Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Public Meeting - The Socialist Case for Leaving the EU

The Socialist Case for Leaving the EU

Bristol leg of the 20 City Tour organised by
TUSC - the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Judy Beishon - Socialist Party EC
Eddie Dempsey - RMT executive member for South West and South Wales (TBC)
Hugh Williams - Socialist Workers Party
Chaired by Tom Baldwin - TUSC Bristol mayoral candidate

Tuesday 31st May, 7.30pm
YHA Bristol (The Grain House)
14 Narrow Quay, BS1 4QA

See tusc.org.uk/events for up to date information and details of other meetings in the tour.

The EU referendum debate is being dominated by right wing arguments on both sides. There's a clash between two wings of the establishment, each headed by an old Etonian. We're hearing what's good for business and how to best keep migrant workers down. The only voices claiming to be speaking for workers seem to think we can rely on the ruling classes on Europe to protect our rights, at a time when these are under attack across the continent.

To help widen the debate and inject the voice of workers TUSC have organised a tour of 20 cities with public meetings putting the socialist case for leaving the EU.

The EU is a bosses' club that is based on a series of free trade deals aimed at increasing the profits of big business. It has pushed austerity, most noticeably in Greece and has privatisation of things like railways and postal services enshrined in its laws. While the internal freedom of movement is breaking down it is still fiercely defending the idea of 'Fortress Europe' as shown by their recent deal with Turkey. It is thoroughly undemocratic, elected MEPs can only rubber stamp decisions taken by the council of ministers and officials. The EU is not a friend of the working class and we do not have any democratic mechanism to reform it in our favour.

Whether you agree with these arguments or are just interested in hearing a different point of view on the debate then please come along and invite others.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Bristol's New Labour Mayor Puts Tory In Charge of City's Education

Marvin Rees, Bristol's new Labour mayor has announced his cabinet today. Despite a resounding win in the mayoral election and Labour taking a majority of Bristol's council seats they've allowed the hated Tory party a seat on their cross-party cabinet.

Conservative councillor Claire Hiscott has been given the education brief. This is despite her party in government cutting education funding and pursuing the destructive policy of academisation.

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) former mayoral candidate  and Bristol Socialist Party member Tom Baldwin said:

“Bristol needs a fundamental change from the cuts policies of the last few years. This cabinet does not reflect the change people that voted for just 2 weeks ago. Education is absolutely vital to Bristol’s future and to put it in the hands of a Tory will be a slap in the face for many Labour voters. Unfortunately this is already beginning to look like the approach taken by the previous mayor. The main parties will be ‘all in it together’ on the cabinet, implementing anti-working class austerity.

“Tory policies of taking from ordinary people and giving to the rich are playing havoc in Bristol and across the country. We need a mayor who will oppose that party, not bring them onto the top table and into the running of the city. TUSC will continue to stand alongside ordinary people and campaign for the jobs and services we need, regardless of who is threatening them.”

Support for TUSC rises in Bristol's elections

Bristol's mayoral election saw the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) vote rise by over 450 from 2012. TUSC candidate and Bristol Socialist Party member Tom Baldwin got 1,876 first preference votes. At the same time, TUSC's local council election candidates in Bristol picked up a total of 2827 votes, an increase of over 900 on last year. The best of these was 411 for Bristol Socialist Party member Chris Farrell in Ashley.

This election showed a thirst for change. Labour's Marvin Rees thrashed 'independent' incumbent George Ferguson as people turned their back on three and a half years of arrogance and austerity.
Given the swing to Labour, increasing our vote was impressive.

It remains to be seen whether a new mayor will mean the change of direction that is badly needed. The challenge is on for Labour to reverse the cuts made by the previous mayor. Unfortunately that was not offered by Marvin Rees during the election - he said we have to "pick our battles" when asked if he would pass on further Tory cuts of over £70 million.

TUSC got a great response to our policies of opposing austerity with a no-cuts, needs-based budget and a mass anti-cuts campaign to challenge the Tory government. The potential for such a campaign is there. Campaigning has won victories in Bristol recently, reversing closure plans for six libraries and virtually all public toilets.

During the election TUSC campaigners spoke to people on doorsteps and stalls, put out thousands of leaflets, spoke at several hustings and appeared in all the local media. We had to work harder than the establishment candidates, lacking their money. Campaigning does not stop and start with elections for TUSC and the Socialist Party. We'll continue to stand alongside working class people across the city to defend our living standards, jobs and services.