The Audacity Of This Leaflet! Earlsdon Socialist Candidate Calls Out Labour Library Hypocrisy

Written by Adam Harmsworth, Socialist Party member and TUSC councillor candidate for Earlsdon Ward.

Thanks to Tory austerity passed on by the Labour council, Coventry’s libraries have faced closures, staff cuts, opening time cuts, funding cuts. Earlsdon library is one that had its funding cut, and Socialist Party members were part of the protests battling for it to remain open and fully funded.

Dozens of youth and library staff protest closures.

So. I’m quite surprised by the audacity of Labour’s Earlsdon leaflet, calling the library a ‘vital resource’ which has ‘done our community proud’.

I agree entirely, I just… wonder why a vital resource was subject to cuts and repeatedly had its future threatened over the past few years, by Labour?

The leaflet continues “Your local Labour team is focused on supporting the trustees”. Let’s remind Coventry Labour councillors of their record.

Labour’s Earlsdon leaflet, alleging their support for Earlsdon’s Library. Some audacity!

To quote from Coventry Telegraph directly: “In 2016 Coventry Council had given Earlsdon residents the option of running their own library voluntarily, or seeing it permanently shut” [read the article yourself here]

Then in July 2018 [yes less than three years ago!] the library nearly closed because the council demanded the former trustees cough up to lease the building back from the council! Even when a new group of volunteers got an agreement to keep things going, the article points out the severe lack of staffing and limited opening hours.

Sarah Smith, co-founder & full-time campaigner for Save Coventry Libraries, is TUSC candidate for Woodlands Ward for the 3rd time and has said the following:

“In January 2015, Coventry city council announced they were going to close every Library in Coventry.

Soon after this save Coventry Libraries campaign was formed by Sarah Smith, Nicki Downes & Jane Nellist. Since 2015, Save Coventry Libraries has been campaigning to save Libraries in Coventry. Unfortunately, the mobile service was scrapped. Arena Park Library was closed Earlsdon, Finham & Cheylesmore Libraries have been handed over to volunteers.

When Earlsdon library was handed over to volunteers, it was closed continually for about a year, when it did open it was only open a few hours on a weekday, also lacked stock. The government nor local Council have done research into the impact or sustainability of Libraries run by volunteers/ community groups. As a Campaigner I have conducted my own research & found the average lifespan of a volunteer/community group led Libraries are around 18 months.

Of course some break the model but almost all are closed for long periods, lack stock & have safeguarding concerns for example the volunteers having to work alone & have to wear a rape alarm. Save Coventry Libraries will campaign not only save Libraries but its Librarians.”

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The 2016 protest in front of Earlsdon Library when its future was threatened.

Its bare-faced hypocrisy from the council.

Lets put it simply – Coventry Labour council doesn’t really care about Earlsdon library. Or any of the libraries they’ve slashed funding to while keeping tens of millions of pounds in reserves and doing nothing to oppose the cuts from central government.

That’s exactly why anti-cuts campaigners are standing in the May council election under the TUSC banner.

There might not be any major cuts this year, but the council refuses to reverse the damage that has been done. And won’t do anything to prevent more cuts.

We don’t need empty platitudes and already-broken promises for our public services, we need political action to push back the decade of cruel austerity.

As our election leaflet says:

This election is a chance to elect councillors who’ll take the fight to the Tories and bosses.

Falsely, Labour councils pretend they have no choice but to make cuts demanded by government.

Unlike Tory-lite Labour councillors, socialist councillors will resist austerity rather than pass on cuts.

We’d be a voice for local people against austerity, greedy landlords, privatisation and closures.

If councils put up a fight, setting no cuts budgets, they could force yet another Tory U-turn and win the funding our communities desperately need.

Working people need a voice, a party of our own. The Socialist Party is part of the Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition (TUSC) set up to enable trade unionists, community campaigners and socialists to stand together against the pro-austerity establishment parties. It is a beginning – a step towards the kind of party we need to deliver a socialist alternative to austerity.

Come to the TUSC Local Elections Conference!

