Swansea needs councillors who vote against cuts! No to austerity - vote Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).

Don’t waste the opportunity to send a clear ‘no more cuts’ message by voting for Ronnie Job, TUSC: the only no-cuts, socialist candidate in Swansea West in the 2015 General Election!

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Labour leadership get something right - TUSC is the natural home of those who want to fight austerity.

This last few weeks have seen massive rallies addressed by Labour leadership candidate, Jeremy Corbyn. Venues have often not been big enough to accommodate everybody that's wanted to attend.

The popularity of Corbyn's campaign has left many so-called political experts scratching their heads as they try to explain it. To TUSC supporters it's obvious - trade-unionists, the working class in general and large sections of the middle class too, are crying out for an end to austerity. With all respect to Jeremy, I don't think his lead in the opinion polls is so much down to his personal qualities (although the fact that he uses public transport and claims the least MP's expenses certainly helps many to feel he's 'one of us') as to the fact that at last they can see the prospect of a fightback against cuts.

I hadn't expected Corbyn to get the number of nominations (35) required to make it onto the ballot for Labour leader. With only hours to go it looked like that prediction would be correct; Corbyn doesn't have the support of his own party's MPs and looked like he would come up short as John Mcdonnell had twice previously. But so confident were the Labour leadership of the dominance of their position in the Party that Labour MPs who have said publicly that they won't vote for Corbyn, we're persuaded to nominate him in order to "have a debate". Rival candidate, Andy Burnham, who had hopes of being the candidate backed by the unions, even encouraged some of his supporters in Parliament to lend Corbyn their nominations for this purpose. How they must be regretting that now!

Now Corbyn leads in all opinion polls, has secured the most constituency nominations and those of of many of the most important trade unions. He could win, although his current lead is no guarantee - he might have to get near an absolute majority on first preference votes alone as the other candidates are much closer to each other in political outlook and the majority of their second preference votes would be expected to transfer to each other.

The Labour hierarchy have been thrown into panic by the very possibility of a Corbyn win and seem to release daily stories of Corbyn supporters consisting of 'far left' and even Tory infiltrators. In one interview, acting leader, Harriet Harman, said that Labour chiefs were listening in to the conversations of new activists. I know where the Murdoch press leads, Labour normally follows but surely she didn't mean Labour was intending to engage in News Of The World style phone-tapping? She has also announced she is ordering Labour Party workers to "copy and paste" names of all new party supporters and to send them to their constituency MP's to be vetted for "known troublemakers". The article, in the Guardian, went on to say that many Labour MPs were saying of the people that had signed up to support Corbyn, that for many, their "more natural home is in the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition" - at last something we can all agree on!

Every day now I read stories about how us "Hard Left" types have infiltrated Labour to vote for Corbyn. Nobody who knows me would call me 'hard' but if they mean principled socialists are joining Labour, then the fact that they can be called infiltrators shows just how far from its roots Labour has moved. Labour's socialist founders would be amazed at the party they set-up to provide political representation for workers and trade unionists, looking to block socialists from joining/registering as supporters, on the grounds that their aims and values are opposed to Labour's.

The majority of TUSC supporters would be barred from joining Labour or registering as supporters, even if we wanted to. MP Simon Danczuk, who has been the subject of speculation in the past, regarding intentions to defect to UKIP, wants to deny a vote to around a quarter of new supporters in his constituency.

But the reason why most of us aren't registering as Labour supporters is we don't think that it is possible to reclaim Labour for socialism or even make it into a weapon for fighting austerity. The Party machine is openly discussing the pros and cons of stopping the election or some other method of robbing Corbyn of victory (it's already been claimed that up to 1,200 people joining or registering as supporters have been turned down) versus simply using the Party machine to isolate and contain him should he win.

For TUSC supporters, the level of support for Corbyn shows how popular the ideas and policies we put forward in the election in May can be if given a fair airing.

We will defend Corbyn against the attacks of the right-wing press but the worst attacks on him and his campaign are coming from inside his own party. Attempts to appease the Labour right by inviting the Blairites into his cabinet or heaping praise on Miliband and even Blair, will not work but will confuse and even alienate, his own supporters.

This week Corbyn has been in Wales and seemed to accept the myth of the "red water" between England and Wales put about by Welsh Labour. Many of us in Wales experience 2 sets of Labour hands - the Labour Welsh Government and our Labour councils - wielding the Tories' axe for them. Welsh Labour, including those AMs and councillors who say they back Corbyn, are just a conveyor belt for Tory cuts.

These people are worse than useless as allies but to the tens of thousands of Corbyn supporters who genuinely want to fight austerity, TUSC supporters will campaign shoulder to shoulder with you. All we ask is that if and when you find the path to fighting cuts inside Labour impossibly blocked you take your place in your 'natural home' - TUSC.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Raising two fingers to Osborne's budget

Labour responses to Osborne's 'emergency' budget seem to fall into 2 general categories.

There is the "this is all a scam - this budget does nothing for the young (under 25s are excluded from Osborne's devalues 'Living Wage'), public sector workers (facing a four-year pay cap), disabled people (facing further cuts to the benefit safety net as part of £12bn cuts)."

This is undoubtedly true, these and other groups will again be worse off. Labour never uses the word "class" but the entire working class and swathes of the middle classes too will see a further eroding of their living standards as a result of this budget by the rich for the rich.

The other Labour response is a childish playground cry of "it's not fair - that's Ed Miliband's programme".

This is true as well. This devastating budget for the working class is full of policies that were either part of Labour's election programme or are championed by the current leadership.

Chris Leslie, the new Shadow Chancellor has pronounced himself in support of the public sector pay freeze. So despite the fact that many of us have seen our pay fall by 15-20% in real terms since the onset of recession, Labour has joined the Tories in wanting to cut pay further.

Labour peer, Frank Field, was making overtures to the Tories about reducing and scrapping working tax credits, just like Osborne has announced, in the run-up to the budget. Jeremy Corbyn aside, none of the Labour leadership contenders have been willing to oppose Tory plans to lower the benefits cap.

Osborne's 'Living Wage' (in reality a re-named minimum wage, without any reference to the real cost of living) is nowhere near adequate for workers to get by on and for many, won't make up for the working tax credits they will lose. But it is still £1 an hour more by 2020 than the figure Miliband promised (£8/hour) for the minimum wage during the election, also by 2020.

The Tories' have made a budget based on Labour policies and it is an attack on the working class. What more proof do we need that the working class need our own party? TUSC is laying the foundations for such a party and in the meantime we are supporting all those fighting back against Tory austerity.

The strikes of rail workers, civil servants and council workers on budget day were a big two fingers raised to Osborne's budget. This fighting response is the only appropriate one to Tory and Labour austerity.

Fight all cuts!
Strike to win!
Build TUSC!

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Save EOTAS Swansea

I attended a great meeting of Save EOTAS Swansea last night, taking greetings and messages of support from Swansea Trades Council.

