? 

Our Croydon North Manifesto will be out soon. We can say now, though, that one of the manifesto's key statements is about Clean Government.

If elected, our candidate, Glen, will not countenance "spin", or the misleading presentation of statistics and other information. TUSC stands for truthfulness in politics.

Even the pro-big business Economist newspaper has baulked at the most recent government scam.

In order to help press home the idea that too much tax revenue is wasted, it his sending to all homes a supposed breakdown of how taxes are spent. It purports to show that fully 25% of it is (by implication) "wasted" on welfare.

Needless to say, that doesn't seem to be quite right. Around 40% of what they have described as "welfare" (according to the Economist) does not in fact go to working-age people. Some of it is spending on children, pensioners and long-term care for the elderly.

So the total for what most people might call welfare falls to around 13% of the total tax spend. Not quite so big a number.

We are in favour of cutting welfare too - corporate welfare! - subsidies, tax-breaks, grants. Around £85 billion a year!

But in any event, if the government really wanted to eliminate the need for welfare, they need do only one thing - ENSURE PEOPLE ARE PAID A DECENT WAGE!  (Don't hold your breath).

And can we assume a "New Labour" government would tell the truth? You know, like they did in the lead up to the Iraq war...

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

COUNCILS HOARDING CASH IN FACE OF AUSTERITY!

(This is a press notice we have just issued).

England’s councils have added extra financial reserves of £2.3 billion over the past financial year, despite the coalition’s austerity programme that has cut hard into vital local services.

Commenting on the news, Glen Hart, Croydon North’s prospective parliamentary candidate for TUSC (Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition), said, “Because of their enthusiasm in slashing jobs and services, councils have increased their total reserves to a massive total of £23.7 billion. This is outrageous - especially since very many of those councils are Labour controlled!”.

He went on to say, “The councils for their part will say, we need the money for a rainy day. But the Tory Government will say, you clearly don’t need all the money we are giving you in grants, because you are not spending it. So we will start giving you even less! What I’d like to know is - how much has Croydon council got squirrelled away!”

Glen Hart, asked, “Why isn’t our One-Nation-Labour council using their surplus money to help defend Croydon’s citizens against the Government’s austerity policies? Why isn’t it building houses or repairing them, with some of this money? Why isn’t it opening libraries rather than closing them? Is the answer, I wonder, that a One-Nation-Labour government would put just the same constraints on councils as the Coalition Government is doing?”

English Councils have shed around 500,000 jobs since 2010

Saturday, 8 November 2014

FOR £10 AN HOUR MINIMUM WAGE!

We are putting together our manifesto for Glen in Croydon North. We will be discussing it at our supporters’ meeting on Wednesday, 12th November at our new meeting place at Selhurst, in the constituency. We will post the draft here in a day or so.

This is just a quick post about one of our top policies - for a £10 an hour minimum wage. This post is by way of a discussion starter, so please feel free to comment.

A £10 minimum wage is a vital policy in our view for millions of people currently on poverty wages and zero-hour contracts. It is not possible to live a decent life on uncertain, rock-bottom wages - worrying about food bills, rent, clothing for children, gas bills, etc. For us, this is our top priority. £10 an hour would help transform the lives of millions!

But in addition to the obvious benefit, there are wider gains too. The unavoidable reliance on income support will be radically reduced, if not eliminated entirely, if the minimum wage is raised this way - and enforced. 

And most of the rest of society would feel the improvement too! The extra money in people’s pockets would go straight back into the economy, into shops and businesses - boosting employment and economic activity. 

One question, though, has been raised. What about small businesses, of which there are many in Croydon? They may not be able to afford to pay £10 an hour.

This is a crucial point. At the moment it is big business and corporations that obtain the largest grants, tax-breaks and subsidies from government. Amazon, for example, according to the Guardian, obtained much more in grants from the UK government last year than it paid in taxes to the UK! 

Total UK corporate welfare costs around £85 billion a year! - several times the amount we normally think of as “welfare”.  The annual budget of the NHS is not much more than that!

And all this is additional to the £375 billion used to bail out the banks. (By the way, have YOU seen any of that money?)

We say that small and medium businesses that genuinely could not afford the extra wage bill, should have access to government support. Some of that £85 billion!

