Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/810/18583
More local news coverage for TUSC, but BBC downplays council elections
TUSC's campaign for the council elections taking place on 22 May picked up more coverage this week in local news media.
The Salford Star spoke of TUSC "mounting the biggest left challenge to Labour dominance, fielding candidates in nine of the 20 wards up for grabs". It also made the significant point that the Liberal Democrats, "once seen as the main opposition party in Salford", were fielding just two candidates this time.
A May Day election activity in Plymouth, where TUSC is standing candidates in all 19 of the city's wards, made the headlines in the Plymouth Herald with a good photo spread. Plymouth is another city where the Lib Dems decline is on display, with the party contesting just four seats.
There was some decent coverage for TUSC in the Eastern region with the Peterborough Telegraph speaking of a "colourful battle", mentioning the TUSC challenge in six seats and highlighting the "well-known health care campaigner Mary Cooke representing the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition".
The Watford Observer headlined its piece on the local elections "Ukip and the Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts party beef up their presence", referring to TUSC standing in half of the 12 wards in the borough.
In Yorkshire the Sheffield Telegraph wrote about Labour coming under pressure from Ukip, which is contesting all bar two of the wards in the city. But it continued by saying that: "Labour's support could also be hit by a new left-wing party, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, which is fighting 21 wards, focusing on opposition to the Con-Dem austerity agenda".
The Doncaster Free Press added: "the Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts (TUSC), is currently supporting striking Care UK workers who are fighting against 35% pay cuts, have eleven candidates".
TUSC's support for the Care UK workers was the main subject of a story in the Thornton and District Gazette, quoting TUSC candidate Jason Fawley, whose wife works for Care UK, and the Doncaster TUSC election agent and health worker, Steve Williams.
All this is in contrast to the election coverage of the BBC nationally, not just its complete refusal to mention TUSC and the biggest left-of-Labour election challenge for 60 years, but its political decision to concentrate on the European elections.
The BBC website carries items on the English Democrats, for example, contesting the Euros but only standing in 31 local council seats. Who decided that the Euro polls are more important?
Local councillors can vote to evict or not to evict people who cannot pay the bedroom tax; to shut down or keep open a local library or Sure Start centre - or, as in Doncaster, to hand over a wage-slashing contract to Care UK or to withdraw it.
Councils still have enormous powers to affect the daily lives of working class people. Councillors have the power to begin to tackle the housing crisis today, and not wait for a Labour government, by introducing rent caps now and using their borrowing powers to finance a council house building programme.
Electing MEPs, however: "can have a big impact on a party's mood and their leader's prospects ahead of the 2015 general election", the BBC tells us.
This infantilising approach to politics of the BBC's highly-paid leadership has one unintended positive side effect - it adds to the growing questioning of its authority, along with the other elite institutions in society and the tame 'mainstream' parties.
In The Socialist 7 May 2014:
Socialist Party election campaigning
Socialist Party feature
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reports and campaigns