There are many varied reasons why pupils might need the extra, specialist help provided by the EOTAS (Education Other Than At School) service. What was abundantly clear from the testimony of pupils and former pupils, together with their parents, last night is that the service provides invaluable support to those that need it. Time and again the meeting heard how pupils had been able to successfully complete their school-age education and progress to college only with the assistance of dedicated staff.

It's a shame and a scandal that City and County of Swansea officers and the councillors of the ruling Labour Group are either not listening or are hearing and then ignoring, the evidence of EOTAS' success. They seem to determined to press ahead with cuts to the service which could see more than half the staff lose their jobs.

Staff, pupils and their families have been shabbily treated by the Council, which seems to repeatedly contradict itself, appears to have ridden rough-shod over the consultation process and has generally left both users and providers of the service in the dark about the exact nature of their proposals for cutting costs.

If Labour councillors and Council officers thought they would have an easy ride by targeting this relatively small group of staff as part of their plans to cut £24 million from education in Swansea over the next 3 years they were very much mistaken. Trade unionists have shown their determination to defend the service they are rightly proud of providing, by more than once taking strike action, the last time for 3 days.

Perhaps it's time to step up the political pressure on Labour councillors who make Tory cuts by threatening to stand no-cuts candidates from the campaign, against all those with a hand in making cuts in EOTAS, in the next council elections.

Defend education!
Save EOTAS Swansea!

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Swansea March Against Austerity

On Saturday there is a Swansea march against austerity assembling at the Guildhall at 12.30pm to march to Castle Square.

The demo is timely as Osbourne has announced further cuts for Wales this year of somewhere between £50 million and £84 million, depending on which report you read.

It's a good job we in Wales have got a Labour Government and many of us have got Labour councils to protect us from those cuts...

Except they don't!

Labour is in a potentially powerful position in Wales to throw a serious spanner in the wheels of the Tories' austerity programme but instead the facilitate it.

Labour holds the leadership of the Welsh Government and, until recently half the councils in Wales. Labour has just lost the leadership of Carmarthenshire Council to Plaid Cymru, where unions are demanding Plaid Cymru keep the promises they made while in opposition - to halt the cuts and attacks on union representation of the previous Labour administration. But Labour still runs 10 out of 22 local authorities.

The problem is that Labour has simply wielded the Con-Dems' axe for them, slashing jobs and services. An insightful front page image for the local newspaper had a mocked up picture of Cameron, Labour First Minister and the then Swansea Council Leader, David Phillips, all carrying hatchets, under the headline "the axe men cometh".

I wonder how many Labour politicians who have put up their hands for devastating cuts will be on this demo and the even more important Peoples Assembly march in London on June 20?

Obviously we all want unity in the fight against austerity but it has to be unity based on a plan to defeat cuts. That has to mean elected representatives voting against cuts. Councillors and other politicians who vote for cuts to jobs and services and then march and rally against the cuts they implement just sow confusion in the movement.

TUSC will be marching in Swansea on Saturday and in London next week. If, like us, you think that an important part of the fight against austerity is to build a political opposition to cuts then speak to us on the rally or come to our meeting in Dyfatty Community Centre, 7.30pm on June 24. We will be discussing the next steps in building a political anti-austerity alternative after the election.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Does Jeremy Corbyn entering the Labour Leadership contest negate what we've previously published?

Jeremy Corbyn has entered the contest for the Labour Leadership. Corbyn is standing as a left, anti-austerity candidate. Does that negate what we've previously published?

No! It's not guaranteed, in fact it is perhaps unlikely, that Corbyn will get enough nominations from Labour MPs to make it onto the ballot paper. John McDonnell was unsuccessful un securing the necessary nominations in the last two leadership elections. Less Labour MPs were willing to publicly defend the party-union link than the 35 required to nominate a leadership challenger.

If Corbyn does make it onto the ballot then it is all but ruled out that he would win given the emptying out of the Party and its acceleration to the right. So fast has been Labour's march to the right that Miliband's weak election platform, which promised more cuts, tighter immigration controls, no measures to halt falling wages, or reverse the jobs massacre and which completely failed to inspire working class voters, is now seen as left-wing in the ranks of the Labour Party.

Will the affiliated trade unions back Corbyn? It's not guaranteed but if they don't and continue to support austerity-Burnham even after he has made it clear he doesn't want their support, then it should be obvious to everyone that there is no prospect of Labour ever being reclaimed as a tool to fight for trade unionists and working class people.

We now have the strange spectacle of Corbyn, the declared left winger in this contest, having to defend Miliband's programme and election campaign. Sorry Jeremy but a few token gestures, like raising the minimum wage to a few pence more than today's Living Wage, in 5 years' time, doesn't make Miliband's an anti-austerity programme.

Despite Corbyn's identification with Miliband's austerity election programme, I think TUSC should give him what backing we can, particularly in the affiliated unions. In return we ask that if and when he fails to halt the march to the right of Labour, that those who back him in the Party be prepared to accept the obvious conclusion that Labour can't be reclaimed as a party for trade unionists and the working class.

Instead of wasting time and energy on the Labour Party which, despite their efforts, is rapidly ditching the 'lite' part of Tory-lite, we invite them to join us in debating how to build a new party of the working class on the foundations already laid down by TUSC.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Never mind Blairite, Labour leadership contenders sound positively Thatcherite!

So Newsnight's going to screen a Labour leadership contenders' debate? I don't know why they bother - they all seem to be saying the same things.

On one news programme last week we had reports of Burnham saying he didn't want to be seen as the candidate of the unions or the Left (as if!) and that he thinks we should be tougher on benefits, Liz Kendall saying she wants to back the white working class young (what about the non-white working class?) and Yvette Cooper calling for tougher action on immigration. Never mind a field of Blairites, at times they sound positively Thatcherite!

Despite the determination of all contenders for the Labour leadership to move the Party even further to the right (incredibly they all blame Miliband's defeat on him being too left wing!) the affiliated unions will no doubt find some reason to back one of this ragbag as the 'unions' choice'; it looks like being Burnham at the moment despite his desperation to distance himself from that label.

If newspaper reports are right then Unite and Unison between them gave upwards of £20 million to the Labour Party under Miliband, who was himself the 'unions' choice' at the time. What did we get for our members' money? Under Miliband's leadership, Labour refused to support and in a number of cases condemned, striking trade unionists doing what Labour refused to do - fighting back against Government cuts.

Worse still, where Labour is in power - in the Welsh Government and in councils across the country - they've been just as quick to make cuts as the Tories. £20 million to support a party whose councillors make thousands of our members redundant, outsource jobs and services and drive down our members' conditions?

And let's not forget the Labour Leader reporting Unite, his party's biggest financial backer, to the police on completely spurious charges. Even though  all the accusations against Unite in Falkirk were found to be groundless, they still provided a pretext for Inneos to victimise a Unite steward and for the Labour Party to bar an elected candidate from standing in Falkirk and then initiate the Collins Review, to neuter union influence in the Party.