It is not beyond the wit of man to find fair and transparent arrangements that ended corporate welfare (to organisations already making £billions in profit), and instead supported small and medium businesses who might find difficulty in paying the new minimum wage.

Contact us at SuttonCroydonTUSC@gmail.com


Wednesday, 29 October 2014

CROYDON ASSEMBLY

Click below to see the advertisement for the Croydon Assembly, organised by the Croydon Trades Council, and due to be held on 15th November at Ruskin House.

We encourage everybody to attend. The aim seems to be to form a coalition, “to fight for a fairer, democratic society”. It says we should build alliances to end austerity. We agree. That is what TUSC is doing.

The leaflet also includes a list of important questions. One question, though, is missing - which party should we campaign for, and vote for, next May?

We draw attention to this in a friendly and comradely way because whilst calling on people to “join together” is undoubtedly right, people will want to know which party, which organisation, will be most likely to deliver.

We can’t afford to be vague whilst working people face the very real firestorm of austerity, unemployment, poverty wages, bad housing.

The leaflet says, “Our aims must include decent education and jobs for young people, a health service free from profiteers, care and dignity in older age, affordable housing and a living wage for all.”

We wholeheartedly agree. But we must also ask - who will deliver it?

So yes, let’s “Join Together”, and having done that, let’s fight for a programme that includes -

✓ introducing (and enforcing) a universal £10 an hour min wage.

✓ abolishing zero-hours contracts.

✓ reversing the Tories’ (and New Labour’s) cuts in public expenditure and services

✓ renationalising the railways, Post Office and energy utilities.

✓ introducing, and enforcing, rent controls.

✓ halting and reversing profit-seeking private finance in the NHS.

This summer, the Swansea Conference of Trades Councils carried a motion calling on unions to seriously consider electoral alliances like TUSC, because “New Labour” no longer represents the interests of working people.

We would urge the trade unionists and community activists at the Croydon Assembly to do that too.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Steve Reed's Radical Plans for Croydon!

Steve Reed OBE and wannabe "Labour" MP Sarah Jones, have suggested that the rail fare zones in Croydon should be re-drawn, to make fares cheaper for Croydon travellers.

We have issued a press notice.

“The commuter fares proposals from MP Steve Reed (OBE) and Sarah Jones will surely be seen by the residents of Croydon for what they are, an electioneering stunt”, said Glen Hart, TUSC Prospective Candidate for Croydon North.

He went on to say, “But what a poor stunt! They are fiddling whilst Rome burns! 

I would support any reforms that would benefit the lives of working people, and would support this idea too, were it not for its feebleness and opportunism. It will not be carried out. And then Jones and Reed, in best yah-booh political style, will blame Boris Johnson.

Furthermore, in the extremely unlikely event that the proposals were implemented, I suspect that Boris Johnson would simply rob Peter to pay Paul - by re-drawing the zone boundaries elsewhere so as to recoup the cost! This would set Londoner against Londoner.

In fact, of course, “One Nation Labour” themselves were just as responsible as the Tories for implementing the so-called “Public Private Partnership” arrangements into public services. In the running of the London Underground, for example, PPP has added very many £millions to the cost and complexity of managing the now fragmented Tube. 

The bundle of Tube contracts runs to 28,000 pages! Croydon commuters, like those all over London, are bearing the extra cost. 

The real solution to keeping fares down is to re-nationalise and re-unify the railways and run the industry as an efficient service for the public. The private railways receive massive subsidies from the taxpayer. Last year they received no less than £4 billion. 


To put this figure in context, the BBC reported in June that the NHS faced a “funding gap of £2 billion”."

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Monday, 20 October 2014

CROYDON NORTH NEEDS GLEN HART!

We hear every day in the papers and on TV that, “there is no money”.

They say, “we can’t afford public services”; that we must, "cut back”; we must, "balance the books” ... etc, etc, etc.

New Labour’s manifesto for next May will be couched entirely in these terms. “There is only so much we can do, because the country has no money."

But our claim, which we make loudly and without apology, is that THERE'S PLENTY OF MONEY! But the wrong people have control of it!

We know it's not in the pockets of the people of Croydon (or Sutton). But when it comes to corporations, they are AWASH WITH CASH! - cash which should be put to work delivering a better place for all to live!

To say we can’t afford more and better public services, more and better housing and well-paid jobs, is the foulest deceit!