The Covid crisis has revealed many things about our society – including how the vast wealth that exists in the UK can be drawn upon to serve public needs when sufficient pressure is applied.
The Tory government – despite being based on Thatcher’s ‘the free market rules’ ideology – has made U-turn after U-turn against the background of growing anger and public outcry.

So many things ridiculed before as impossible or not realistic have been enacted, even if sometimes in a limited and incomplete way. At the start of the spring lockdown the government, in effect, nationalised the railways and other forms of transport to keep the system going. Over the course of one weekend councils were instructed to provide accommodation for all those living on the streets.
Now, it is true, homelessness is rising again and private companies are still embedded in the transport system.
But nonetheless such measures have demonstrated that, when under pressure, even a government of the rich can be forced into making huge concessions in the interests of ordinary people.
And local councils could play a leading role in building that pressure – if there were councillors in them prepared to fight!

Labour leads over 120 councils, with a combined spending power greater than the state budgets of 16 EU countries.
But Starmer’s Labour cannot be trusted to stand up for ordinary people. That is why the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is preparing to stand across the UK this May in the many elections taking place.
Even one councillor in a local authority taking a stand, if they used their position in the council chamber to appeal to those outside, could give confidence to local trade unionists and community campaigners to fight.
A network of rebel councillors across the country could have an even bigger impact in fighting for what is needed to meet the Covid crisis.

Come to the TUSC local elections conference to be held on Zoom on Sunday 7 February to help organise a fightback at the ballot box this May – or whenever the elections take place.
Conference registration
You can register in advance for this meeting: http://bit.ly/TUSCconferenceregistration.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

You can also just login into the meeting on the day as usual but you will still be asked for registration details on entering the zoom meeting details.

So try and either pre-register or leave a few mins to fill out the online form.
Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82896595909?pwd=OVE5RjNmbjJJcG1vd0RxZ0JyQ2RkUT09
Meeting ID: 828 9659 5909
Passcode: 645766

Spread the word!
You can help build for the event, first by saying you are Going on our Facebook event: http://bit.ly/TUSCconf21
And then by inviting your friends and union and work colleagues, either on Facebook or by telling them about it.

A lot of people, especially trade unionists and young people, have been let down by Starmer’s Labour and are looking for a serious alternative.
We’re building that alternative in TUSC, and each extra attendee hearing from trade union and socialist representatives and learning how to get involved helps develop TUSC even further.

Peace and Justice Project article and Defend Corbyn Protest report

Since Jeremy Corbyn resigned as Labour leader, hundreds of thousands of people who supported him and his programme have had to question what the way forward is for socialist ideas. When Jeremy was suspended from Labour, this question rose to the fore again, and again when he launched the Peace and Justice Project.

Here you can find a response to the Peace and Justice Project by the Socialist Party’s General Secretary, Hannah Sell:

Peace and Justice Project – no way forward for socialism

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition is holding its Local Election Conference on Sunday 7th February 11am to 1:30pm. This will be a fantastic opportunity to hear about the electoral fight against Starmer’s new New Labour. Click here for the Facebook event – there is a link to register in the Description.

Not heard of TUSC? Click here to find out more!


Below is a report from the protest in Coventry after Corbyn’s suspension.

Coventry Corbyn Solidarity Protest: stay and fight, or a new workers party?

By Michael Morgan, Coventry Socialist Party

On Tuesday the 3rd of November members of Coventry Socialist Party attended a protest organised by Coventry Labour Left in solidarity with Jeremy Corbyn, following his suspension from the Labour Party. The protest was relatively small with around 30 in attendance, many of whom were members of left wing organisations involved.

Two approaches to the issue arose at the protest. All were in agreement that no, Jeremy Corbyn was not an anti-Semite, and that the capitalist media and the right wing of the Labour Party had led a concerted effort to smear him as such. Jeremy Corbyn was indeed one of the country’s most ardent fighters against racism.

However, some on the Labour left, as well as some from other left wing organisations that operate within the labour party, argued for their ‘stay and fight’ position. This included members of Coventry Labour Left, Zarah Sultana in the form of a message read on her behalf and others. These speakers argued that the Labour Party is a mass organ of the working class, and that the lefts best course of action would be to petition the general secretary of the party (right winger, Starmer backed David Evans) and even to vote in National Executive Committee elections to fight for Corbyn’s reinstatement!