And yet Labour 'lefts' and the Morning Star, are getting excited about Labour MPs 'defending the union link' but when you read the detail it's a signal of the weakness of support for union values in the parliamentary party - they could only find 26 Labour MPs who were willing to defend the trade union link, even in its extremely watered down version post-Collins. When I was a member of the Labour Party if you applied to join without providing details of what union you were a member of, your application would be referred back until you could provide a good reason as to why you were not a trade unionist. Now I seems that only a tiny minority of Labour MPs think there is a role for unions at all in the Party (apart from maybe bankrolling their personal careers).

To suggest that trade unionists should join, vote for and fund the Labour Party given all the above smacks of Stockholm Syndrome. The affiliated unions need to break with Labour now - not a penny more of our members cash to the red Tories! Instead found a real workers' party that can build on the foundations laid down by TUSC.

Friday, 29 May 2015

FIFA and the once beautiful game

FIFA has become a byword for corruption; today the sole remaining Brazilian delegate to it's World Congress appears to fled Geneva, to escape arrest like his colleague who has been picked up already in the current corruption scandal. Despite this Sepp Blatter, who has presided over all the scandals, will probably win the election for FIFA President today, against the only other contender, a Jordanian prince.

Politicians in the UK, delighted to have found a body dirtier and more corrupt than themselves, have been quick to point the finger at FIFA and demand it clean up its act. From Cameron to Carwyn they have been jumping on this particular bandwagon.

The taint of corruption has been too much for even the giant multinationals who sponsor FIFA and the World Cup; one or two have ended their sponsorship while others have issued demands that FIFA clean up its act. Considering this includes the likes of Coca Cola, no strangers to bad publicity over political corruption themselves, indicates just how toxic being associated with FIFA has potentially become.

Behind the public show of outrage though is a glossing over of the real scandal, the human cost of FIFA's dodgy deals. At least 1,200 foreign construction workers have died building the stadiums that will house the Qatar World Cup.

The World Cup offers such a marketing opportunity for these global brands that the majority of them will simply issue a few bland statements calling on FIFA to reform, before continuing with business as usual.

If you've any doubts about this, check out the link below:
Fifa scandal: the sponsors respond - YouTube https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nCc_raw8cgI

Football is big business. Reclaim the game!

Friday, 8 May 2015

New workers' party needed urgently

This morning Labour is blaming the voters for failing to be inspired by their brand of austerity over the Tories'.

Labour AMs and councillors in Wales will now spend the next 5 years - if their feebleness in opposition allows the government to limp on that long - repeating their current mantra "there's nothing that we can do" as they continue to make Tory cuts.

Labour leads the Welsh Government and half of all councils as well but their attitude that there is nothing they can do except parcel out Tory cuts means that they have failed to use these positions to defend working class people and working class communities.

Welsh Labour MP Chris Bryant is quoted by the BBC as saying that elections are won on the centre ground but Labour loses when the left is disunited. Well perhaps Labour should stop posing as a left party and clear the road for real lefts, socialists and trade unionists to actually fight the Tories instead of trying to compete with them on their own ground as Labour does now with their 'me too-ism' on making cuts.

In the end Labour achieved a double-whammy of failing to compete with the Tories on their ground and alienating large swathes of working class people and trade unionists as well.

It is clear that Labour's adoption of austerity-lite effectively disenfranchises millions of working class people who have no politicians representing our interests. Will the biggest trade unions now draw the conclusion that they need to act to secure political representation for their members by creating a new party, which can build on the pioneering work of TUSC?

For TUSC supporters nothing changes with this result we will continue to fight as hard for the policies that we fought the election on. We will be fighting in our workplaces and trade unions for the raising of the minimum wage to £10/hour and end to zero hour contracts. We will be fighting in our communities to end all cuts. We will continue to raise the idea of socialism - organising society for people's needs and not the profits of a few.

TUSC is not just for elections. If you want to fight back against this Tory government that Labour's failures have saddled with, then get in touch.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Tomorrow? The fight against austerity continues...

...and Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) supporters will be playing our part.

Whichever coalition of austerity parties forms the next government there's some thing we can be certain of: They will continue to try to make us pay for a crisis in their system that was not of our making, with cuts to jobs, wages and public services.

If you haven't voted for the 100% anti-austerity alternative, TUSC, yet, it's not too late. But regardless of how you voted, if tomorrow you're still fighting cuts then TUSC supporters will be fighting alongside you in our unions, workplaces and communities.

Join us in that fight: www.tusc.org.uk

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

TUSC would implement unions' anti-austerity policies

As interesting and enjoyable as promoting TUSC at various hustings events has been, speaking at Swansea Trades Council's May Day Rally was altogether different because I was speaking as a trade unionist to other trade unionists.

Trades Council delegates had agreed the theme 'opposing austerity'. TUSC prides itself as being the 100% anti-austerity party contesting this election.

Austerity is a lie to hide the transfer of wealth from the majority in society to the wealthiest at the top because while most of us have got poorer, illustrated by the increase in children living in households in poverty, the richest have got richer. The Forbes Rich List last week showed that the 1,000 wealthiest individuals in the UK have more than doubled their wealth in the last decade.

So how do we end austerity? Perhaps the single most significant immediate change that could be made would be to unshackle the trade unions so that we can defend ourselves and our communities from the relentless assault on jobs, wages and services. 13 years of majority Labour Government left in place anti-union laws which are among the most restrictive in any 'democracy' in the world; in some respects Labour even added to them! Trade unionists demand that the anti-trade union laws are abolished. So does TUSC.

TUSC supports unreservedly trade union policies to raise working class people out of the misery that 5 years of Con-Dem government has inflicted. Trade unions estimate that the real value of our wages has fallen by up to 20% during this government for the rich and by the rich.

TUSC therefore supports the demand, overwhelmingly agreed at the last TUC, to immediately raise the minimum wage to £10/hour. This would end the effective subsidising of the bosses to pay poverty wages, which leave workers having to claim benefits to get by. It's been estimated that supermarkets, including giants like Tesco are effectively subsidised to the tune of £11billion a year because that's how much in working benefits their low-paid workers have to claim. TUSC also supports trade union demands to end zero hours contracts and abolish discriminatory youth rates.

It is trade union policy to demand that services like the railways, the postal service, utilities, energy companies and the banks are all brought into common ownership. TUSC enthusiastically supports these demands; if nationalised and democratically organised (including by the workers in the industry), these services could be planned to meet people's needs rather then protect the profits of shareholders, as is the case now.

Everything outlined above is trade union policy aimed at ending austerity but there is only one party contesting this election that enthusiastically endorses all of it and that's TUSC.

Over 75% of TUSC candidates are active trade unionists. Whatever coalition of continued austerity forms the next government we will be continuing to fight  for the same policies with our trade unions, in our workplaces and communities.

If you're a trade unionist fighting austerity then doesn't it make sense to vote, on May 7, for political representatives fighting for the same things?

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Will the party your union funds support TUC policy?

This weekend all across the world, workers will be celebrating May Day. The Swansea Trades Council takes place in Castle Square at 12.00 mid-day, today ( Saturday 2 May).