The Guardian radical journalist, Owen Jones, whilst still hankering (unbelievably) for “New Labour”, pointed out recently that, "the richest 1,000 people in the country have doubled their wealth to £519 billion”. This is as much as the annual earnings of two-thirds of the British workforce!

FTSE100 chief executives (those of the biggest firms) are being paid an average of £4.7m a year, that’s almost £13,000 a day. They “earn" 170 times as much as the average worker.

And the UK’s richest five families have as much wealth as the poorest 20% of the population!

Read those paragraphs again. Jot down the numbers. It's frankly barmy in the light of this to claim that “we” have no money!  Unless…  Unless you have a political reason for wanting to make that claim ...

There will be more on this. We will show how a democratic socialist government can mobilise the resources of the country in a way that will benefit the interests of the vast majority.

Watch this space.

GLEN HART FOR CROYDON NORTH!

Saturday, 11 October 2014

UKIP Debate!


Here is a discussion between a UKIP supporter and a TUSC activist. As we’ve mentioned before, over the period until the general election (and beyond!) we will be posting “doorstep discussions” to illustrate the basic TUSC position on key issues. If you have any favourite questions you’d like us to answer - let us know, at: SuttonCroydonTUSC@gmail.com

UKIP Supporter - What are you going to do about all these immigrants?

TUSC - We are going to make sure that we nail the people really responsible for unemployment, job losses, zero-hour contracts, poverty wages and austerity. And those people are not immigrants. They are the 1% and their puppets in Parliament.

UKIPer - But you socialists would open the floodgates to immigrants!

TUSC - There are no “floodgates” to open! This idea, and this kind of wording is used to create fear and disunity between people for political purposes. Purposes that suit big business. We reject it outright.

How does talk of “opening floodgates" help working people? Our position on this starts, and finishes, with the fundamental principle of solidarity between workers, all workers. We have a vital common interest in defending ourselves collectively against unemployment, poverty wages, poor housing, etc.

For there part, many employers, full of hypocrisy, are often keen on immigration - because cheap labour means higher profits. Many of these hypocrites, if they can’t get cheap labour here, will “outsource” their business to where cheap labour can be found.

The best way to prevent workers (any workers) from being exploited on poverty wages, is to enforce a decent minimum wage! Nobody would be allowed to work for less than that. Then, no employer would be able to undercut wages! TUSC policy (and now the whole TUC) is for a £10 minimum wage. 

UKIPer - But higher wages would put people out of work!

TUSC - No they wouldn’t. Are you saying that countries with the lowest wages have the lowest unemployment? Because that’s just not true. Germany, Scandinavian countries, and many others, have some of the highest wages in the world, and also the highest employment - although their governments too are also keen to find ways to push living standards down! 

On the other hand, there are dozens of countries whose populations scrape by on poverty wages AND mass unemployment! There is simply no correlation between wage levels and employment.

Look at the UK. The North East and Northern Ireland have the lowest average wages, but also have the highest unemployment!

Higher wages will put money in workers' pockets - and that money will then be spent in shops! 

Higher wages also encourages employers to invest in new plant and machinery, and to compete more effectively. Today, too many employers rely on cheap labour and zero-hour contracts for their profits.

[By the way, this issue is one of the key contradictions of big business capitalism. Low wages may well boost short term profits for an individual employer, but if every employer pushed down wages, the economy would nosedive!]

UKIPer - But immigrants steal our jobs!

TUSC - No they don’t. Anyway, how do you “steal” a job? It's not the worker who chooses who gets the job; it’s the employer. Immigrants are not stealing jobs. Employers are! 

Workers are expected to compromise on wages, but employers won’t compromise on profits! Phones4U has just been closed, with around 5,000 job losses; the post office privatisation cost at least 1,300 jobs; Lloyds bank has cut no less than 30,00 jobs since 2008. [We have many more examples]. 

Councils up and down the country are slashing jobs to implement the government’s austerity programme (supported by UKIP councillors!). Immigration has not caused any of this!

UKIPer -  Aren’t you not concerned about immigration?

TUSC - Yes. Because the "immigration issue” is used to divert attention from what is REALLY causing unemployment, bad housing, poverty wages, and social service cutbacks. It is a major weapon in the armoury of big business in its search for profit and political advantage over the worker!

