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Election campaigns :: TUSC
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I come from a strong Labour background. My uncle, Walter Harrison, was Labour MP for Wakefield and deputy chief whip in the Wilson and Callaghan governments. His obituaries said he would go to any lengths to delay the onslaught of a Thatcher government that would erode workers' rights and demolish working class communities.
I left the Labour Party in 1984, aged 32, disheartened by Labour's lack of direct support for the miners. I later worked as a social worker in ex-mining communities. My conviction was reinforced when I saw first-hand the destruction and poverty following the pit closures.
The Tories' goals are to continue where the Thatcher government finished by creating greater wealth for themselves. They want to dismantle the welfare state, the NHS, diminishing public services through privatisation and outsourcing.
Cuts always affect the vulnerable and low-paid the most. Politicians have not been affected by the cuts or cost of living rises (they gave themselves an 11% pay rise). Some politicians benefited from the crisis created by greed, the city and the banks.
They stigmatise immigrants, the disabled, sick, unemployed, homeless, poor and hungry people, while peers in the Lords moan that they could not cope with a cut in the quality of champagne. It sounds like something from Blackadder, but it is sadly the reality of a society that caters for the 1% not the 99%.
The ruling classes fear the power of the working class when they unite and fight back. So the ruling powers will go to great lengths to deliberately promote tactics that create divisions within our class.
Diverting anger towards the poor, the vulnerable, the ill, welfare recipients and immigrants has been a significant tactic since the 1980s. UKIP is a product of this and should definitely not be seen as the alternative!
The real problems are not immigrants claiming benefits or older people living longer (recent statistics now show a future decline in longevity). The problems are wealth disparity, tax evasion, zero hour contracts, benefit sanctions, the need for food banks, soaring rent prices, soaring energy prices, lack of appropriate social housing, erosion of civil liberties, workers' rights and job security.
Must we put up with this in the 21st century? Labour seems to believe we should settle for anything just to get them back in power. The working class needs a voice that represents them, not more of the same.
Labour intends to keep on cutting spending and services, with further pay restraints and benefit freezes. They are failing to relate to people's anger and misery. I and many others feel disenfranchised. We should vote, but there does need to be a party representing our interests.
Whichever establishment party or combination of parties wins May's general election, they will continue with policies favouring the rich, with austerity for the rest of us. So I will be campaigning for TUSC, the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition. They are prepared to organise a fight back against these cuts and are building grassroots community resistance against 'the powerful'.
In May 2015 TUSC will stand candidates in both the general election and local council elections, to make sure establishment politicians are not left unchallenged and to prepare the basis for a party that truly represents the working classes, and ordinary people like me and you.
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Article dated 7 January 2015
The Socialist, weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party
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