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidates will be joining in those celebrations and demanding:

• A minimum wage of £10/hour, with no discriminatory youth rates!
• An end to zero-hours contracts!
• Unshackle the trade unions - repeal all the anti-trade union laws!
• Bring energy and other utilities into public ownership so that resources can be planned to meet people's needs and not for profit.
• Nationalise railways, postal services and the banks and finance houses under democratic public control.

All of these policies are TUC policy, voted for by delegates from all of our trade unions but the Labour Party, which too many of our unions continue to pour money into, doesn't back any of them.

TUSC is the only party that stands unreservedly on trade union policies. As you celebrate May Day this weekend, unless you're an RMT member (RMT is affiliated to TUSC), ask: when will your union back the only party which has the same policies as you do?

Thursday, 30 April 2015

TUSC why we support demand for £10/hour minimum wage

Not only does the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition support the demand for £10/hour minimum wage but our representatives and supporters actively campaign for it, and not just at elections either.

£10/hour represents the minimum that's needed for a genuine living wage. Even the current official 'Living Wage' is only enough to get by on if it is supplemented by working benefits. Poverty wages are the reason why the majority of people claiming benefits are in work.

When wages are any less than £10/hour then the Government is effectively subsidising low-paying employers with our taxes and resources that could be used for our services. Supermarkets, which include some of the biggest, wealthiest businesses on our high streets (or retail parks anyway - they're killing town centres) are subsidised to the tune of £11 billion a year to pay poverty wages to the workers that generate their profits.

Why should we subsidise these giant corporations to pay poverty wages? With smaller businesses who genuinely couldn't afford to pay that much, there could be a case for the state helping them to pay (after all we subsidise them now by paying low paid workers benefits). But that would only happen if they opened their books to trade union scrutiny to prove that they really couldn't afford it. They would also have to prove that they pay their taxes in full because many low-paying firms are also implicated in tax-dodging.

Of course even £10/hour won't lift workers out of poverty if they are not guaranteed enough hours to earn a wage to put food on the table. That is why TUSC also demands zero-hours and other super-exploitative contracts are abolished along with minimum wage exceptions, like discriminatory youth rates.

All of this is TUC policy since the last Trades Union Congress but the Labour Party, which many trade unions continue.to pour money into, will only promise to raise the minimum wage to £8/hour in 5 years' time. Even their promise to end zero hours contracts are hedged around with small print.

There is only one party contesting this election that is proud to stand on TUC policy and that's TUSC.

TUSC supporters and representatives campaign to raise the minimum wage with other trade unionists and will continue to do so whatever the result of this election. The picture accompanying this post shows us supporting the Bakers' Union, BFAWU, and other trade unionists, calling on workers to join a union and fight for £10/hour on a global day of action (15 April) for trade union rights in the fast food industry.

If you're a trade unionist who thinks the party your union funds should fight for trade union policies or if you're a low-paid worker who supports our demand for £10/hour then get involved with TUSC and help us to fight  for £10 now and beyond the election.

Ronnie Job
TUSC Candidate, Swansea West

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Standing up to devastating Welsh Government cuts to adult learning

Trade unionists from Welsh colleges took our ongoing fight against Welsh Government cuts to Further Education to the Assembly buildings today.

These cuts threaten jobs in colleges across Wales but more than that, they threaten the broad range of courses on offer in FE colleges. This is particularly the case for adult learners as adult training and learning faces a 50% cut to funding in the next year.

Only a handful of AMs bothered to come and talk to protestors but we were joined and supported by FE students and by TUSC supporters, including Jaime Davies, Parliamentary Candidate for Caerphilly.

Reverse all cuts! Fund Further Education so that we can do our jobs and continue to provide the quality education that people in our communities need.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

For a genuine free press


Press regulation – by whom and in whose interests?

It is not surprising that in the wake of the phone hacking scandal lots of people have called for tighter regulation of the press; I know I have received numerous emails on this subject. But the vital question is regulation by whom?

We have no end of regulatory bodies in the UK but they are appointed not elected and they are not held to democratic account. Appointed by the establishment, these bodies often represent the same powerful interests as the people they are supposed to regulate, meaning they are ineffectual and can offer little more than token gestures. OFGEM failed to stop the price-fixing scandal involving the big energy companies for example.

I wouldn't be in favour of adding another unelected and unaccountable regulatory body - one that would impose the views of its members on the rest of us. Such a body might also be used to further limit the ability of ordinary people to get our positions heard, while being unable or unwilling to tackle the sorts of abuses of media control that led to phone hacking in the first place.

Oversight that would be meaningful would need to be exercised democratically by the mass of ordinary people, including the workers in the media industry. That's not going to happen while the bulk of media is in the hands of the likes of Murdoch.

Control of the political agenda

This election has brought home starkly the influence of the media on politics and the 'democratic process', with such important issues as who looks best eating a bacon sandwich becoming talking points on the evening news. It has also illustrated how the UK media biases their coverage to the main parties of the establishment.

Despite being officially the 6th largest party in this election, contesting 135 seats and 30% of the seats in Wales, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is still for many, the largest political party that they've never heard of. We've faced a virtual media blackout. Even though we've surpassed the threshold where we should qualify for 'fair coverage' TUSC has received the bare minimum of exposure. The reason isn't hard to find; you only have to look at who owns and controls our press.

A handful of media moguls own the overwhelming majority of our press and exert an enormous influence on our political process. Just look at the way politicians over the last 2 decades have been desperate to court the favour of Rupert Murdoch. The photo accompanying this posting is an advert for my preferred choice of reading, the Socialist. It contrasts a workers' paper, written by, sold and read by working class people to images of the Sun being promoted by the leaders of the 3 main parties, including Labour, despite its union bashing, Page 3, lies about Hillsborough and its opposition to everything the labour movement has ever stood for.

For a genuine free press

No press baron is ever likely to give TUSC £1million to fight this election, like the owner of the Daily Express has just given to UKIP. Owners of mass media - TV channels, newspapers, etc use their positions to promote their own agenda and substantially define the political landscape on which parties compete.
Yet whenever newspapers have surveyed their readers in recent weeks on the issues that matter to them they've found, to their surprise, that many of the policies that TUSC stands for are incredibly popular: nationalisation of the railways and utilities, reversing privatisation in the NHS, rent control and council house building, scrapping of all the anti-trade union laws, a £10/hour minimum wage with no exceptions on grounds of age and an end to zero hours contracts. If the press reflected the views of the majority fairly then these issues would be to the fore in the media debate during this election.

We need to campaign for a genuinely free media that is not under big business control. In a socialist society it should be a means of communication for everyone, with its parameters discussed and decided democratically involving the widest possible number of people.

Ronnie Job
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition Candidate Swansea West

Saturday, 25 April 2015

TUSC says protect our environment!

In this General Election the mainstream parties have largely ignored the question of the environment and climate change. The Tories have decided to drop what Cameron has been alleged to have called the "green crap" because when measures to tackle climate change come up against protection of the bosses' profits the environment loses out every time.