“Divide and rule” is a standard strategy of bosses and rulers everywhere. Whereas for workers, solidarity is their main defence. 

We are also concerned because workers in many countries are driven by dreadful circumstances to seek a better life elsewhere. Away from extreme poverty, war and violence. People will always seek better places to live - and under those circumstances - why shouldn’t they? It is war and poverty that drives migration. Like us here in this country, those workers are burdened with reactionary, pro-big business governments.

Through international solidarity, TUSC supports workers in those countries who are fighting for peace and the kind of government we want here. A democratic socialist government.

If they could achieve that, their country’s resources, its labour and its capital, would no longer serve the cause of the wealthiest; instead those resources would be put to work in the interests of the vast majority. When that starts to happen, the bosses and their governments will be much less able to use the immigration issue to sow division and fear. The same applies here.

A socialist government in Britain would be a big boost to that process. It will bring jobs, houses, decent wages - and a future free of worry and fear.

UKIPer - At least UKIP is anti-establishment.

TUSC - No it’s not. It PRETENDS to be anti-establishment! It's financed by millionaires! It's run by millionaires. Farage himself is a privately educated, millionaire, ex-city slicker! It has key members in the House of Lords! In what sense does this read like anti-establishment? 

Do you really think these millionaires are going to fight for the interests of workers like you? You’re absolutely right to be sceptical about mainstream parties. But don’t then give your support to their second eleven? 

UKIPer - How do I know TUSC is a workers’ party.

TUSC - Because workers finance TUSC. Workers support TUSC. And workers stand as TUSC candidates in elections.




Friday, 10 October 2014

TUSC CANDIDATE FOR CROYDON NORTH!

We are choosing today, the day after the so-called “earthquake” in Clacton, to announce the provisional selection of our TUSC parliamentary candidate for Croydon North constituency - 
GLEN HART.

Glen is a worker, a socialist and an RMT trade union activist. He is a family man with children. He was born and grew up in Croydon. 

Meanwhile, the Guardian today reported ex-city slicker Farage saying, with no sense of irony, “We have a career political class of college kids who have never had jobs in their lives with absolutely no connection to ordinary people and how they are struggling. We need new people. We need change, real change.”

The devil himself will speak the truth, if it suits his purpose. And there is some truth here. The joke, however, is imagining that Farage’s party has some, “connection to ordinary people”.

We have to say frankly to those UKIP voters in Clacton, with a heavy heart, that we believe they have made a terrible mistake. UKIP is a party funded by millionaires and run by millionaires, FOR millionaires. It is a Tory second eleven!

The real winners in Clacton, though, were the non-voters - nearly 50% of the electorate! Undoubtedly many of those people realised that UKIP is just another pro-rich outfit. After all, how often does a truly anti-establishment party get so much support from the pro-establishment press!

In Glen, however, and in the constituents and supporters of TUSC, we have a party funded by working people, run by working people and FOR working people. Next May the people of Croydon will have, at last, a real choice - a workers’ candidate!

The fight-back starts here! Join us!

email us at - SuttonCroydonTUSC@gmail.com

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

What is “One Nation Labour” for?

We will hear a lot in the coming months about “splitting the left vote”; how Labour are the “lesser evil” and so on. These arguments are from those who say that, even against our better judgement, we must vote Labour - to keep the Tories (or UKIP) out.

The “lesser evil” approach is the road to ruin for working people. The “lesser evil” school constantly urges workers to vote, not for the party they want, not for the party with the policies that will benefit them and their families; but for another party: a party they do not want, but a party which is, apparently, the “lesser evil”.

But that IS only apparent. “Labour” is better than the Tories only in the same sense that being hanged tomorrow, is better than being hanged today!

Of course it is! But to vote for the lesser evil simply brings the greater evil nearer!

That is why we are here today. Well over a decade of “Labour” government led us directly to the ConDems! And the “lesser evil” brigade want us to go through that all over again! No thank you!

Have a look at the Guardian article here. Labour’s shadow minister is almost shouting the message that if you vote for us you’ll get more of the same!

In the run up to Hitler’s seizure of power in the early 1930s, right wing leaders of the Labour movement in Germany urged that people should vote for Field Marshal von Hindenburg, as the “lesser evil” to that of Hitler. And he was elected. But then handed power to Hitler - he appointed him Chancellor!

Saturday, 13 September 2014

CROYDON: COPY ENFIELD!

Here is a posting on the national TUSC website about Labour controlled Enfield council in North London where there is also an active local TUSC group.

Pressure of events and the hot breath of Enfield TUSC down their necks (and also the fact there may still be one or two fighting Labour councillors left!) has led Enfield to take some pro-worker measures to defend housing.

As TUSC has constantly emphasised, an article in the Guardian explains that councils do have powers they could use to intervene (if there is the will to find them and use them!).

Enfield, the report says, "has arranged a credit facility of £100m" to bulk-buy homes, in a programme that began in March this year. It is introducing a scheme to license private landlords and, "for the first time in 30 years, it is building council homes", with 180 starts this month as the first steps.

Austerity is NOT the only show in town! But Enfield will need to do more. It is still issuing redundancy notices to staff! See the full article.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Sutton Croydon TUSC Meeting, 10th September, 2014.

The main, and most exciting decision we made was that we should stand a TUSC candidate in Croydon North in the general election next year! 

All the mainstream parties (and UKIP!) offer nothing for working people. There’s is a bleak and uncertain future for the vast majority: of endless austerity, cuts in public services, unaffordable homes and low wage, zero-hour contracts!

TUSC is building a new workers’ party. It’s time we gave Croydon the opportunity to vote for someone armed with policies to shift the balance of power back towards working people and their families.

The next major decision for us will be selecting the candidate. We hope to agree this at our next meeting in a month’s time.

We also discussed whether to stand in Sutton/ Carshalton constituencies, but we felt at this stage we should concentrate our forces in one constituency.

The other key issues were -

We agreed a simple constitution - mainly required for opening a bank account. We agreed an annual membership fee - £10, or £2 (unwaged) - to help regularise income and support.

We agreed to write to all local union branches, trades councils, left organisations, community groups & campaign groups, to solicit their support for our candidate and for what we are seeking to do across the boroughs.

We agreed to hold street stall on Croydon High Street.

We agreed to prepare specific anti-UKIP material to contribute to the wider election campaign.

The date of the next meeting will be Wednesday, 8th October. Location to be decided - it may be North Croydon, where we shall be spending more time in the months to come! For more information, email us at - SuttonCroydonTUSC@gmail.com

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

One Nation Labour - Ambitious for Croydon?

Labour’s Manifesto for Croydon is called “Ambitious for Croydon”. They don’t call themselves “Labour”. They call themselves, “One Nation Labour”.

It is a document of double-speak. The overall message is that if you vote “Labour" they will try to make things a little better. However, “we will have to take tough decisions”. (No prizes for guessing who will be at the sharp end of that).

Whilst admitting there are, "stark contrasts in wealth and poverty” in Croydon, the document puts forward proposals of the meekest, milk-and-water variety. There are few proposals not ring-fenced with caveats and circumspection. The manifesto is as cautious as cat in a dog pen.

It reads as though the calamities affecting Croydon are to be tackled not by the Council itself, but by other people and organisations, businesses and voluntary groups. There is very little in the document suggesting that the council ITSELF can or should do very much!

The word “socialism”, needless to say, is not mentioned.

Unbelievably, one of its major proposals is for setting up a “Croydon Fairness Commission”.  It will "recommend steps on how to improve the quality of life across the borough...”.

This is an open admission that Croydon’s New Labour council does not know what to do! Instead, it will ask a committee of the great and the good, clever people you understand, who will come up with something. What an admission of total bankruptcy!

Here is a sample of some of New Labour's “ambitious" proposals.

On wages. Implement £10 an hour minimum wage? No. Implement the London Living Wage? No. Instead, they “will campaign to make Croydon a living wage borough”! Why are they still campaigning? They are in power!

On jobs. An ambitious direct works programme by the Council? No. An immediate halt to all cuts in council services and jobs? No. Instead, they "will work towards increasing employment…”.  Work towards!

On youth unemployment. They will "create an ambitious and vibrant ‘place to be’”.  They will "build upon our good working relationships with local businesses…”.

On housing. An ambitious building programme of affordable houses and flats? No. A rent freeze? No. Abolish the bedroom tax? No.  Set up a council Housing Costs and Standards Agency to set and control ALL rents and ENFORCE housing condition standards? No.

