Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/742/15689
Rotherham byelection - No more 'MacShames'!
Joe Robinson and Josh Scrivens, Rotherham Socialist Party
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) supporters in Rotherham have chosen local National Union of Teachers (NUT) rep, Ralph Dyson, to be our TUSC candidate in the forthcoming byelection on 29 November.
The election was called after disgraced Labour MP Denis 'MacShame' resigned due to expenses fiddling (see the Socialist 741).
Many people in Rotherham are disillusioned with New Labour, and searching for an alternative.
Last year, Ralph led the successful NUT teachers' strike at Rawmarsh Community School which stopped 25 compulsory redundancies.
Now joint divisional secretary of Rotherham NUT, which took part in the pensions strike last year, Ralph has condemned corrupt politicians and pledged to stand under the slogan 'a workers' MP on a worker's wage'.
Fight all cuts
Supporting the call for a one-day general strike against Tory-led coalition cuts, Ralph urged unions to fight back against 750 threatened job losses at Rotherham Hospital and the closure of Maltby Colliery, where 500 jobs face being axed.
He said it was a disgrace that Rotherham's Labour council, instead of fighting the Con-Dem cuts, was implementing cuts, with lives and communities being destroyed, while nationally Labour backed cuts and a pay freeze for public sector workers.
Ralph is from a mining family which went through the 1984-85 miners' strike, actively picketing and selling his artwork for the sacked miners.
He has denounced the racists and fascists of the English Defence League, National Front and BNP, who have sought to "whip up hatred and division" over sexual grooming allegations in the town.
"We need to fight the Tory cuts and austerity, end corruption at the top and stop the racists and fascists peddling their filthy lies."
On Saturday we joined Ralph on a TUSC campaign stall in the town centre leafleting and talking to voters under the slogans: no to corruption, no cuts and no to racism.
Then we took a walk around the town giving out leaflets which led to our ambush of the local Labour Party campaign stall.
Armed with a megaphone, bellowing "vote for a working class alternative to the cutbacks and corruption", we caused people to ignore the Labour stall and take our leaflets with many pledging their votes.
It seems the iron grip the Labour Party has had on Rotherham's MP seat for the last 79 years is finally easing, making room for a candidate who will truly represent working class people.
In The Socialist 14 November 2012: