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From The Socialist newspaper, 2 February 2022

Dave Nellist standing for Birmingham Erdington

Dave Nellist, photo Senan

Dave Nellist, photo Senan   (Click to enlarge)

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is standing Dave Nellist in the Birmingham Erdington parliamentary by-election taking place on 3 March.

Dave was the MP for Coventry South East for nine years from 1983-1992, and was - alongside Jeremy Corbyn - a member of the left-wing Socialist Campaign Group of MPs.

During his time in parliament, Dave and the two other Militant-supporting (now the Socialist Party) MPs were well-known for only taking an ordinary worker's wage, giving away over half of an MP's bloated salary - currently £82,000 a year - to trade unionists and working class campaigners fighting to defend their livelihoods and communities.

Labour expelled Dave, along with many other socialists, for helping to organise mass non-payment of Maggie Thatcher's hated poll tax.

Later, for 14 years, Dave was a Coventry city councillor for the Socialist Party from 1998 to 2012. While Labour started privatising our NHS, schools and services, Dave and the Socialist Party gave a fighting voice for working-class people.

Accepting the TUSC nomination for the Erdington contest, Dave said:

"With Sir Keir Starmer's Labour welcoming a Tory MP into the parliamentary party last week - while confirming Jeremy Corbyn's exclusion from the PLP at its national executive committee meeting on 25 January - it couldn't be clearer that the interests of Britain's wealthy establishment will be in safe hands if and when they decide to move on from Boris Johnson's disintegrating premiership. Starmer is so obviously not on our side.

"In contrast, I and the rest of the TUSC coalition wholeheartedly supported Jeremy's leadership of the Labour Party as an opportunity to put someone in Number Ten who would challenge what he called the 'rigged system' - in other words, capitalism - that works in the interests of a rich and powerful minority.

"So the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, co-founded in 2010 by the late transport workers' leader Bob Crow, adjusted its electoral activity in response, not standing candidates in either the 2017 or 2019 general elections.

"But we also warned that the followers of Tony Blair within Labour - like Keir Starmer - didn't support the socialist policies of taxing the rich and public ownership that are needed to overturn the 'rigged system' and that they would drop the Labour manifesto policies of 2017 and 2019 as soon as they had the chance.

"And so it has come to pass, with Starmer, for example, explicitly ruling out public ownership of the big oil and gas companies even as they boost shareholder dividends from our hiked up energy bills.

"That is why I am proud to represent TUSC in the Birmingham Erdington by-election and would urge other trade unionists, socialists and community campaigners to also consider standing for TUSC in the forthcoming local council elections in May.

"Red Tories, Blue Tories or Yellow Tories carrying out policies against the interests of the working class majority cannot expect to be unchallenged at the ballot box".


Labour candidate's long record... of cutting services, pay and jobs

Birmingham care workers protesting outside council offices, 20.1.18, photo Birmingham Socialist Party

Birmingham care workers protesting outside council offices, 20.1.18, photo Birmingham Socialist Party   (Click to enlarge)

Paulette Hamilton, Labour's candidate for Erdington, has been a Birmingham councillor since 2004, and the Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care since 2015. Instead of using her position to fight for working-class people in Birmingham, she has presided over cuts to jobs and services.

For example, in 2017, under her leadership, the council set out to gut the vital Health and Social Care service.

Already low-paid, mainly women Homecare workers were faced with cuts to their contracted hours resulting in pay cuts of up to £11,000 a year.

It took 20 months of strike action to force Paulette Hamilton and the rest of the Labour council to retreat. Hamilton also played a leading role in attacking striking refuse workers.

In 2019 she wrote to council workers' trade unions, Unison and Unite, threatening "to seek an injunction which declares the actions of Unite and Unison in relation to the current industrial action unlawful."

Perhaps hoping to avoid discussing her anti-worker record, Hamilton has said that she intends to make fly-tipping a central issue in her by-election campaign, but the council's policies have led directly to its increase.

Back in 2011 it was the Labour Cabinet Member for Refuse Collection who scrapped free collection of bulky waste, saying he was confident it wouldn't lead to an increase in fly-tipping.