But they will set up another commission of clever folk who will "report back within six months on the scale of the homelessness crisis we will inherit and to provide possible solutions”.  There are various ideas for more “partnerships” and some “cracking down” on bad landlords. But the nearest they get to a proposal we could go along with is a "not-for-profit lettings agency”. But they will only “look to” establishing this (and it is point seven, of eight).

Even on libraries they are pathetically cautious. Will they halt library closures? No. Will they set up new libraries? No. Instead, they will “seek to” reverse the Tories’ policies.

Whatever else their manifesto is, it very definitely is NOT “Ambitious for Croydon”. It may be ambitious for councillors, who want to join the “New Labour” gravy train; but for Croydon people the “manifesto” is a waste of good paper.

They are no longer Labour. WE are Labour!

If you think this is an unfair review, you can see the manifesto for yourself at Croydon Labour's website. www.croydonlabour.org.uk

Friday, 29 August 2014

One Nation Labour - the Lesser Evil?

People will say to us, "We must keep out the Tories and UKIP. Therefore we must vote for the lesser evil - One Nation Labour!" Others will say, “If you stand, there is a danger of splitting the left vote".

These are the arguments of people with short term political memory loss! Have they forgotten what New Labour did?!  Wasn't it New Labour who got us to where we are today? 

This is what happened. New Labour was elected in a 1997 "landslide" - with fewer votes than John Major obtained in the previous election! Each subsequent election brought New Labour fewer and fewer votes until, in 2010, it lost the election, with 8.6 million votes - just 22% of the electorate and nearly the lowest vote since 1935. Is this the march of victory which One Nation Labour supporters anticipate? (The full results are at the bottom of this post).

As we reported in a recent post, at their completely powerless policy conference the party voted on a good motion which wanted to commit Labour to fighting against public expenditure cuts and for working class policies. It was rejected, overwhelmingly!

A vote for New Labour is NOT a vote for the left! They were war-mongers! They helped get us into the Iraq war on false pretences. They sold arms to the Indonesian government as it tried to suppress a local uprising. They supported Putin as he devastated Chechnya. In 2006 Labour offered unconditional support to Israel as it attacked Lebanon. (And what has Labour’s response been to the recent war on Gaza?)

It was New Labour who introduced “light touch” financial regulation. We know how that ended, in 2008! 

Britain used to be the “workshop of the world”. Under Thatcher the share of manufacturing in the economy fell from 26% to 22%. Under New Labour it fell further, to around 12%!

At the beginning of the 1990s the richest 1% owned 17% of total UK wealth. Under New Labour that share increased to 21%.

Under New Labour, Tory privatisation zeal continued. It was New Labour, for example, that sold off the London Tube network!

It was under New Labour that Tory NHS commercialisation and privatisation picked up more speed. According to Treasury figures, by 2009 over 900 PFI (privatisation) projects had been signed, worth around £72 billion. 

It was the 2000 NHS Act which set up an “internal market” within the NHS. By 2008 there were 13,000 fewer general and acute beds!

In 1998, Blunkett introduced tuition fees. New Labour introduced “faith schools” and "city academies”.

Do you remember the “cash for peerages” scandal of 2006-7?  Thatcher created on average 18 peers a year. John Major created 25 a year. Under Blair - it was 37. In relation to this, Blair became the first Prime Minister to be questioned by police in a criminal investigation.

As the New Left Review magazine said (which journal is responsible for much of the information above), “There is no reason why voters should be any more sentimental about the Labour Party than it has been about them”.

The Labour Party is decrepit and bankrupt; it is finished as a force in the interests of working people. It is not the lesser evil.

People may ask, “So what is the TUSC?” It would not be wrong for us to reply, “WE are Labour! We are what the best of Labour used to be!”.

Our next post will look at Croydon’s Labour Manifesto.


[The election figures mentioned above (in millions of votes) are - 1992, Tories 14.1: 1997, Labour 13.5: 2001, Labour 10.7: 2005, Labour 9.6: 2010, Labour loses with 8.6 million]

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Immigration - TUSC Answers the Lies!

This is the opener for an ongoing effort to supply labour movement answers to the lies and misinformation of the pro-business political parties, their corporate media friends and the Lords, Ladies and lickspittles of UKIP.

This will be particularly crucial if we are able to stand a local Parliamentary candidate (or two!) in the May General Election! 

