The Tory government is hellbent on making working-class people pay the bill for Covid. One way it plans to do this is with continued cut-backs to our local services. Politicians from Labour, Greens, Lib-Dems, Plaid Cymru and all mainstream parties in our local councils, mayoral authorities and devolved governments, are set to carry out the Tories’ cuts on their behalf — like they have done for the last decade.
With the Labour Party firmly in the hands of Keir Starmer and the right-wing machine, we need to start the process of building a new mass party of the working class. As a step towards this, the Socialist Party is standing candidates in this May’s elections as part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).
TUSC has over 300 candidates lined up to contest seats in local authority elections, the Welsh Senedd, the Greater London Assembly, and in city mayoral contests in Bristol and Liverpool.
Every week the Socialist will carry information on the campaigns and candidates in the different areas. This week is the turn of London.
Find out more at tusc.org.uk
London: We need socialists into City Hall
Like Keir Starmer, London mayor Sadiq Khan has offered no opposition as London workers have been forced into unsafe workplaces, or had their pay, terms and conditions attacked. In fact, as part of a bailout deal for Transport for London, now extended for another two months, Khan has accepted attacks on London’s transport workers. Millions of Londoners have recently received their new council tax bills, including a hike from the mayor’s office.
London needs working-class fighters in City Hall, prepared to ensure workers don’t pay the bill for Covid. That’s why the Socialist Party is standing in the Greater London Assembly elections in May, as part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition. TUSC is standing on the London list, covering every household in the city, as well as in three constituencies. Below we publish the list of candidates and here are the thoughts of three Socialist Party members:
“I was born and raised in Lewisham and have watched local services get cut to the bone by Labour councils, good schools become academies, council land sold off to private developers, and over the last ten years I’ve seen the rapid gentrification of the area I call home.
“Being a young person in 2021 means the odds are stacked against us — stuck in insecure, low-wage jobs, destined to rent for the rest of our lives, and saddled with up to £50,000 of student debt — far more than any of us can ever hope to earn in a year. Add to that the racism and sexism that the mainstream parties make no real efforts to fight, and there is plenty to be angry about.
“But we have to fight – for a city we all feel safe in, and for a city that belongs to all of us. For genuinely affordable housing, decent jobs, and public services. If you felt electrified by Corbyn’s politics, and feel that society is unfairly rigged in favour of the rich and the bosses, who work to keep us divided for their own personal gain, then support our campaign”
“I worked for Waltham Forest Libraries from 2000 to 2012. I was elected as a shop steward for the union Unison, then as joint-convenor of libraries, later as Unison branch chair with over 2,000 members. As library workers we organised to oppose every cut to our service. Indeed, so well organised was our union that we were some of the best-paid library workers in London.
“The New Labour council hasn’t actively fought Tory austerity since 2010. This has led to mass redundancies in the workforce and my job was cut, like thousands of others. This didn’t stop me fighting for the library service, I was part of the community group to defend the old Wood Street Library building to keep it for public use. Disgracefully, the New Labour council have recently bulldozed it. They voted to let property developers build a block of private flats on the land. These flats even include a ‘poor door’ – a separate lift and staircase for those on social rents.”
As a student, young father and hospitality worker, living in London is never easy and the pandemic has only made things worse. This year has been tough for furloughed workers like myself. We have effectively taken a 20% pay cut while our living costs remained the same. Hospitality workers are entering a period of great struggle and I will be at the fore — fighting for our health and safety at work, and demanding we are paid a real living wage.
With the capital’s rents and living costs soaring, young people like me are stuck living with our parents or in overpriced and overcrowded homes. The mayor and Greater London Authority have the power, money and space to invest in the development of decent social housing that every Londoner can afford. Yet time and time again they let private developers build luxury apartment blocks that ordinary Londoners can’t afford. I’ll be campaigning to change that.
As a young father I can see the crisis in the capital’s schools unfolding first hand, they have been hit with cut after cut forcing them to put more responsibilities on our teachers. With this and the lack of resources they are trying their best to deliver the level of education our children need but in the long run it will have devastating effects on our communities. Many schools in the capital, like my sons, are pushing for academisation and I’ll be there fighting against as a parent alongside the teaching and calling for quality education for all.