The Socialist paper this week published an article about BP which illustrates perfectly how, under capitalism, profit overrides both people's needs and the environment's. In 2003, recognising the growing global awareness of the acuteness of climate change, BP attempted a 'green' re-brand, with the slogan 'Beyond Petroleum'.

They announced investment into diversification from fossil fuels, partly for good PR and partly to chase after government subsidies for renewables. The financial crash in 2008 changed all that. Government subsidies were cut and BP shelved most of their work on renewable energy. They chose instead to pursue new extremely environmentally destructive options, like tar sands extraction in Canada. For private corporations like BP shareholders come before populations and the planet.

The Trades Unionist and Socialist Coalition recognises the urgency of acting immediately to slow and ultimately halt further climate change but we have no faith in governments of the established parties to regulate for environmental protection or in big business to self-regulate.

In this election we are calling specifically for:
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. Oppose fracking.
• Move to sustainable, low-pollution industry and farming – stop the pollution that is destroying our environment. No to profit-driven GM technology.
• Produce for need, not profit, and design goods for reuse and recycling.
(from TUSC General Election 2015 platform).

TUSC is in favour of taking the energy and other utilities into democratic public ownership and the rail network as part of a publicly owned, sustainable transport network. When workers in these industries and local communities have control then planning can take place for need and not for profit and big business won't be able to vandalise local environments for quick profits.

Ronnie Job,
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition Candidate, Swansea West

If you want to know more about my views on climate change and defending our environment then check out the regular features in the Socialist paper on these issues.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Standing up for Further Education against Welsh Government Cuts




Yesterday (22 April) staff and students - organised by the Joint Trade Unions representing FE workers - in Welsh Colleges took part in protests against Welsh Government cuts to Further Education.

Early reports are that the events were well supported all across Wales, which fits with my experience in Gower College Swansea. At Gorseinon, where I work, the joint trade unions put out a call for people to gather at 1pm at the main gate and workers and students responded enthusiastically.

There was an upbeat atmosphere but a quiet determination to stand up for the broad range of quality learning and training opportunities we provide, particularly for adult education, which is seeing a 50% cut in funding in a single year!

The range of chances for adult learners in our communities, that colleges provide, will be seriously reduced if these cuts go through and where learners can find courses they could be much more expensive as colleges have to pass on the full cost price to learners. This is likely to price many out of education and training. Has the Welsh Government abandoned the principle of 'lifelong learning' in its willingness to pass on Con-Dem cuts?

Workers and students were clear what they think of Welsh Labour cuts to Further Education, summed up in the placard made by one lecturer - betrayal! Next Wednesday (29 April) we take our protests to the Welsh Government's doorstep as we demand they reconsider and give us the resources we need to deliver the high quality education we're proud of.

TUSC, as the only 100% anti-austerity party contesting the election on May 7th stands shoulder to shoulder with all those standing up for Further Education.

Ronnie Job, TUSC candidate Swansea West

Sunday, 19 April 2015

TUSC: "ordinary people talking sense"

"just ordinary people talking sense" - that's TUSC

On Friday, the Trades Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) had its election broadcast. Everybody Swansea TUSC supporters met who'd seen the broadcast this weekend was impressed.

One man at our stall in town said it was "just ordinary people talking sense". While a woman who hadn't seen it yet because of her work pattern, said she'd recorded it and was looking forward to watching it later, after talking to us and taking material.

One woman canvassed in Townhill on Sunday said she seen the broadcast and that she "agreed with everything said". She'll be voting Ronnie Job for Swansea West in the General Election and Owen Herbert for Townhill in the Council by-election.

TUSC qualified for an election broadcast because we've exceeded the threshold for 'fair' coverage. We have candidates standing in more than 1/6 of seats in the General Election (in Wales were contesting nearly 1/3).

Inspired by a brilliant broadcast, the mood of Swansea TUSC campaigners this weekend has been as bright as the spring weather. The picture doesn't do the views from Townhill justice but I doubt many canvassers would have had better views this weekend.

Did any canvassers have better views this weekend?
TUSC has been called 'the largest political party you've never heard of'. One person at a time we're changing that and our message - that working class should not be made to pay for a crisis we didn't cause is being well received.

TUSC is the only 100% anti-austerity party contesting this election. If you haven't seen our broadcast yet, check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcEMrCTVRdg

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Oppose Welsh Government cuts to Further Education as well as Con-Dem ones

A response to an email from a constituent about opposing FE cuts..

Thank you for your email. I am happy to sign the petition but I notice it only refers to English FE cuts.

Unfortunately the Welsh Government, with its willingness to pass on Con-Dem cuts is also making deep cuts to Further Education, particularly adult education.

I am a Unison steward in a college in Wales. On Wednesday (April 22) I am urging my members to join the lunchtime gate protests that are taking place in colleges across Wales against Welsh Government cuts to Further Education.

The following Wednesday (29 April) trade unionists from colleges around Wales will be lobbying the Assembly to Hal these cuts. Hopefully students will also join us.

These Welsh Government cuts are not only a threat to the jobs and conditions of my union members and workmates but also to the opportunities that exist for learning and training in Wales.

If you look at the Swansea TUSC blog: http://tuscswansea.blogspot.com/ you will find a number of posts about FE cuts in Wales. If you agree with what is written then please share and help us to oppose cuts.

Thanks,

Ronnie Job
Trades Unionist and Socialist Coalition Candidate, Swansea West

Finally an election broadcast worth watching!

The Trades Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is standing in 135 100% anti-austerity candidates in the General Election on May 7. In Wales we are contesting one third of seats. This means we qualify for fair coverage from the media, including an election broadcast.

That broadcast was shown last night and it showed what's different about TUSC. We are the only 100% anti-austerity party standing. If you missed it you can catch it here: https://youtube.com/watch?v=pcEMrCTVRdg

If you have issues you'd like to discuss from the broadcast or even better, if you've been inspired to help in TUSC's campaign, candidates would love to hear from you. Here's how you can get in touch with candidates in this area:

Owen Herbert (featured in broadcast) for Aberavon
Email – owen.herbert@hotmail.co.uk

Meet your candidate today!
Saturday 18 April – 11.00 Aberavon shopping centre, Port Talbot


Ronnie Job for Swansea West
Phone – 07963 454041
Email – swanseaTUSC@gmail.com
Twitter – @RonnieJob
Swansea TUSC blog – http://tuscswansea.blogspot.co.uk/

Meet your candidate today!
Saturday 18 April – 11.30am Oxford Street, Swansea


Mark Evans for Gower
Email – johnmev@msn.com

Meet your candidate today!
Saturday 18 April – 11.00 Llanelli town centre

Mark's in Llanelli helping out fellow candidate Scott, who as a shop worker, has to work most Saturdays.

Scott Jones for Llanelli
Phone – 07598752971
Email – scottfrankjones@hotmail.co.uk
Facebook – Vote Scott Jones TUSC, Llanelli 2015

Meet your candidate!
Wednesday 6 may 7.30pm
Queen Victoria Club, Llanelli, SA15 2TL


As well as 135 parliamentary candidates on May 7, TUSC is standing over 600 representatives committed to voting against all cuts in council elections in England and 2 council by-elections in Swansea.

Dave Phillips (no connection to former Council Leader!), TUSC candidate in Cockett will also be in Swansea town centre today.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

FE workers prepare to fight back against Welsh Government cuts

It was no accident that today's media launch for the Trades Unionist and Socialist Coalition in Wales took place outside a college. The cuts in Further Education now taking place across Wales are a perfect example of how Welsh Labour is prepared to pass on Con-Dem cuts.

The cuts now taking place in Welsh colleges threaten hundreds of jobs and will represent a reduction in learning opportunities for people across Wales, particularly for adults and part-time learners. It would mean the end of the principle of 'lifelong learning' - of learning and training opportunities from cradle to grave. Courses will be harder to find and even where available the cost may be prohibitive for many.

The cuts are directly as a result of reducing central funding and other streams of income from the Welsh Government. They are exacerbated by the willingness of the Welsh Government to award training contracts, previously delivered by professional staff from FE colleges, to private and third sector providers, some of whom don't even recognise unions.

But FE workers are not taking this lying down. An initiative from the lecturers' union, UCU to begin a campaign to put pressure on the Welsh Government to reconsider, is being backed now, I'm glad to say by my union, UNISON, and other campus unions.

Next Wednesday, 22 April, there will be college gate, lunchtime, protests by FE workers to be followed by a lobby of the Welsh Assembly the following Wednesday, 29 April. These could be really well attended and will be backed by the majority of students.

A lot of FE workers will recognise that only co-ordinated national action by campus unions is likely to be needed to force the Welsh Government to rethink. These protests will be important in alerting students and communities to the dangers for education and in building the confidence in FE workers for the fight ahead.

Stong support from TUSC for Global Day of Action for Fast Food Rights

Trades Unionist and Socialist candidates in 4 parliamentary seats and 2 council by-elections joined the Global Day of Action on Fast Food Rights in Swansea yesterday. TUSC supports one hundred percent this campaign, launched by the BFAWU, to unionise fast food workers to organise to end zero hours contracts, to fight for £10/hour minimum wage and for union rights.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Fed up with Labour - Vote TUSC



On Friday April 10 the Guardian ran an article '10 things Guardian readers think should be in the Labour manifesto' this was the same day the Guardian completely blanked and ignored the national manifesto launch of the TUSC manifesto. 
TUSC is all about meeting the needs for working class people but remains the largest party many people haven't heard of - stop the media blackout now!

Iain Dalton TUSC candidate in Leeds has had the following letter published on the Guardian this week. 


The Welsh launch of the TUSC manifesto takes place tomorrow 
Thursday 15 April in Cardiff outside the Cardiff and Vale college 35 The Parade Cardiff CF24 3AD at 11am. 

Make sure you tune into the TUSC election broadcast on Friday  17 when TUSC will have an historic opportunity to mount, on TV, the clearest anti-austerity message from any party in the election. Broadcast times are scheduled to be BBC2 5.55pm, ITV 6.25pm and BBC1 6.55pm.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

A response to 4 policy questions from 38 degrees

1) Do you pledge to crack down on tax dodging?
A study commissioned by the PCS found that £120 billion+ is avoided, evaded or simply not collected each year, most of it from big business and the super-rich. This is money that could be used for vital services. TUSC would be in favour of cracking down on tax dodging. We think that this can only be done effectively by taking control of the banks by bringing them into common ownership, something that is TUC policy but is only supported by one party in the election.

2) Do you commit to increase NHS funding?
The starting point for TUSC is always what do people need? It is clear that the NHS needs an increase in funding to enable it to meet Bevan's 3 principles at its founding: that the NHS should be free at the point of use  accessible to all and that decisions should be made on the basis of common need not cost. A good start would be to write off the PFI debts that succeeding Tory and Labour governments have saddled us with.

3) Do you commit to stop NHS privatisation?
Not only would TUSC oppose all future privatisation in the NHS, we are in favour of reversing all privatisation to date and cancelling PFI, which is a millstone around the neck of the NHS.
Labour has promised to repeal the Health and Social Care Act but they still see a role for private providers in the NHS, as shown by discussions they've had about the acceptable level of profit to be made in healthcare.

4) Do you commit to stop TTIP?
TUSC rejects all secret treaties. TTIP threatens to open up all our public services to privatisation and represents a huge transfer of power from elected governments to big corporations. TTIP can't be tinkered with or the NHS excluded from it, as other parties would have us believe. This threat to public services and democracy has to be rejected completely.

Ronnie Job,
TUSC candidate, Swansea West

Protecting our community's environment. A response to a Swansea West Constituent

This is from a response to a series of questions from somebody in Swansea West about protecting our community from environmental damage, referring to the manifesto of the CPRE.

I would argue that all these issues have been aggravated by austerity and the willingness of the entire political establishment to make cuts. As a representative of the Trades Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), I'm proud to say that I stand on the platform of the only 100% anti-austerity party contesting the election.

In your email you talk about "short term economic needs" dominating the political agenda. I would say that this is the nature of this economic system we live under, capitalism. TUSC is socialist because we believe society should be organised for the needs of people and communities and not for the profits in the pockets of a rich few.

I'll answer some of the points you raise about housing, sustainable transport and the voice of local communities in planning in a bit more detail.

TUSC recognises that there is a desperate need for affordable housing. We would argue that this would be best provided by providing new council housing. As you point out, new housing has to be built in the right places; it is important for the well-being of those who live in our communities that we retain our green spaces. At the moment Swansea's Labour Council is proposing to sell off playing fields at my son's primary school.

New housing doesn't necessarily mean building on new land; there are a lot of unused buildings in Swansea (some of them owned by the Council). Where possible these could be developed to provide affordable housing. New housing should use sustainable materials and incorporate the best energy-saving technology.

I definitely think the needs and feelings of communities need to be given more weight in the planning process. How can it be right that for instance, giant energy companies are able to ride roughshod over the opinion of the local community and their fears for the future of their environment, in the interests of fracking? With a number of firms interested in fracking or fracking-related processes for Swansea Bay and the Loughor estuary, Swansea residents may soon be testing for themselves, the limits of how much attention is paid to local residents' concerns in the planning process. Swansea TUSC supporters will campaign alongside all those opposing fracking and other processes that will damage our environment.

I am certainly in favour of improving public transport both in order to make transport sustainable, reducing the environmental impact but also because I think it would improve the well-being of transport users. I don't drive and, as a regular user of public transport, I can testify that it is increasingly difficult to use  public transport for everyday purposes, like travel to and from work. It is expensive and timetables are often infrequent. Competing companies don't co-ordinate times and refuse to accept each others' tickets.