If you have any particular issues you want us to cover, or questions you want answering, let us know.

“Divide and Rule” has been a core policy of the governing classes for hundreds of years. Getting working people to fight amongst themselves, damaging their social solidarity, and having them blame each other for what is happening, is one of the most important political strategies of the ruling class.

Something heard quite often is - "They take our jobs!"
But how can anyone “take” a job? A worker does not have the power to do that.

It is the employer who chooses who works and who does not!

An employer will often select an immigrant worker for a job, because desperate people are a source of cheap and pliable labour. Labour to be super-exploited!

The only way to stop immigrant workers being used to undermine wages and conditions is to UNIONISE THEM and fight alongside them for a living wage and decent conditions.

The fight for £10 an hour minimum wage for ALL workers is one of the best ways of fighting racism and workers disunity. Ten pounds an hour across the board, no exceptions, no exclusions, would leave no room for employers to use immigrants to drive down wages!

To blame immigrants is to be on the same side as the worst employers. Workers’ disunity helps those employers exploit ALL workers.

Politically, the racist is the employers' little helper!

The people who are REALLY responsible for "taking jobs" are the employers!

It is employers (usually the largest of them) who are closing firms, reducing head counts, outsourcing work overseas!

Did immigration cause Nestl├ęs to move out of Croydon and cut jobs?

Morrisons announced 2,600 job losses in June this year. Did immigrants cause that?

Some Facts (from reliable sources!)

You are nearly twice as likely to be claiming benefits if you are NOT an Immigrant, than if you are.

Immigrants comprise 9% of the UK population. In Germany 13%, in the US 13%.

The Financial Times in its editorial (11 Jan, 2014) said, “Claims that immigrants as a whole are a burden on the state are wrong: the young people who predominate contribute more as taxpayers than they absorb in welfare.”

Of all immigrants arriving from the EU since 2010, 2% have claimed unemployment benefit, even though 6% were eligible.

Working people will always seek a better life; seek to escape war, violence and poverty, corrupt political systems. This is true for British people also, five million of whom live abroad.

Monday, 18 August 2014

St Helier & Single Issue campaigns; worthwhile?

This is a personal view from Steve Appleton. If you have comments, please post them.

In Sutton, during the May local election, there was a good campaign waged in defence of St Helier Hospital, whose future remains uncertain. Several individuals stood as “Save Our St Helier” candidates; many windows had posters. 

I’m not sure, though, that single issue campaigns and candidates is the right way forward. Is a single issue campaign, even one as important as this, the best way to achieve results? 

The issues affecting St Helier are no different from those affecting all hospitals - things like privatisation, tick box “performance measurement”, outsourcing, low wages, etc. 

Some people told us they wanted to keep the campaign non-political. They said that politics will put people off.

But it is politics - mainstream, pro-business politics - that’s the main cause of the problem! The policy of all main parties (including UKIP) is aimed at “Americanising” the NHS and selling whole parts of it to profit-seeking corporations - allowing them to exploit the NHS for profit. 

During 2013, more than £5 billion NHS contracts were put out to tender, and around 70% went to the private sector. 

The ultimate aim is getting clearer by the day. Private care for the richest (already in place), insurance-based health care for those who can afford the monthly fees, and a free but inevitably poorest quality service for the rest of us. And even that may become means-tested!

Can any campaign to save St Helier really ignore these wider issues? Can it treat St Helier in splendid isolation, as though it wasn’t part of the government’s pro-rich, anti-public sector agenda? 

Single issue campaigns can help raise awareness. But they can also let politicians off the hook - the very politicians whose parties are wrecking the NHS! All the main parties in Sutton “support” the St Helier campaign. They are hypocrites, and we shouldn’t hide that from the people of Sutton! They are part of the problem, not the solution!


Saturday, 16 August 2014

Housing in Sutton

In a gushing report, Mike Murphy-Pyle, the “local” Guardian's ace reporter, revealed recently that Sutton council is to build some councils houses! This is something that has not occurred to Sutton’s councillors for 25 years!

However, there is even less to this than meets the eye. First, they will apparently pay for these new homes from the money made from council house sales. A hundred such houses have been sold in the last two years. So what they’re saying is they’ll sell council houses, then use the money to build council houses!