The Socialist Party argues that these measures do not go nearly far enough. In effect this argument is one of continuing to feed the mouth that bit you. To plead to the functions of the Labour Party and its officialdom to right a wrong they committed regardless of the actual findings of the EHRC report or of the Labour party’s rules is a strategy doomed to fail; if Starmer cared for the rules Corbyn would still be in the party!

This is why the Socialist Party argues for a new workers’ party through the Trade Union Socialist Coalition, a political party made up of local campaigners, activists and trade unionists. Labour is not a party of the working class. Jeremy Corbyn presented a great opportunity to democratise the party’s structures, to institute mandatory reselection and to reform Labour councils like the one in Coventry, which charges SEND pupils up to £600 per year to get to school. Yet this opportunity was not taken, and at some point that goes from being a political mistake to being politically disastrous as Corbyn has seen.

We need real working people to take political control and believe this is better done through a mass workers’ party than through Starmer’s Labour. We spoke at the protest to outline this message and handed out leaflets and sold several papers to passers by who took an interest in our ideas. 


Help us bring the challenge to Starmer’s Labour and build a new mass workers’ party!

You might be thinking about joining the Socialist Party, and the best step towards that is clicking below for a sign up form.w

Or at the moment you might be more interested in helping real anti-cuts campaigners challenge pro-austerity Blairite councillors in the May elections. The best step towards that is supporting TUSC!

Coventry shows support for Windrush generation

Coventry shows support for Windrush generation

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The demonstration starting off from Friargate

Nearly 200 people marched from Friargate to Broadgate on Saturday 5th May in support of the ‘Windrush generation’.

Speakers attacked Tory government policy, most clearly expressed by Theresa May when Home Secretary in 2012 which aimed to “create a really hostile environment for illegal immigrants” and which resulted in appalling personal cases of detention and threatened deportation.

Coventry, it was noted, was built over the last century on a wave of different populations from Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and most recently Eastern Europe. In the case of the’ Windrush generation’ they were invited after the Second World War to come and work in transport, factories and especially the NHS – ironically the Tory Minister of Health at the beginning of the 1960s who invited thousands of Caribbean workers to come and train as nurses, was Enoch Powell!

Speakers explained that the root cause of discrimination and racism in the 60s, 80s, and today was always the same – a way of dividing working people so that the rich, the employers and Tory politicians could more easily get their own way.

Now that Amber Rudd has gone, Teresa May must go too. Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party must increase the pressure for an early general election so that the Tory policies of austerity and the “hostile environment” goes too. We need a new government, prepared to act in the interests of working people, which would reverse the acts which led to the detentions and deportations, end all racist immigration controls, and clear up the question of citizenship in the favour of the ‘Windrush generation’ now.

We will be posting pictures from this protest on our Facebook page over the next few days.

Thank you to all Socialist voters in Coventry

Thank you to all Socialist voters in Coventry

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The Socialist Party in Coventry would like to extend a big thank you to everyone who went out and voted for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition in the local elections on Thursday. Across the five wards where we stood, we received a total of 795 votes. You can see the results for all wards on the website of Coventry City Council. We will post analysis of the national situation once all results are in.

We would particularly like to thank all members and supporters who took part in our campaign and who worked hard on election day to put forward anti austerity and socialist policies.

We urge people who voted Socialist to consider how you can help build the socialist voice in the future battles that are going to take place against the Tory government and their system. We are active throughout the year in fighting back against austerity, the housing crisis, in defence of the NHS and much more whilst putting forward a socialist response to the crisis of capitalism.

Fill in the form below to get involved!

Vote Socialist on Thursday – a message from Dave Nellist

Vote Socialist on Thursday – a message from Dave Nellist

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In the local elections due to take place on Thursday 3rd May, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) are standing in 5 seats in Coventry. We have outlined previously our reasons for standing. We carry this message from Dave Nellist, who is our candidate in St Michael’s ward. We also urge support for the TUSC candidates in the 4 other wards – Dave Anderson (Radford), Isla Windsor (Sherbourne), Michael Morgan (Henley) and Rob McArdle (Lower Stoke).

