Socialist Party members campaigning in Bristol by-election
Socialist Party members campaigning in Bristol by-election

Spelthorne – council services are failing

Paul Couchman, TUSC candidate in Ashford Town on 6 September

An ‘Independent Green’ councillor has resigned from his seat, saying that “you can’t change anything here”. Many residents voted Green here for the first time in May, looking for an alternative to Tories and Labour. They will be disappointed by the lack of resolve shown by this councillor.

Local government in Surrey is failing. Woking Borough Council has been taken over by government commissioners, and is threatening wholesale cuts and redundancies. Its likely Guildford will follow suit. And Spelthorne has massive debts, made worse by irresponsible historical Tory gambling on the property market.

Spelthorne was Tory-led for many years. But numerous Tory splits mean now no party has overall control. Many people have been looking for an alternative to the Tories, but have been let down by all other capitalist parties.

The Socialist Party in Surrey has tripled in size in the past few months, and is still growing. We have regular meetings of 15-20, mostly young workers. We regularly campaign in Guildford too.

Our last meeting (see below) agreed unanimously to put me forward as a Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidate. No other candidate in this by-election is putting forward a position against all cuts or for a massive investment in sustainable and affordable council housing.

I will be standing on a bold socialist programme, offering workers and residents the opportunity to join with us in a fight for the resources and services we need locally. As well as opposing Ulez, which makes workers pay for the capitalist’s economic and pollution crisis.

Bristol – sick of politicians that stand up for rich

Amy Sage, TUSC candidate in Bishopston and Ashley Down on 24 August

The Labour Party and the Greens are ‘battling’ in Bristol. Whoever wins this by-election is likely to control the city council.

But after both parties have carried through cut after cut to vital public services across the city, does it really matter which of them is in power? That is why I am standing as the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidate, to show people that there is an alternative to the pro-capitalist, pro-establishment politicians currently on offer.

Our demands include building a mass campaign to stop and reverse council cuts, and an end to above-inflation rises in council tax, rent and charges. The cost of privately renting in Bristol has risen by more than 50% in a decade. So we are campaigning for the launch of a mass building scheme of affordable, eco-friendly council houses, and for capping of rents to genuinely affordable rates.

Many people agree with us on the need for a genuine political voice for working-class people. On one campaign stall, the mood wasn’t just anti-Tory, but also anti-Labour too.

People are sick and tired of the main political parties that only stand for the super-rich. We need a political party that allows us to stand up for ourselves.