Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/530/4033
Vote socialist on 1 May
"Socialist councillors are the only ones who've ever stood up for this area and taken the time to listen to us, I'll definitely be voting for Dave" - this was typical of the responses received by Socialist Party supporters canvassing for Dave Nellist on the streets of the St. Michael's ward in Coventry last week.
Richard Groves, Coventry West Socialist Party
Dave Nellist is well-known in the area as a man of principle and achievement, who has a long history of standing up for ordinary people and being their voice on the council, and previously in parliament.
St Michael's had been neglected for years until Socialist councillors were elected. Dave fought alongside the community against Labour's school closures, the privatisation of local housing, to keep parks and fields open and for improved facilities in the local community. He is a councillor who cares about the area and not a political career.
The Socialist Party have been a constant thorn in the side of the city council, whether Labour or Tory, exposing the daylight robbery of the PFI scheme at Walsgrave Hospital and trying to ensure that Coventry schools are run by representatives of local people not millionaires.
We led the political opposition to proposed closure of the main city centre post office and sorting office. The main parties have sat back and watched while 22 local post offices have closed and workers face an £8,000 pay cut to keep their jobs when the services move to WH Smith!
New Labour knows it cannot challenge Dave on his reputation or record so they simply pretend that he doesn't exist. Their election leaflet claims that: "only Labour can beat the Tories in St. Michael's". This is a shameless attempt to deceive new voters who don't know the history of the area.
This deception comes as no surprise to people here who are used to New Labour saying one thing and doing another. Labour MPs show up at protests about post office closures and NHS cuts then vote for them in parliament. They claim to want to expand local schools but have voted to close them and reduce places. While they demand cleaner streets, they vote against them at council meetings.
Coventry is no different to other parts of the country and you could not find a difference between New Labour and the Tories if you tried. While the Socialist councillors proposed an alternative budget for the council which would protect local services and prevent job losses, the main parties simply argued over whether to sack 120 workers or 110!
There is a possibility that after these elections, the Socialists on the council in Coventry could hold the balance of power and play a key role on the council in winning important concessions for working people in the city. This previously happened when Socialist Party councillors won vital concessions over the Ricoh Arena deal in Coventry.
Thousands of voters in St. Michael's will be among the 5.3 million households affected by Labour's abolition of the 10p tax rate. They have seen food prices, gas and electricity bills and council tax rates soar as the government makes life even harder.
The bankers have helped to take the economy to the brink of recession but New Labour bails them out with taxpayers' money. The people of Coventry and our industries have got no such help. Voters in St. Michael's are under few illusions about who New Labour represents. They are throwing their support behind Dave who has proved time and again that he will fight for ordinary people - for the millions not the millionaires!
In The Socialist 23 April 2008:
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party election campaign
Socialist Party news and analysis
The Socialist Interview
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party review
International socialist news and analysis