If you are intending to vote for TUSC, want to get involved in our campaigns or join the fight for socialism, please fill in the form at the bottom.


We need a Coventry that works for ordinary people, not the property developers and landlords!

While tax havens are protected, your hospitals, schools and local services are under the gravest threat ever from this government that only cares for the rich.

Yet Coventry’s Labour Council offer no resistance to the Tory diktats to cut and privatise. Instead they dutifully pass on the cuts – this year they are raising Council Tax by nearly 5% whilst cutting our services! The Council have done little or nothing to stand up to the  government.

The Council put the corporate interests of the University,  landlords and developers ahead of local people whilst students are pushed in to even more debt through sky high rents – for the ‘crime’ of wanting an education.

It is a disgrace that so many people find it so hard to get decent housing in our city whilst massive profits are made by the few.

Jeremy Corbyn rightly says  austerity isn’t a necessity, but a political choice, and our Council keeps making the wrong choices. TUSC will vote against cuts and defend your services.

We need a council that defends working class people in Coventry

Labour councillors are saying that they have ‘opposed government austerity measures’ – what they have actually done is cut over 1,000 jobs, increased charges for school transport for children with disabilities and are planning attacks on their own workforce and much more.

We need councillors to oppose austerity not in words but in deeds. The Tory government is weak – we can win back the money stolen from our city , but that won’t be done if the Council keeps making cuts!

Capitalist austerity is causing misery for tens of  thousands in our city, so please help us save services from this government.

Please vote Socialist on Thursday and help us build real opposition to austerity and the system that breeds it.

Let us know if you are voting Socialist, want to get involved or join our movement!

 

 

 

Coventry Council “threatens closure” of volunteer-run Earlsdon Library

Coventry Council “threatens closure” of volunteer-run Earlsdon Library

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Protesters outside Earlsdon Library

We are pleased to publish the below article by Sarah Smith, a campaigner from Save Coventry Libraries.

Coventry has been given the title of ‘City of Culture’ – but how will the closure of libraries square with this image? Now it seems the time is up for Earlsdon Library, just seven months after being handed over to the volunteers who run it in place of paid workers.

A volunteer has just been notified that Earlsdon Library Friends can “no longer work in partnership with the Council to keep the library open”. Since September 2017, Earlsdon, Finham, and Cheylesmore libraries have all been run by volunteers.

The average lifespan of a volunteer led library is around 18 months, with a handful of exceptions. The library at Arena Park has already been closed, and the possible closure of Earlsdon library is a disgrace!

Labour locally say they are fighting austerity, but the example of Earlsdon library shows that passing on Tory cuts is not combating austerity, it is enforcing it.

Coventry Socialist Party, along with campaign group Save Coventry Libraries, maintain that the Labour council should bring back all libraries under Local Authority control, with paid and fully trained staff.

If you live in Henley, Radford, St Michaels, Lower Stoke or Sherbourne wards, please consider voting for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition on May 3rd, and getting involved in the fight against the cuts.

Coventry Socialists join protest against increased charges for children’s disability transport

Coventry Socialists join protest against increased charges for children’s disability transport

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Refused and charged for transport

Earlier this week a protest took place outside the council house in Coventry. Michael Morgan, who will be standing for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition in Henley ward, has written this report.


Under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn it is fantastic and indeed very positive that we now have a Labour leader talking about anti austerity policies against the continued cuts of the Conservative government.

Unfortunately this is not yet translating to a fightback against austerity at a local level with Labour councillors carrying on as before. In this case they are planning to charge disabled children’s families up to £600 for transport services to school once they are 16 years old.

This is at the same time as the council holds reserves of over £100 million! They still prefer to pursue what some have labelled vanity projects, such as buying Coombe Abbey Hotel, than to effectively oppose Tory cuts. They then continue to claim that they must increase council tax, that they must charge the families of children with disabilities for the ability to travel and receive an education, and to claim that they must ‘save’ money.

The Socialist Party and the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) argues that if the council can afford to buy a hotel, then they can surely afford to give disabled children the opportunity to get their education, and not to be charged for it.

