City Independents take Springfields and Trent Vale from Labour

In a shock result which rendered the previously vociferous Labour Twitterati silent last night, City Independent candidate Jackie Barnes won the Springfields and Trent Vale by-election.

The seat formerly held by Sarah Hill until her resignation from the cabinet & the city council was thought to be a safe Labour seat. Continue reading

500 words from Matthew Wright TUSC candidate for Springfields & Trent Vale

Matthew Wright will be standing as a Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition candidate for the Springfields & Trent Vale by-election on the following 5 point programme-

1. Oppose all cuts to council jobs, services, pay and conditions – we reject the claim that ‘some cuts’ are necessary to our services.

2. Reject increases in council tax, rent and service charges to compensate for government cuts.

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Socialist Party announce Matthew Wright as their candidate for Springfields & Trent Vale by-election

The Stoke-on-Trent branch of the Socialist Party have announced Matthew Wright as their candidate in the Springfields and Trent Vale by- election.

Matthew says

Labour councillors in Stoke are passing on £24 million in cuts on top of last years £35.6 Million without much more than a whimper. If elected I’d be a voice in the council chamber for all those who have been affected by these cuts and want to fight back.

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Eye Spy the By-election

So the by-election has finally been called for the vacancy for Office of Councillor for the Springfields and Trent Vale ward, it’s only taken since 27 April. So now the ballot boxes are being broken out and just in the nick of time… frustrated residents in Springfields & Trent Vale are already starting to petition the council over local issues, having begun to feel the effects of no local representation for the last few months.

Despite having more councillors than they know what to do with, Labour have not fallen over themselves to ensure residents have felt looked after, which is perhaps why there are rumblings that this by-election may see upwards of 8 candidates all vying to fix the numerous potholes and clear the litter on the yellow brick road from Trent Vale to Stoke. Hardly a ringing endorsement of previous incumbents…

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Inside the civic

The big news this week, as hinted in my last column, was the resignation of Deputy Lord Mayor Khan as he prepares to once again face the Standards Committee. This is certainly an honourable decision, however why it took so long (and a Labour group meeting) to convince Khan to resign perhaps signifies how unaware certain councillors are about what the public think of their conduct. Continue reading

500 Words From Liat Norris

As a student at Staffordshire University, an officer at the Students’ Union and someone who has lived in Stoke all my life, I feel a great commitment to students, Shelton and to Stoke as a whole.

Through the two colleges and the university, students make up a large number of the residents in Shelton and use the area daily. It is important that these students have a voice both in the ward and on the council. So if elected, along with working with the local community, I will make sure to work with the various Students’ Unions to ensure that all parts of the community are represented and to make sure that the experiences of students in the area is a positive one.

Government and council cuts must be opposed

Students nationally have shown opposition to the cuts being made both in education and wider public services through the student demonstrations at the end of last year; however there has also been student opposition to cuts locally. Whenever North Staffs Against Cuts has organised a protest against the cuts; I, alongside other officers at Staffordshire University Students’ Union, have rallied students, from both the university and the colleges, to come down to oppose the attacks on public services being spinelessly passed through by the Labour, Tory and Lib Dem cuts coalition.

A quarter of Staffs University students come from North Staffordshire and others live here for only three years but they all care about the attacks being made to the local community, and I want to give them an opportunity to vote for someone who will fight the attacks ““ to provide an alternative to the pro-cuts platform being put forward by the Tory, Labour and Lib Dem candidates also asking for your votes in Shelton.

We need councillors who will fight against the cuts

If elected, as with all other Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts candidates, I will vote against all cuts being passed on by the government, and will propose an alternative needs budget, based on the needs of the people of Stoke-on-Trent, rather than accepting the draconian austerity measures being forced on us by the government.

From threatening the closure of Thomas Boughey Children’s Centre (the Children’s Centres which Labour laughably claim to have saved despite both putting them under threat and cutting their funding by £2.25 million), closing the vital Shelton Pool, to allowing the lifeline that is EMA to be removed from working class youth in the city ““ the Labour, Tory and Lib Dem cuts coalition has passed on disgraceful attacks to our public services. This can’t be allowed to continue, and if elected I will vote against them and fight to defend people in Shelton and across the city from further attacks.

On the 5th May in this ward there is a clear choice ““ to vote for the three pro-cuts parties; or vote against cuts by voting for the Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts.

500 Words from Matt Wright

I can remember saying during my stint as a TUSC candidate in the general election last year that no matter which of the 3 main pro-capitalist, pro-big business parties won the election, we would be paying for the bail out of the banking system with our jobs, services and living standards.

Fast-forward 12 months and we have the spectacle of a Labour council- a Labour council (!) passing on Tory cuts with only token resistance. It’s a scene that is being repeated across the country.

A week after Stoke council voted through £36m in cuts it came to light that the council had, in fact, over £60m stashed away in reserves. Instead of using some of this money to stop cuts in jobs and services they are using over £20m of it in redundancy pay outs to staff. It’s true that Community Voice and the BNP voted against the cuts, but where was their alternative budget?

So what would I do?

I will be fighting cuts and privatisation tooth and nail. But opposition in words is not enough, neither is simply voting against cuts. What I will do is propose alternatives to cuts and privatisation.

I would propose that we -

* Set a ‘needs budget’ that would take in to account what we NEED as a city, not just what we can afford from the measly government handouts.

* Use a combination of council reserves and prudential borrowing powers to stop, and even reverse the spending cuts inflicted on the city.

* Launch a massive campaign across the city to demand more money from the government, that links up with trade unions, community groups and communities.

