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Posted on 23 January 2013 at 12:48 GMT

Dave Nellist letter in the Independent responds to Owen Jones

The following letter was printed in the Independent, 22nd January 2013

New alliances on the left

Whilst I understand his impatience, Owen Jones ("British politics urgently needs a new force", 21 January) is far too dismissive about attempts to build an electoral alternative to the main three parties' overlapping agenda of austerity.

Owen does not want "another party of the left to be built"; he wants Labour to change. Yet he limits his aspirations to a "network" outside Labour to pressurise it from the left (but leaving the same politicians in post).

His sideswipe against the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is misplaced. We know TUSC is small at the moment; Owen, however, can't see the wood for the saplings.

Yes, the average of our results, where we stood in a small number of council elections in 2011 and 2012, is only 7 per cent. This May, however, we hope to stand 400 candidates.

We are serious about putting together a stable coalition, rooted in the organisations and communities of working-class people, that re-popularises a socialist alternative.

Building a "network" that does not electorally challenge politicians, who only differ by the speed at which pain should be imposed on ordinary people, is simply not good enough.

Dave Nellist
Chair, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, London E1

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