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Eastleigh byelection TUSC candidate pledges to take only a worker's wage
Graham O' Reilly
The Eastleigh byelection is nearly over, the votes will be counted and the winner will be hanging their sword on the purple ribbon in the palace of Westminster.
But right to the last moment TUSC has campaigned and if enthusiasm and passion got people elected then TUSC candidate Daz Procter would have beat the other candidates into a cocked hat.
"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." MK Gandhi.
This is how the Eastleigh byelection TUSC rally was opened by chair person Dave Boyes on the evening of Tuesday 26 February in a packed conference room of the Locomotive Engineers Club in Eastleigh.
Dave went on to say: "When I've been out on the streets campaigning with Daz, activists from other parties have called us names like 'Lefty, Trot and Marxist' and they use those words like swear words.
"But if standing up for the poor means I'm a Lefty and if standing up for the working class makes me a Trot and if opposing all cuts makes me a Marxist, then I am proud to be a Lefty, a Trot and a Marxist", for which he received a rapturous round of applause.
Tim Cutter, branch secretary for Unison Hampshire (speaking in a personal capacity) and Southampton councillor Keith Morrell (one of the two in the Labour Councillors Against Cuts group), condemned the cuts the government is making.
They spoke out against the Labour group in Southampton and how it has become undemocratic. Keith saw it as the 'Pink Conservative Party' doing the bidding of central government.
Tim gave his personal support to Daz whilst Keith gave the full support of the LCAC group.
Applause for candidate
When RMT union member Daz Proctor took the stand he was met with cheers and applause from the room. He spoke with passion and heart about how he had decided to stand as a people's representative in Eastleigh and explained that if elected, he would take only a worker's wage while in parliament.
He said that people had accused him of being naive in thinking that he could do an MP's job on an average wage.
Daz countered this by saying that young men and women are sent to the Middle East to fight and possibly die on a lot less than the average wage, and if they have to make such a financial sacrifice, so could he.
Daz spoke of how he wanted to protect jobs and services in Eastleigh and how important it is to keep public services publicly owned and not have them sold off to fat cat billionaires.
He did not want to see the public or private sector bosses attack the hard won rights of working class people.
The last speaker of the evening was Dave Nellist, former socialist Labour MP, now TUSC's national chairperson.
Dave said he fully supported Daz and hoped that he would do well in the election. He pointed out that TUSC has come a long way in the three years since it was founded, with the RMT union, which has over 80,000 members, now officially represented on the TUSC national steering committee. He explained how TUSC is growing not only in support but in the public eye.
Dave spoke of how there is a deliberate effort within the media to ignore and sideline TUSC, but with TUSC hoping to field more candidates than ever before in the upcoming council elections the days of being ignored will soon be over; the BBC has been approached about coverage during the election period.
He closed the meeting with a final rallying call for Daz which was met with enthusiasm.
Gandhi was right in the above quote: They have ignored TUSC, now they are laughing at TUSC, soon they will have to seriously fight TUSC.
That prospect worries all three major parties because they know that once the word is spreading that there is true workers' political representation on offer, they will lose and once again the workers of this country will have a voice.