I wrote for TUSC last year about how the Council's decision to award the contract for one leg of my route to work to a different company had led to a near doubling of the price of my daily commute: http://tuscswansea.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-need-for-publicly-owned-integrated.html

I'm in favour of bringing public transport into democratic public ownership beginning with the nationalisation of the rail network. Nationalisation of the railways would be enormously popular but despite overwhelming support at their own party conferences, the Labour Party will still not back it. It is not an accident that the first trade union to formally back TUSC is the RMT, which represents rail workers.

On these and other questions TUSC is able to give an unequivocal answer, we will develop policy based on the needs of the mass of ordinary people never, as is the case now, for the profits in the pockets of a rich few.

Regards,
Ronnie Job, Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidate, Swansea West

Friday, 10 April 2015

TUSC support for cycling as part of a sustainable transport policy

CTC, the national cycling charity, has been encouraging its members to write to candidates in the election to query their support for cycling generally and a 5-point programme in particular:

  1. Leadership and ambition to increase cycling levels.
  2. Sustained funding commitment from the national transport budget.
  3. Cycle-friendly design standards for all new highway and traffic schemes.
  4. Improved safety for cycling through strengthening road traffic law and revisions to the Highway Code.
  5. Positive promotion of cycling including funding of cycle skills training.
TUSC recognises that enabling more people to enjoy cycling in safety for both work and leisure would be an important part of establishing a sustainable transport policy, as well as having enormous potential health benefits. While there are cycle routes locally, there is obviously still a long way to go in terms of making cycling a safe and pleasurable means of getting about.

It should be possible to be able to cycle anywhere without being constantly at risk from traffic or from accidents or damage caused by potholes and deteriorating roads. Cut to Council services - our Labour councillors are planning £80 million+ of cuts over the next 3 years - are a threat to further developments of cycle routes locally and mean that all road users have cause for concern about the state of our roads.

In order to make cycling a viable every-day means of transportation it would also be necessary to invest in secure storage at every workplace and public facility.

To carry out the 5 point programme above and to commit to the improvement in facilities for cyclists that's needed in Swansea would require substantial funding. That would mean the Council and governments in Westminster and Cardiff not only halting but reversing cuts. For this programme to be anything more than an aspiration requires a commitment to end austerity; as the only all-out anti-cuts party contesting the election, I'd argue that only TUSC candidates have the will to do what's needed for cyclists.

Ronnie Job, TUSC candidate, Swansea West

TUSC Manifesto launch and meet the candidate

     TUSC Manifesto Launch




Just click on http://bit.ly/1yhrp50 to download a copy of our Manifesto. 

Record number of candidates:
Subject  to final confirmations it looks like we'll have a record number of candidates standing, flying the flag for an anti-austerity, socialist message. At the general election we will be contesting 30% of the parliamentary seats in Wales, 21% of the seats in England, and 17% of the seats in Scotland. We will also have almost 650 candidates, in 117 towns and cities, contesting local council seats.
TUSC candidates are firefighters, nurses, teachers, social workers, train drivers, and more. We also have students, young workers fighting low pay, campaigners against the bedroom tax and people with a record of standing up for their communities.
You can see details about our candidates here: www.tusc2015.com

Meet Swansea West Candidate 'Ronnie Job' - Saturday 11th 11:30 - 13:00 Oxford Street, Swansea City Centre. 

Join the campaign! 


Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Further on the NHS and TTIP

In response to questions from potential voters:

The Health and Social Care Act is enormously destructive for the NHS in England with its massive extension of privatisation and market principles In Health Care. But in many ways, the Con-Dems were just building on the direction of the last Labour Government, which oversaw an increase in the pace of privatisation of health care and particularly saddled the NHS with huge debts for decades to come, through PFI schemes. Labour has promised to repeal the Health and Social Care Act if it forms the next government but it has not promised to reverse privatisation. Indeed the proposal by Labour to introduce a "profit-cap" shows they see a continuing expanded role for private providers in our NHS.

The NHS in Wales has not suffered so much from privatisation as England; the Health and Social Care Act does not apply here and there have been no new PFI schemes in the NHS for some time. However I still believe that the NHS in Wales has been let down by the Welsh Government, which has passed on cuts to health care under the Con-Dems and under the previous Labour Government. These cuts have had serious consequences in missed targets for care in a number of areas, including ambulance response times and some areas of cancer care. That is not in any way a criticism of the dedicated and professional staff working in the NHS; something I am well aware of being married to a palliative care nurse, now lecturer in nursing. NHS workers' efforts are undermined by cuts in resources and their morale is sapped by the downward pressure on their terms and conditions.

The NHS in Wales is not exempt from the affects of privatisation in any case. There is, quite rightly, an increasing understanding of the link between health and social care and the need to integrate the two. The outsourcing of social services across Wales by councils, including the half of all Welsh councils led by Labour, has had negative consequences for health care and is a barrier to cooperation.

TTIP is a threat to public services, particularly health services. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership would expose the NHS in Wales, just as much as England, to the threat of accelerated privatisation.

TUSC campaigns against all profiting from health care. We support the principles that Bevan outlined for healthcare..
• that is should be free at the point of delivery
• that it should be accessible to all
• that decisions should be made only on the basis of clinical need and not cost

To achieve that means to resist TTIP, not only be elected representatives consistently voting against it but by campaigning amongst patients, health workers and the public generally to inform them of the dangers and support all actions taken against it. At our 2015 Conference we agreed to include opposition to TTIP in our central platform for this election, "No to TTIP and all secret austerity treaties".

We want to reverse all privatisation of health care that had already taken place, ending the PFI schemes that leech off our NHS.

We would be in favour of bringing the giant multinational drug companies that make up "big pharma" into public ownership to make them democratically accountable and to end their ability to hold the NHS to ransom. They charge the NHS what they like regardless of production costs, for treatments, which are often developed in publicly funded institutions like universities. The result is that treatment may be decided by cost rather than the patient's need.

We think that that the NHS should be extended to include, for example dental care.

You can find out more about TUSC, our election platform and what we stand for on the national website: www.tusc.org.uk

Please get in touch if you agree with our programme and would like to help in our campaign.

Ronnie Job, TUSC candidate, Swansea West

Thursday, 2 April 2015

"TUSC the largest political party you've never heard of". Yet!

With the party leaders' general election debate imminent, the radio this morning keeps talking about the 6 largest parties contesting seats in Parliament. There's one party missing from that list - TUSC.

It is this blanking of TUSC that led political blogger, Alex Woolley of 50for15.com, to describe us as "the Largest party that you've never heard of".

http://50for15.com/2015/04/01/tusc-the-largest-political-party-that-youve-never-heard-of/

It's an accurate description in terms of our ambitions, if not in terms of our financial backing or likely vote at this election.

The TUSC Steering Committee has approved over 130 prospective parliamentary candidates for May 7 and hundreds of council candidates for English council elections.

We can't expect large donations like the £1.5 million that Unite the Union has given to Labour to fight the election but we have successfully inspired thousands of ordinary people to make donations large or small because they would not otherwise have anybody to vote for in this election.