But a rise in illegally dumped rubbish is the inevitable result of residents now having to pay £33 per item for legal disposal.

Her message appears to be: 'Vote for me to clear up my own mess'!


Nationalise GKN!

Leafletting outside the GKN plant photo: Birmingham Socialist Party

Leafletting outside the GKN plant photo: Birmingham Socialist Party   (Click to enlarge)

Birmingham's unemployment rate, at 12.6%, is already the highest of any major city in Britain, with Erdington among the constituencies with the most out of work.

Now Erdington's GKN plant is set to close with the loss of 500-plus skilled jobs. Johnson's Tory government could have intervened, nationalised and saved GKN, but instead they let it go to the wall.

Johnson claimed the Tories wanted Brexit to 'level up' working-class communities, but their Brexit is about freedom for the bosses to exploit us. Johnson's new proposal for post-Brexit legislation, ripping up 'red tape' for businesses, means giving employers more liberty to attack their workers' rights, pay and conditions.

The Socialist Party, in complete contrast, supported a vote to leave the EU because we oppose the EU's pro-capitalist rules that attempt to limit workers' rights and the right of governments to defend working-class interests, for example by nationalising plants threatened with closure. We fight for the nationalisation of GKN under democratic workers' control and management.


Would you be interested in coming to help us leaflet and canvas?

People will travel from far and near to the campaign, possibly from your area. There will be campaigning taking place every day from now to polling day.


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In The Socialist 2 February 2022:


News

Tories attack UC recipients with 'get any job' threat

NHS mandatory vaccination to be ditched

NI rise piled onto shoulders of the lowest paid

Gas and electric bills set to soar by 50% this year

Covering basic costs is hard, and it's getting worse


International news

Ukraine: Workers' unity needed

Northern Ireland: Bloody Sunday 50 years on

School students strike in Austria

Coup d'état in Burkina Faso

France: Education workers and students walkout


TUSC

Tories Out!

Dave Nellist standing for Birmingham Erdington

Why a socialist candidate for Birmingham Erdington is vital

Hackney Unison to encourage anti-cuts candidates

Essex cuts racket must end

Portsmouth: Council workers leaving and tenants' double whammy

TUSC by-elections round-up


Workers fighting back

The winter strike wave escalates as workers fight back and win

NHS workers begin strike for 15% and against outsourcing

Victory at NewVIc college! 'The picket line gives us power'

Coventry bins: all-out against strike-breaking Labour council

Scunny scaffs strike restarts with a bang, barricades and a win!

PCS 2022 elections

Workplace news in brief


Campaigns news

Tories sinking, workers rising - help fund the socialist fightback

May Day Greetings: Back the paper that backs the working class

Why I joined: I'm tired of austerity and status quo

Socialist Students getting organised for 2 March walkout


Review

Belfast: Worth watching portrayal of previously airbrushed workers' unity


 

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Related links:

Dave Nellist:

triangleTrade Unionists Support Dave Nellist - a Socialist for Erdington

triangleBirmingham: TUSC Erdington election launch meeting

triangleSleaze and pay a toxic mix for Tories

trianglePreparing to build a working-class force for May's local elections

triangleNorth London TUSC: Planning for the May 2021 elections

Birmingham:

triangleVote Nellist for a workers' MP in Erdington

triangleLeft Labour MPs under pressure over Erdington

triangleFrom our history: 1972 miners' strike

triangleCampaigning in Birmingham Erdington by-election

Labour:

triangleThe Erdington byelection and the fight for a new mass workers' party

triangleBrighton Green and Labour cuts - workers and communities fight back

trianglePrivatisation and crisis in the NHS

Socialist:

triangleCarlisle Socialist Party: What now for Ukraine and Russia?

triangle1 March: Socialist Party new website launch

Workers:

triangleFor workers' unity against war in Ukraine

News and socialist analysis

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23/2/22

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The Erdington byelection and the fight for a new mass workers' party

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Birmingham

Vote Nellist for a workers' MP in Erdington

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Unite

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Privatisation and crisis in the NHS

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Covid

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Coventry

'Labour by name - Tory by policy'

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Taxes

Tory stealth taxes burden 'packhorse generation'

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Labour

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