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From The Socialist newspaper, 17 March 2010

Coventry: Voters need socialist fighters - not service cutters

Dave Nellist at National Shop Stewards Network conference 2009, photo Suzanne Beishon

Dave Nellist at National Shop Stewards Network conference 2009, photo Suzanne Beishon

"You know Dave Nellist and the Socialists - they are the ones who stand up for people like us". This was the comment of a woman to her daughter at one of our recent campaign stalls, a sentiment that is more and more common among working class people across the city.

A Coventry Socialist Party member

The local and general elections are coming at a time when ordinary people across the country are being made to pay for a crisis not of their making - and Coventry is no exception. Once the home of household names such as Peugeot and Massey Fergusons, the city has been at the epicentre of the deindustrialisation of the UK economy. This is further typified by the announcement that Stadco, a car parts supplier could now close with the loss of 165 jobs - the company suffered greatly from the collapse of MG Rover.

With unemployment rates already high in the city, the biggest local employer, Coventry City Council, has announced it is looking to cut up to a quarter of its jobs. It was only the Socialist Party councillors who voted against a plan for 72 million worth of cuts over the next three years. This was proposed by the Tories and every Labour councillor supported it - saying there was no alternative.

Our two councillors, Rob Windsor and Dave Nellist, are the only public representatives on the council to consistently side with working people. We are saying to voters: The establishment parties have over 50 voices on the council - that's why we need to re-elect Rob!

Rob Windsor speaking at Socialist Party congress 2006, photo Paul Mattsson

Rob Windsor speaking at Socialist Party congress 2006, photo Paul Mattsson

Rob Windsor is standing for re-election in St Michael's ward - where he was first elected in 2000. With Dave Nellist, Rob has lead many campaigns both in the ward and on a city wide basis.

He is a key figure in the campaign against the use of private finance in the NHS, recently presenting a thousands-strong petition against the 2.7 million profit that was made on the car park at the city's Walsgrave Hospital.

While our local Labour MPs such as Bob Ainsworth and Geoffrey Robinson promoted the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) as 'the only game in town', we socialists campaigned against it, calling for a fully funded, publicly run health service.

We now see the results of PFI. Like a vampire only entering your house when invited, PFI can only get into the NHS if asked to, and it's the establishment parties that have this blood on their hands. Incredibly Labour councillors say they are 'concerned' about the hospital parking costs - shame none of them did anything about it!

Like many inner city, deprived areas, St Michael's has a high population turnover and Labour have attempted to use this to their advantage. When they say that 'only Labour can stop the Tories in St Michael's', they are relying on new people not being aware that the Tories have no chance of winning, and that there are socialists elected in the area.

As well as the Socialist Party defending Rob's council seat in St Michael's, Dave Nellist will be standing in Coventry North East constituency in the general election. What a contrast there is between Dave Nellist, pledging to be a worker's MP on a workers' wage, and the Coventry North East incumbent, lavish expenses-claiming, warmongering Secretary of Defence, Bob Ainsworth.

Also, we will be launching an extended challenge in the local elections and in the other parliamentary seats in the city, with all our candidates seeking to be part of the recently formed Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).

We have gained the respect of thousands of working class people in the city, with our consistent campaigning on dozens of issues such as the war in Gaza, PFI, council cuts, and privatisation. We received official thanks from the PCS and TSSA unions for supporting their recent strikes, and helping to organise solidarity.

Coventry voters will have a clear choice - more of the same and worse, or a fighting socialist opposition to the economic crisis and the establishment parties.

See for more information

Public meeting

Hear Bob Crow and Dave Nellist launch the socialist challenge in the general and local elections -

Sunday 28th March, 3pm, Concert Room, Charterhouse Club, David Road, Coventry.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 17 March 2010:

BA workers, civil servants: Defending jobs and conditions

Socialist Party workplace news and analysis

Support British Airways cabin crew

PCS Budget Day action

'Winners' and losers in Royal Mail deal

Workplace news in brief

The state

State infiltration - a warning to the workers' movement

Youth fight for jobs

Youth Fight for Jobs day of action

Unison witchhunt

Unison leadership's "scorched earth policy"

Socialist Party news and analysis

Coventry: Voters need socialist fighters - not service cutters

Free the Tamil refugees

Tube Lines: Another fine mess

News in brief

Socialist Students

Defend higher education

Defending public education in the USA

International socialist news and analysis

Another general strike brings Greece to a halt

Socialist Party inteview

Iceland: 93% reject bankers' bailout

Marxist analysis: history

Thatcher's enemy within: 25 years after the end of the miners' strike

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Workplace news and analysis

Surrey workers fight cuts

Fighting the cuts at Leeds University

Unite to save Northcott Theatre

Socialist Party feature

Cuts mean poorest people priced out of the legal system


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