While we're realistic enough to know that it's very unlikely that I'll be giving up my day job working in education, to become MP for Swansea West on May 8 for instance, we do believe history is on our side.  Workers, trade unionists and working class people need our own party - the bosses already have them in a number of party colours, including Labour red.

TUSC is doing pioneering work in raising the idea of a new mass workers' party and, even if it doesn't come next month, a breakthrough may not be that far away. When a clear anti-austerity message is presented it can inspire - look at the success of Syriza in Greece or the phenomenal growth in Podemos in Spain.

50for15 has identified 50 'marginal' seats in the election and is visiting each of them to get a flavour of campaigning. When Alex, on behalf of 50for15, visited Swansea TUSC supporters on Saturday we were battling with gale force winds, cold and rain. It was too gusty to use our banner in case it became a flying hazard to motorists!

Despite all obstacles, the response made the day enjoyable and worthwhile. I received a tweet last night that shows we're on the right track and will inspire me for the rest of the campaign.

"Great to meet you on Saturday @RonnieJob , despite the dreadful weather you managed to put some fire back into my jaded heart. Best of luck."

Ronnie Job, TUSC, Swansea West

No to TTIP! Response to 38 degrees question

I'm getting questions from 38 degrees members about my attitude to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. I am absolutely opposed to TTIP and delighted that there is a growing awareness of the dangers it represents.

TTIP opens up all public services to the threat of privatisation, not just health services, which is why I think it has been a weakness in much of the campaigning around the issue to concentrate only on removing health services. In any case, as you correctly point out, the NHS will still be at risk no matter what exclusions governments claim to have secured.

The Trades Unionist and Socialist Coalition is fundamentally opposed to privatisation and is in favour of bringing privatised services, such as transport, energy, communications into democratic public ownership, along with the banks.

TTIP would be a serious obstacle to carrying any of that out. It is a threat to democracy; it is a shift in power from elected governments to giant corporations.

TUSC calls and campaigns for a rejection of TTIP.

Ronnie Job, TUSC PPC Swansea West

You can find out more about the position the TUSC steering committee has taken on opposing TTIP at

TUSC BACKS 38 DEGREES CAMPAIGN NO TO TTIP TAX THE RICH AND SAVE OUR NHS http://www.tusc.org.uk/17075/12-03-2015/tusc-backs-38-degrees-campaign-no-to-ttip-tax-the-rich-and-save-our-nhs

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Meals on wheels: One more Welsh victim of austerity

The BBC is reporting that a Freedom Of Information request by Radio Cymru has revealed that councils in Wales have cut Meals on Wheels provision by around a third in 5 years.

This means that users of this service are not guaranteed a hot meal every day or to see another person; some councils in Wales only deliver a batch of frozen meals once a fortnight. There are Welsh councils which no longer provide this service at all!

This is just one more example of how services are cut and service users suffer because the Labour Welsh Government and councils in Wales, no matter which party they're led by, pass on Con-Dem cuts.

A Labour victory in the General Election in May will not prevent further cuts being experienced by users of services like meals on wheels; Labour has pledged to continue cuts. No wonder the Welsh Local Government says that councils in Wales, currently making £300 million in cuts, will face continuing austerity for the foreseeable future.

If you've had enough of cuts and being made to pay for a crisis that we didn't cause then you should check out if you're in one of the constituencies in Wales where you can vote for TUSC, the no-cuts alternative, on May 7.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Where's our recovery?

The week that sees the official announcement of the election has also seen the announcement of another food bank opening in a working class community in Swansea.

http://www.southwales-eveningpost.co.uk/Plans-open-food-bank-Port-Tennant-offer-provision/story-26254270-detail/story.html

Conservative and Lib-Dem politicians keep telling us that things are improving but that's not the experience of most of us. If just heard on the radio that disposable income went up 1.9% per household in the last year. Not in my house it didn't nor in the household of anybody I know!

TUSC asks "where's our recovery?". The profits of the bosses and the bonuses of the bankers may have recovered and passes the levels they were at before the economic crash that their greed was trigger for. But for workers there's still too much month at the end of the money and  increasing numbers of homes in working class communities struggle to even put food on the table.

That's why TUSC representatives are socialists; we want to use the vast resources in society for the benefit of the masses not the profits of the minority at the top.

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.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Redundancies in Swansea schools as Labour education cuts bite

According to the Post, NUT workplace reps and officers are facing a busy time as the reality of what Council schools funding cuts mean starts to become clear. They are holding 22 meetings over likely redundancies as schools start identifying how many staff they need to lose because of Swansea Labour's cuts.

Swansea Cabinet member for education, Cllr Raynor is saying that it is 'only' 1 or 2 staff per school but unions and heads seem to think some schools are facing much bigger cuts than that. And the bad news is that this is only year 1 of a projected 3 years of 5%, year on year, cuts to funding for schools and education. That's  £24 million Labour councillors voted to cut from our children's schools over the next 3 years

When TUSC supporters challenged Labour councillors over these devastating cuts to schools at the Council budget-setting meeting, Council Leader, Rob Stewart, said he didn't recognise the picture we painted of redundancies for teaching and other staff and increased class sizes.

But when primary school heads were asked, by the Council, to predict the likely consequences of these cuts, they forecast that they would not be able to meet the statutory requirement  to teach 5-7 year olds in classes of 30 or less and that, in some cases, older primary school students could end up in classes of 42+!

And still Labour councillors claim to be "protecting education", although they do sometimes qualify it with the word 'relatively'. In other words, they're making deep cuts in education but they're cutting deeper elsewhere.

If you're feed up with Welsh Labour representatives passing on Con-Dem cuts then what can you do to help TUSC in the General Election?

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Welsh Labour can't escape responsibility for devastating FE cuts

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; find out how you can build TUSC and defend education.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Mayfair Loophole. Close the tax gap. Nationalise the banks.

I've been sent a number of e-mails by people via 38 degrees asking how if I was the elected MP for Swansea West, I would have voted on the amendment to the Finance Bill to close the so-called 'Mayfair' loophole. This allows private equity holders to pay less tax and has been estimated to cost the UK treasury up to £700 million a year.

I am in favour of all measures aimed at more progressive taxation including closing down loopholes that benefit only the rich. However it has to be pointed out that £700 million a year would represent only the very tip of a massive iceberg.

Research commissioned by PCS union has shown that over an estimated £120 billion a year is list to the treasury through avoided, evaded and simply uncollected tax; most of it from giant corporations and super wealthy individuals.

This is wealth that could be used to fund essential services, which are being slashed and to lower the amount of tax those of us without Swiss bank accounts pay on essentials like food, clothing At the same time the Con-Dem Government has axed the jobs of civil servants responsible for collecting tax ensuring their rich friends get away with paying even less.

In order to close the tax gap we need to reverse the cuts in civil service jobs and if we are serious about closing the sort of loopholes that the super rich use with impunity, we need to take the banks and the finance houses into democratic, public ownership.

Nationalisation of the banks is official TUC policy. The Trades Unionist and Socialist Coalition are the only party committed to acting on it.

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?