Nellist battles Farage over EU referendum

Nellist battles Farage over EU referendum

Dave Nellist

Dave Nellist, former Coventry Labour MP and National Chair of TUSC

The Coventry Telegraph recently carried a full page article by Simon Gilbert about the Socialist campaign, led by Dave Nellist, against the EU. Dave has also challenged UKIP leader and former banker Nigel Farage to a debate on the subject. Please read the article below and share!

Former Coventry MP Dave Nellist is taking on Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson in the race to lead the official “out” campaign in the run up to the European Union referendum.

Mr Nellist is fronting the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) campaign to leave the EU – a left-wing alternative to the Vote Leave campaign supported by Tory London mayor Mr Johnson and the Grassroots Out campaign backed by UKIP leader Mr Farage.

All three campaigns have submitted bids to the Electoral Commission who will decide on April 14 which will be chosen as the official campaign.

Ahead of the decision, Mr Nellist has challenged Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson to debate the issues around leaving the EU. Mr Nellist claims their campaigns can not be truly representative of the calls to leave due to what he perceives as vested interests with big businesses.

He said: “The Grassroots and Vote Leave campaigns, epitomised by Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson, are the Tory Party within business.

“Working class people and trade unions have different priorities. If EU constructs prevent a successful British economy for workers, we should be opposed to them.”

He added: “Before the Electoral Commission makes it decision, let’s have a public debate: Who should be the voice of leave?

“Trade unionists and socialists, or bankers, Tories and ex-Tories?

“They can choose the venue – we don’t have to hold it in Port Talbot, Scunthorpe or Redcar if they’re too afraid to venture out of London – but let’s have the debate and see who really represents those millions of working class voters who will vote leave on June 23.”

The rewards for the winning campaign include access to a grant of up to £600,000, an overall spending limit of £7m, campaign broadcasts, free mailshots and free access to meeting rooms.

That has led TUSC to threaten the Electoral Commission with legal action if party bosses feel its bid has not been taken seriously.

Mr Nellist said: “We never make hollow threats. We have a large range of legal talent.

“We will have to wait and see how the process goes. We applied to have a verbal hearing with the Electoral Commission to make our submission, but that was turned down.

“They are considering our paper application along with the other two campaigns.”

Asked if he understood there might be some surprise at left-wing campaign to leave the EU, Mr Nellist said there was a long-running history of socialist opposition to EU membership.

He said: “I led the no campaign in Coventry during 1975. The Labour Party was opposed to the EU until the mid 1980s.

“If Tony Benn and Bob Crow were still with us, they would have led a trade union out presence.”

He added: “The view of most union leaderships is to stay, not to leave. But there will be significant sections who are against it at times like when they see it’s not possible for the British government to nationalise the steel industry because EU legislation says that would be state aid.”

Asked if he thought TUSC would have the resources to effectively deliver a national out campaign, Mr Nellist said: “We are the sixth biggest party in Britain.

“We stand in 125 towns and cities. If we were designated as the leave campaign, with the £600,000 funding that would follow, we could design and deliver leaflets to the vast majority of homes in the country. We are capable of doing campaigns of that size.”

He added that the party planned to run a left wing exit campaign even if they were not chosen as the official voice of Brexit.

As Russell Brand prepares to take on Farage…time to build the fight for socialist revolution

As Russell Brand prepares to take on Farage…time to build the fight for socialist revolution!

Brand

Brand

Many people across the UK are waiting in eager anticipation for the battle between Russell Brand and Nigel Farage on Thursday night’s BBC Question Time programme (11 December).

Over the recent period Russell Brand has been an outspoken critic of austerity and the political establishment where all three parties, Tory, Labour and Lib Dem, believe ordinary people should pay for the crisis. The 99% suffer at the hands of global capitalism and the 1% at the top continue to prosper. Brand’s series of shows, ‘The Trews’, have become popular as an expression of anger against the system, while his book, simply titled ‘Revolution’, captures the growing mood for change in society.

Meanwhile Farage has falsely painted himself as an opponent of the same political establishment, which is rich considering he is of true right-wing banking stock and would carry out even worse austerity given half the chance. UKIP, despite how it portrays itself, is very much part of the capitalist system, and part of the problem. For example, its two new MPs were recruited from the Conservative Party!

Fire minister Penny Mordaunt is also on the Question Time panel; three days after the latest firefighters’ strike in defence of pensions see the following footage of the demonstration in Buckinghamshire to defend sacked firefighter Ricky Matthews.

However the debate pans out on Thursday night, the Socialist Party is dedicated to fighting for revolutionary change and putting working people in control. There are sufficient resources in Britain and worldwide for us all to lead much better and fulfilled lives but under the status quo it is in fact the outmoded capitalist system which is holding us back.

If you agree with Russell’s call for a revolution and want to fight for socialism we need to make sure it is not just a pipe dream but that collectively we make it a reality.

The time to act is now – The Revolution needs you! Join us in the Socialist Party and our sister parties worldwide in 45 countries as part of the Committee for a Workers’ International, and let us make it happen!