The Socialist Party is standing several TUSC candidates on the 3rd of May in Coventry to oppose policies such as this. In particular we are standing against cabinet member Kevin Maton in Henley, who is behind the charges. Local Conservative councillors and activists have attended protests organised by the campaign against these charges – however it is highly hypocritical when you look at what the Tory government is doing to working class people, particularly those with disabilities. It is incongruous for Tories to campaign for the rights of disabled people on a local level when the Tory party leadership are making it harder for people with disabilities to receive benefits.

The parents of the campaign have done a great job in organising and arguing their case, including mounting a legal challenge to the council – as they believe the proposed charges are age discriminatory. The Socialist Party will continue to raise this issue in our local election campaign and continue to support the campaign until the council stops these discriminatory charges.

Socialists and the 2018 Local Elections in Coventry

Socialists and the 2018 Local Elections in Coventry

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Socialists with the local community prevent bedroom tax eviction in Charterhouse

May 3rd will see local elections take place in Coventry, with 18 seats (one third of the council) being contested.

Nationally the Tories continue to show that they are not “strong and stable” but weak and wobbly. The 2017 general election called by Theresa May was supposed to follow the Conservative script  – an increased majority for May, with Corbyn’s Labour suffering. The actual results were very different. We predicted that Corbyn’s anti austerity policies would be popular despite the constant sabotage of the Labour right wing. The outcome showed that working class people are looking for change – not surprising given year after year of austerity cuts.

Unfortunately Corbyn’s anti austerity leadership has not yet been reflected in Labour Councils across the country, and Coventry is no exception.

We have outlined previously how we think the council should be opposing the cuts by refusing to pass on Tory austerity and campaigning to win back money stolen from Coventry by central government, a strategy which has obtained support at a national level within the local government trade unions as well as union branches locally. Sadly, instead of using some of the substantial reserves (which have now risen to over £100 million since 2010) to fund services and hold down council tax whilst a campaign is built, they have chosen to reduce library services, increase charges for children’s disability transport and made cuts to community centres and adult education. Coventry is suffering massively from the crisis of capitalism – we need public representatives who are going to help organise resistance to these attacks.

In recent elections the Socialist Party, as part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, has stood widely across the city, including standing in all 18 wards. We wanted to ensure that there was an anti austerity and socialist voice when both of the main parties offered more of the same, pro cuts pro big business polices – this stance being supported by several thousand votes across the city. In the 2017 general election we took the decision not to stand in order to support Jeremy’s battle against the Tories – we distributed over 15,000 leaflets outlining why the Socialist Party supported Corbyn’s policies, and why they needed to be extended further.

In 2018 we recognise that Jeremy Corbyn is attempting to build on his anti austerity message at a time when the Tories are on the ropes. Therefore we will not be contesting all wards, but will be standing in 5 – St Michaels, Radford, Lower Stoke, Henley and Sherbourne.

Whilst recognising Jeremy’s position and so standing in fewer seats, we are continuing to fight austerity and the capitalist crisis using every opportunity we have, whether that’s taking part in campaigns to save the NHS and other key services, helping to build stronger, more militant unions, or standing in elections.

We will be continuing to put forward the idea that councillors do have a choice to oppose the cuts, both in the council chamber and on the streets, and that working class people should not pay for the capitalist crisis. Given the latest increase in PFI car parking charges at Walsgrave we will continue to call for these Profit from Illness schemes to be scrapped.

We will be arguing that to end the situation where thousands of Coventry kids are living in poverty we will need to create a socialist society that puts ordinary people before profit. A socialist society that through public ownership of the key sectors of the economy including the banks, can plan the enormous resources that exist for the benefit of the majority.

We urge you to support our candidates in the wards where we are standing, attend our public meeting, help our campaign by for example making a donation, putting up a poster or volunteering to distribute leaflets. We also would encourage you to think about joining the Socialist Party – help us build a mass socialist movement armed with the policies that can defeat capitalism once and for all.

Public Meeting 

Council cuts, Corbyn and the Tories – how can we fight back?

