THE TRADE Union and Socialist Coalition – formerly the Militant wing of the Labour Party – have launched their campaign for the local elections next month.
Third place in the Birmingham Erdington by-election in February showed that the ‘Old Left’ may not be dormant for much longer, especially in light of some of the decisions made by Sir Keir Starmer and the Labour Party.
Labour are in a strong position after ‘Partygate’ fines were issued to Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak – but while the median voter might be theirs, they may yet face a challenge from the Left that doesn’t stem from the Green Party.
Launching their campaign, former Labour MP and TUSC chairman Dave Nellist said polling day presented a perfect opportunity to spark change at a local level.
“Faced with the biggest drop in living standards in sixty years, it’s more than time for a fightback – starting in the town hall,” he said.
“Local authorities are responsible for over one-fifth of all public spending. The 125 Labour-led councils alone control budgets of at least £82 billion. On top of that, they have usable reserves of just under £20 billion and borrowing capacities that could boost their spending power.”
Local authorities may seem docile on the surface, but they have been the hub of political resistance in the past.
In the mid-1980s, Militant Labour’s no-cuts policy put them at odds with the Labour Party leadership – and eventually led to their expulsion.
But Nellist said councillors must do their duty to local people, adding: “Rishi Sunak’s miserly increase to the Household Support Fund in the Spring Statement was pitifully inadequate but there’s nothing stopping councils from topping it up themselves to meet real local needs. The list goes on. Councils are not powerless – if there were councillors prepared to fight.”
The most recent example of workers suffering under a Labour council, meanwhile, is the Coventry bin strike.
Bin workers have claimed that the local authority has mistreated them and cut services.
The fact that a Labour-run council has failed to deal with this speaks volumes about the ‘alternative’ vote to the Tories, Nellist said.
TUSC are running more than 250 candidates in next month’s elections.
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