TUSC: The “Jiminy Cricket” of the Labour Party

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Like most Saturdays I was helping to run a stall with fellow Socialist Party members in Plymouth City Centre. Usually it goes without incident, although last year we received quite a bit of hostility from the police and the City Centre Company throughout the local elections. Today seemed to be just another day for selling our party’s newspaper, The Socialist, whilst engaging in discussion with passers by.

Being that it was quite a wet and windy day, it seemed at some points as though the more sensible thing to do may have been not to have held the stall but nevertheless we persevered and 6 of us ran the stall. It is because we did that I was able to have a very insightful conversation which raises many questions. The reason for this is that we had a Labour Councillor approach our stall looking for directions for a Youth Parliament event. Not wanting to squander the opportunity, I took the time to then ask a few questions of this Councillor to clarify their position on a few issues which both TUSC and the Socialist Party have been campaigning on.

At first, I was told of the usual horrors of being in a position where cuts have to be made due to the Tories cutting from Central Government, leaving no choice for local Councillors. I was then told at great length how this Councillor has done all they can to mitigate the worst of the damage currently being done to services and working conditions. What I did not then expect was to then be commended on the work which TUSC has done to provide a “Jiminy Cricket” or a conscience to the Labour Party.

I was then told that there was a concern that we were likely to split the vote which would open up the door to UKIP but I must admit that it felt as though this line had been rehearsed. It is also a perspective which I would disagree with as I am of the opinion that TUSC is picking up the votes of people that would otherwise be disenfranchised or tempted to vote UKIP as a protest vote. What was more intriguing was the fact that the belief that TUSC was seen by this Councillor to be a Jiminy Cricket type figure to the Labour Party was clearly a genuine one.

This is very telling as it is indicative of a guilty conscience from somebody who is clearly not fully behind their Party’s actions. Moreover, the fact that this person was willing to give a financial contribution to aid what is essentially a rival political party is also very telling. I would ask this Councillor and all others who are in this position in the Labour Party (I’m sure there are quite a few out there) to give serious consideration to the actions being committed by your party.

If you are not satisfied then I invite you to speak out against the needless austerity which is being imposed. If you are worried about the consequences of doing so, I would argue that this is a damning indication of how undemocratic and out of touch the Labour Party has become. I would also point out that there is a place for you if you should find yourself outside of the Labour Party, it is with the growing number of people who are willing to do something to challenge the idea that there is no alternative to austerity. It is with TUSC…

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The Fire Rises; Taunton Branch is Born…

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We live in austere times and it shows; we assembled in Taunton to spread the word of Socialism on Saturday 15th June and were incredibly well received. Comrades from Bristol, Exeter, Taunton, Tiverton and myself from Plymouth, got together to highlight that there is an alternative to the crippling austerity faced by Britain and indeed much of Europe.

After many conversations with frustrated people, it was clear that a number of people in Taunton are ready to explore different avenues; avenues which mainstream media and politicians have always tried to demonise or ridicule. There are many frustrations in Taunton on a range of issues, spanning from youth unemployment to the bedroom tax to the privatisation of the NHS.

Within one Saturday afternoon in the heavy rain, high winds and then glorious sunshine we picked up a wealth of contacts who were keen to participate in the building of a new mass workers’ party and stand defiant against a government that has left them behind in the pursuit of profit.

The following Wednesday we held our inaugural Socialist Party branch meeting in Taunton which was well attended. After 2 hours of discussion on “What We Stand For”, led off by Jim Thompson, people were hungry for more discussion and everyone in attendance were keen to organise another meeting to continue exploring what Socialism has to offer.

Taunton will be holding another branch meeting on Wednesday 3rd July with Steve German, the driven and committed branch secretary ready to hit the ground running with an already optimistic group of individuals. I have no doubts that the Taunton branch will quickly flourish and join a whole host of branches in the South West as we build an alternative to cuts, cuts, cuts that will put the needs of millions of people before the greed of a select few multi-millionaires.

If you would like to get involved with the struggle and build for a prosperous and sustainable future, then don’t hesitate to check out the website of the Party that has helped me to find my own voice and join the thousands of others who share the vision to build our collective future:

http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/

Feel free to check out my latest article in The Socialist, I’m on page 8:

http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/pdf/issue/770/770.pdf

I also look forward to the results of the upcoming council elections in the Southway Ward by-election which I am standing in. I am standing on a platform of no cuts and hope that people can resist the hollow promises of the mainstream parties to deliver anything other than more austerity and posturing on issues which are having harsh consequences on the everyday lives of Plymothians.

The fire rises; spreading far and wide while burning more brightly, fueled by a mixture of frustration at the way things are in mainstream politics and a glimpse of hope that there are people standing united in struggle up and down Britain and indeed much of Europe demanding change and ready to work hard for it. The results will show themselves in time, with patience and a fervour to resist simply lashing out and instead an energy to build something new…

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