Tuesday 24th April, 7.30pm

Methodist Central Wall, Warwick Lane, Coventry.

Please fill in the form below to get involved!

 

 

An election day message from Dave Nellist and Coventry Socialist Party

An election day message from Dave Nellist and Coventry Socialist Party

Dave Nellist

Dave Nellist, National Chair of TUSC

The last time I voted Labour in a general election was thirty years ago, in 1987.  I was expelled by the party just before the 1992 election for refusing to back down in my opposition to the Poll Tax and for refusing to disassociate myself from those in the Militant who were the main (and successful) organisers against it.

Seven years ago I helped co-found, with Bob Crow, the late elected leader of the transport union the RMT, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition because you couldn’t get a cigarette paper between the any of main political parties.  All stood for making ordinary people pay for the recession of 2008 triggered by the gambling and speculation of the banks.

Well now, in this election, you can tell the difference between the Labour and the Tory leaders.

Putting my old backbench colleague Jeremy Corbyn into No. 10 Downing Street today would make a major change to so many people’s lives in Coventry.

If Jeremy wins today thousands of 17 and 18 year olds in our city could wake up tomorrow morning knowing they could go to university in September without the fear of a £50,000 debt at the end of three years – and with an acceleration of housebuilding, they could look with more confidence at having their own home in the future.

People in low-paid work could look forward to a 50% pay rise, as the national minimum wage is raised to a more decent level of £10 an hour.

Health workers, teachers, police and council workers – in fact all in the public sector – could look forward to an actual pay rise as Labour has promised to scrap the 1% cap on public sector pay increases, which has been in place for the last five years whilst inflation has eroded the real value of that pay.

And some workers at Walsgrave Hospital, paying hundreds of pounds a year to park at work, could benefit by another pay rise when hospital car parking charges are scrapped –and many thousands of familes would be freed from a charge to visit sick relatives or friends.

Those and many other changes – for example ending the cuts in education and health, giving the public ownership again of rail, mail, water and parts of the energy industries –  could give a glimpse of a different way of running society, the first steps in a socialist direction.

And it wouldn’t be ordinary people paying the price, rich corporations and the richest 5% in the country would have to shoulder more of the burden they’ve escaped in recent years – their taxes would go up, but not for the 95% majority.

So voting Labour in Coventry could make a huge difference today; and I’ve not been able to say that for thirty years.

Now that’s not to say I agree with everything Labour’s doing.  I think they were wrong not to support Scottish independence linked to a socialist programme (and they have lost 50 seats because of it); they were wrong not to stand in the traditions of Tony Benn and Bob Crow and argue for a socialist Brexit last June; they should be promising an end to all council cuts for example in libraries, youth clubs and community centres; and I certainly don’t support spending £200 billion over the next 30 years on a replacement to the Trident nuclear missile system.

But Teresa May and the Tories stand for more austerity – Jeremy Corbyn would challenge that.

Teresa May and the Tories stand for low pay, student debts, housing shortages and worsening health and education – Jeremy Corbyn would challenge that.

Teresa May and the Tories would let rich individuals like Richard Branson and wealthy corporations own our essential public services, such as rail, mail, water and energy – Jeremy Corbyn would challenge that.

But for Jeremy’s challenges to succeed – when the whole of the press, media and Establishment would try to undermine his efforts – he’s going to need more help even than your vote today.

Just like we’ve marched on the streets to defend the NHS or oppose the war in Iraq, we’re going to have to organise to defend Jeremy if he gets into No. 10 from the powerful rich vested interests that don’t want you to have free health and education, higher wages and more secure employment, decent homes and a future to look forward to – if it means their profits and rich lifestyles have to pay for it.

We need to build a powerful socialist organisation in Britain that can take the fight for a new socialist society forward, whoever wins on June 8th. The Socialist Party is trying to do that.

So, vote Labour in Coventry today, and let’s get Jeremy into No. 10.  And join us in the Socialist Party to fight for a socialist future. Fill in the form below!

We are holding a public meeting to do discuss the election results and how we can continue the fight on Tuesday 13th June, 7.30pm at Methodist Hall, Coventry City Centre, CV1 2HA. The Facebook event is here.