I will also be demanding that the council -

* Embarks on a huge program of building council houses to relieve our massive social housing waiting lists and create jobs.

* Call in any decision by local NHS trusts to make redundancies as a result of ‘over spending’ or funding cuts.

* Bring as many of the privatised council services back ‘in house’ to stop our council tax lining the pockets of big business.

Say it can’t be done?

Take a look at the example of Liverpool city council in the 80′s. They launched a similar campaign against Thatcher’s government and won the equivalent of £60m back and built over 5000 houses, 5 leisure centres and created 2000 jobs in the process.

More information here-

http://www.liverpool47.org/legacy/legacy.htm

I’ve been involved in many campaigns over the last 6 years or so. I’ve been fighting back against the low wages, privatisations, cuts and wars imposed on us by the last Labour government. I have also been supporting and building support for workers across the city who were taking strike action against these attacks. I’m also organiser for North Staffs Against Cuts which has been instrumental in building the anti-cuts movement in north Staffs. Whether I’m elected or not I will continue to fight in the interests of working class people across the city.

500 Words From Matthew Wright TUSC Candidate For Stoke-on-Trent Central


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**Archive Story From 2010 Election**
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Cameron, Clegg and Brown have been doing their best to hide their main policy
““ to carry out savage attacks on public sector jobs and services, to continue sacrificing the lives of young soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan and talking up a capitalist market system that’s created mass unemployment,
job insecurity and a desperate future for millions.
Meanwhile Stoke Socialist Party and Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition (TUSC) supporters have been busy building support for our General Election candidate in Stoke Central ““ Matt Wright. If elected, Matt will not take the full £65,000 MP’s salary but the average wage of workers in Stoke-on-Trent and demand that other MP’s do the same.

But, as an MP, Matt would also use his position to oppose all the attacks being made on ordinary working class people. We already have three main parties who represent the interests of big business and the rich. We need MP’s who fight for us ““ for the millions not the millionaires!

While Brown, Clegg and Cameron and their army of advisers are thinking up catchy sound bites for the media and squabbling with each other we have been busy actually speaking to THOUSANDS of people locally on the streets and
doorsteps.

More than 3,000 have now signed our petition (Ninety five per cent of those we spoke to) to get Matt elected as a Workers MP on a Workers Wage.

Matt Wright lives in Stoke-on-Trent and is from the city. He is a 26 year old Health worker, also a student and as the TUSC candidate has clear policies that would benefit the overwhelming majority of people in the city. They include;

PUBLIC OWNERSHIP, NOT PRIVATISED PROFIT
Stop all privatisation, including the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) and Public-Private Partnerships (PPP), and the immoral privatisation of prisons. Bring privatised public services and utilities back into public ownership
under democratic control.

NO CUTS – QUALITY PUBLIC SERVICES
Take rail back into public ownership and build an integrated, low-pollution public transport system.
For a high-quality, free National Health Service under democratic public ownership and control.
Stop council estate sell-offs and build eco-friendly, affordable public housing.
Good, free education for all, under democratic local authority control;
student grants not fees.
Keep Royal Mail as a publicly-owned service, not a privatised cash cow.

JOBS, NOT HANDOUTS TO BANKERS & BILLIONAIRES
Bring banks and finance institutions into genuine public ownership under democratic control, instead of giving huge handouts to the very capitalists who caused the crisis.
Tax the rich. For progressive tax on rich corporations and individuals, with a crackdown on tax avoidance.
For massive investment in environmental projects.

EMPLOYMENT & TRADE UNION RIGHTS
Repeal the anti-trade union laws.
A minimum wage set at half average adult male earnings, with no exemptions.
Invest to create and protect jobs, including for young people.
Solidarity with workers taking action to defend jobs, conditions, pensions, public services and trade unions. Reinstate full trade union rights to prison officers.

You can find out more about the TUSC General Election campaign and the Stoke Socialist Party using the links below.

Finally; instead of the internal squabbling, name calling and tough talking we have had so far from candidates in Stoke Central we look forward to seeing their POLICIES.

Matthews agent send the most in-depth response to our request for 500 words, in fact it was almost double the size we asked for and has been shortened here. The text file has the full response should you wish to read it.

Brian Ward Confirms He Will Stand in Stoke Central In The General Election

Deputy Leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council Brian Ward has today confirmed that he will stand as an Independent Candidate in the upcoming General Elections

Ward, who is a Councillor for the Blurton Ward and is also the Leader of the City Independent Group is currently at a conference in Cannes in France on behalf of the City Council.

The principle reason for his decision to enter the contest is that he does not feel that the City’s 3 Labour MPs have delivered on behalf of the electorate.

He feels that the MPs often get involved in trivial matters that should be passed on to the Ward Councillors to allow the MPs the time to get on with important issues like attracting investment into the City and lobbying for more government funding to help make the City a better place.

Brian Ward joins an ever growing list of names contesting the seat fallowing Mark Fisher MP’s decision to stand down on health grounds.

Other confirmed candidates are Norsheen Bhatti [Conservative], John Redfern [Liberal Democrats], Alby Walker [Ind], Paul Breeze [Ind] Simon Darby [BNP], Matthew Wright [TUSC]. There will be an official candidate from the Labour Party and also a candidate from the National Front who has still to be named.

When asked for his reason for not contesting Stoke South he said that he had an agreement with Cllr Terry Follows not to contest the seat after Cllr Follows had helped in the Trentham High School Campaign.

He also claimed that party politics had ruined the City and in particular the Labour Party. He also feels that the infighting amongst the Stoke-on-Trent Central Labour Party will help his cause.