The Tories supported the proposals (which gives you an idea how “radical” they were). It was also reported that councillors took the time to stress, “the importance of making sure the buildings are of good quality”. No flies on these people; this is truly top quality thinking.

Presumably the existing stock of housing managed by the Sutton Housing “Partnership” is already, “of good quality”…

In government, the very same parties as those running Sutton’s lamentable council, are actively slashing the financial support that councils get (see earlier posts). They say “we” cannot afford public services.

However, we can afford to pay, for example,
- £ 1 billion a year subsidy to the privatised railway companies, and
- nearly £3 billion a year in subsidy to the privatised bus companies!

But we can’t afford to subsidise affordable housing!

The unpaid tax reportedly owed by companies like Boots, Vodaphone and others, to say nothing of the billions squirrelled away in tax havens by “hard working” billionaires, could, if it was collected, pay for housing - and very much more!

It’s all about priorities. Now, if you were a banker…

Thursday, 14 August 2014

TUSC Parliamentary Candidates in Croydon, Sutton, Next May?

The major issue we agreed on 13th August was that our next meeting (on 10th September) should focus entirely on discussing, and deciding, about standing candidates in Croydon and Sutton at the May General Election!

Our initial thoughts were that we should (and probably could) stand a candidate in Croydon (possibly North) and that, if possible, we should try to do the same in Sutton.

There would be substantial cost and work involved. However, we took the view that it is about time working people in the boroughs are given a real choice, and can vote for someone who will be a tribune for ALL workers and young people. The mainstream candidates have had a free ride for too long.

Unfortunately “One Nation Labour” offers nothing that would shift the balance of wealth and power in favour of working people. It is now a pale and waning shadow of what it once was - even though there may be one or two honourable exceptions amongst its MPs and potential candidates. Trade unions themselves have now virtually no collective power within what was once their party.

We will be calling upon the Trades Councils of Sutton and Merton, and Croydon, and their constituent unions, to consider whether they too should enter the fray with us. Unions such as the RMT have, of course, already started down this road - having, with others, set up the TUSC!

In furtherance of this, the annual conference of trades councils, held in Cardiff this summer, passed an important resolution on political representation. This called on unions, “to begin an urgent debate about political representation for trade unionists and working class people, including whether we need a new, mass workers’ party and how such a party might come about”.

Here in Sutton and Croydon we could make a real start, now, by standing candidates committed to the basic TUSC platform. Candidates for the millions, not the millionaires!

If not here, where? If not now, when? If not us, who?

Will you join us?

Watch this space…

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

The Liberals' Lament

Sutton's Liberals complain most bitterly, in a leaflet recently pushed through doors, about, “unprecedented reductions in our funding”, which means they will be “forced” to make cuts in services. They don’t seems to have noticed that they, the Liberals, are part of the very government about which they complain! And strange, they made no mention of this prior to the May local elections! 

Their leaflet implies the issue has appeared quite unexpectedly, out of the blue! With much wailing and gnashing of teeth they lament the need for this dreadful austerity (austerity for most, that is). On a new, purpose-built website you can almost hear the sound of their many wringing hands! They have, it says, “taken a careful and measured approach” in these “difficult circumstances”. Undoubtedly many tears will have been shed.

However, they are making the people of Sutton a very generous offer - the opportunity to participate in choosing which of their services will be cut! This is the equivalent of holiday-makers on the Titanic being asked to suggest who should be selected for the few remaining lifeboats. (The first class passengers having already sailed away on theirs…). 

We can expect precisely nothing from these inveterate cynics, as they mourn these "difficult times".

The Liberals and Tories, UKIP lick-spittles and, regretably, "One Nation Labour", all sing from the same hymn sheet. That hymn would have us believe, much as Thatcher did, that There Is No Alternative. We must make savings. We can no longer afford public services and the welfare state. We can only afford to bail out the richest; to subsidise with public money the great captains of industry.

They all of them take for granted something TUSC does not. That working people (regrettably of course) must bear the burden of the crisis. A crisis they didn't cause, but which they are expected to pay for.

There is an alternative, of course. But it means putting the democratic forces of organised labour and working people at the helm of government, local and national. It means breaking the power of big business and banks - whose interests are privileged ahead of all others. It means running the economy in the interests of those who create the wealth; not those who destroy it, squander it or hide it in tax havens!

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