If you are interested in joining with us to build a revolutionary socialist force in Britain and across the globe fill in the form below and we will be in touch.

Help more people read this article, share on FB, Twitter, email etc!

FOR TWEETS:
#bbcqt
#TeamRussell
@rustyrockets
@Socialist_party
#TUSC

Former Labour councillor in Cheylesmore defects to UKIP

Former Labour councillor in Cheylesmore defects to UKIP

Former Labour councillor with his new UKIP colleagues. Picture from website of Coventry Telegraph

Former Labour councillor with his new UKIP colleagues. Picture from website of Coventry Telegraph

News came out today that Harjinder Singh Sehmi a former Labour Party councillor in Cheylesmore ward has joined Ukip. Whilst hardly on the scale of recent defections from the Tory Party, it once again raises the question of how best to combat Ukip. Below we reproduce an article from a recent issue of ‘The Socialist’ newspaper including comment from Dave Nellist, that outlines what we believe to be the best way to not only fight Ukip, but all of the austerity parties. If you agree, why not join us? Click here

Tories and Labour in crisis after Ukip win

By Claire Laker-Mansfield

Cameron and Miliband woke up on 10 October with a common sense of dread. Both their parties have been left reeling at the results of byelections in which Ukip has dealt them a hefty blow to the face. Both party leaders are now facing calls from some of their MPs to stand down before the 2015 general election.

For the Tory party, a landslide victory for their defector, Douglas Carswell (who won 60% of the vote), has no doubt left more backbenchers tempted to jump ship. But it’s perhaps Labour that has been the most visibly shocked. Ukip can no longer be written off as a ‘Tory problem’.

In Heywood and Middleton, a former Labour stronghold, Ukip came within inches of taking a seat. Just over 600 votes separated Farage’s party from a second (and potentially even more significant) victory.

These results have sent shivers down spines – including those of many ordinary workers and young people. But the three main parties all bear responsibility for the rising tide of the populist right. The trade union leaders who have held back from acting to build a new party have actually furthered this process. Five years of austerity have devastated the lives of already hard-pressed communities in Clacton and Heywood alike.

The cowardly ‘opposition’ of Miliband’s Labour offers nothing close to a coherent alternative, while competing with the Con-Dems over spending cuts.

Ukip enjoys playing on the fears of working class people – particularly those about immigration, while diverting blame over collapsing living standards from the bankers, big business and the super-rich. But underlying these fears is a deep sense of insecurity. It’s insecurity about jobs, stretched services, a race-to-the-bottom in pay and working conditions, and a dearth of (actually) affordable housing.

There is an overwhelming need for a new, mass party for the working class – a party which could offer people genuine hope.

Pro-cuts

This would be a party which, like 72% of Ukip’s voters, supports measures such as re-nationalising Britain’s railways. A party which, rather than aping the reactionary sentiments of ex-city slickers like Carswell, would offer an end to cuts and a minimum wage of £10 an hour; a party that would stand with workers as they fight to resist the onslaught and secure better wages and conditions.

The anti-establishment image that Ukip has worked so hard to adopt needs to be shattered. This is the same Ukip that helped organise a minuscule ‘pro-cuts’ rally designed to counter 2011’s trade union anti-austerity march, which attracted more than 500,000 people.

It’s the same Ukip whose deputy leader – Paul Nuttall – wrote in comments now deleted from his website that “the very existence of the NHS stifles competition”.

Ukip leader Nigel Farage may enjoy the odd pint but, as a privately educated ex-banker, his ordinary bloke act is pretty superficial. Ukip is a pro-cuts party for ‘the 1%’.

In the week following this humiliating by-election result for Labour, millions of workers were on strike against low pay. If Miliband had any backbone, he would respond to this electoral setback with bold support for the strikes, announce measures that would take some of the enormous wealth concentrated in the hands of the 0.1% super-rich and use it to fund wage increases, job creation and investment in our public services.

Instead of fighting for socialist policies to solve the economic and social crisis facing workers, Miliband and Labour continue to shift to the right and echo Ukip’s divide and rule, anti-immigrant agenda – the politics of despair.

Those who prefer the politics of hope should get involved with Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC – see below), and help build a vibrant, democratic, mass party based on struggle and the organisations of the working class – a real alternative.

‘We need a new party’

Dave Nellist

Dave Nellist

By Dave Nellist

In losing thousands of votes in the Heywood and Middleton byelection, Labour has nobody to blame but itself.

Labour has spent the last 20 years assuming working class voters had nowhere else to go, so their problems, and they themselves, could be safely ignored. That attitude lost Labour four million working class voters between 1997 and 2010.

Now Ukip is harnessing the anger of those who feel you can’t get a fag paper between the establishment parties, and that specifically Labour is part of the problem, not the solution.

But Ukip itself is not the answer. It’s run by a public school educated ex-banker, staffed by people who worship Mrs Thatcher, and funded by multimillionaires who think the Tories have gone soft.

We urgently need a new party, but one that is rooted in the communities and organisations of the working class, with a programme of socialist demands to answer working people’s problems.

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is helping to build such a new party. Visit http://www.tusc.org.uk