A hustings debate in the North East erupted into a full scale row between organisers and supporters of a party which said it had been unfairly excluded from the event.
It took place at Tyne Metropolitan College in Wallsend on Tuesday night in which candidates from the Labour, Conservative, Lib Dem, Green and UKIP parties for the North Tyneside constituency had been invited to share a stage.
However Tim Wall, who is the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition candidate, was not.
Before the debate started TUSC supporters entered the hall to take organisers to task for the omission in an exchange that was filmed.
On it, Mr Wall is seen sitting in one of the seats reserved for those who had been invited, introducing himself to the slightly bemused audience and telling them: “I have a democratic right to take part.”
However, chairman of TyneMet College board of governors, Bill Midgley, is seen firmly telling him: “No you have not.”
Mr Midgley said before the event advice had been from the Association of Colleges (AoC) and they were told they should invite candidates from the three main parties as well as UKIP and the Greens as they all have MPs in parliament.
He added they were also following Electoral Commission guidelines which said it was a requirement that all candidates standing for a constituency should take part unless there was a practical or objective reason not to do.
Mr Midgley said their objective reason had been that they were following AoC guidelines, which said only parties with sitting MPs should attend.
He said that the National Front candidate for the constituency also had not been invited, a link which infuriated the TUSC supporters.
“How dare they tar us with the same brush as a race hate party when we have fought so hard against racism,” said Mr Wall after the event.
Eventually the debate went ahead, without Mr Wall taking part.
However he now says he could take the matter up with the Electoral Commission.
“We feel we were undemocratically excluded from the event.
“TUSC candidates have been invited to take part in hustings events at colleges across the country but not here. It seems to me they are all over the place.”
Mr Wall said that while a new party, formed five years ago, the TUSC was “the biggest of the small parties” as it had candidates standing in 135 constituencies and 600 in the local elections.
Mr Wall said:
“It’s unfathomable what they did. Isn’t this organisation supposed to be educating young people, presumably giving them the idea that democracy is a good thing? Instead they are deciding who they can and can’t listen to.”
Speaking after the event Mr Midgley accused the TUSC of trying to “hijack” the meeting and was adamant they had done nothing wrong and was insistent they had abided by AoC and Electoral Commission guidelines.
“We made it quite clear to them why we had invited the five candidates,” he said.
Ann Marie Crozier, Deputy Principal of the college, said it was TUSC’s prerogative to take the matter up with the Electorial Commission it they wanted to.
However she added: “We’re confident we followed the national guidelines to the letter.”
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 23 Apr 2015
Fast food outlets are treating employees like slaves, according to campaigners.
A global day of action saw people across the world take to the streets to highlight the plight of workers in the fast food industry, many of whom are on zero hour contracts.
Campaigners in the UK were largely organised by the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) who are calling for a £10 hourly minimum wage and the scrapping of zero hour contracts for those working at outlets like McDonalds, Burger King and KFC.
In Darlington, protestors from BFAWU and Darlington Against Cuts manned a stall close to McDonalds on Northgate and encouraged passersby to take up the fight against “slave labour”.
BFAWU representative Alan Milne said: “Zero hour contracts are going back to the dark ages.
“Fast food workers can go to work and be sent home with no pay despite paying expenses to get there or arranging child care.
“It’s fundamentally wrong and harks back to the shipyard days when people would stand outside waiting for work – it’s disgusting and needs to change.”
A former zero hours worker said:
“I worked in Darlington on a zero hour contract and had my work cut from 40 hours a week to 18.
“It’s slave labour – what’s next, work camps?”
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) representative Alan Docherty called on workers to fight back.
“People are locked in these contracts as they rely on the money but they’re scared to speak out as if you upset your boss, you won’t get the hours.
“The only way to combat this is to get organised and fight back.”
Source – Northern Echo, 16 Apr 2015
SOUTH SHIELDS currently held by Emma Lewell-Buck (Lab)
Emma Lewell-Buck (Labour),
Gita Gordon (Liberal Democrat),
Shirley Ford (Green Party),
Lisa Nightingale (Independent),
Robert Oliver (Conservative)
Norman Dennis (Ukip).
JARROW – currently held by Stephen Hepburn (Lab)
Stephen Hepburn (Labour),
Stan Collins (Liberal Democrat),
Norman Hall (Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition),
Nick Mason (Conservative),
Steve Harrison (Ukip),
David Herbert (Green Party).
Houghton and Sunderland South: currently held by Bridget Phillipson (Labour)
Richard Peter Elvin (Ukip),
Stewart Thomas Hay (Con),
Jim Murray (LD),
Bridget Maeve Phillipson (Lab),
Alan Michael David Robinson (Green).
Sunderland Central: currently held by Julie Elliott (Labour)
Julie Elliott (Lab),
Rachel Sara Featherstone (Green),
Bryan George Foster (Ukip),
Adrian Page (LD),
Jeffrey Guy Townsend (Con),
Joseph Young (Ind).
Washington and Sunderland West: currently held by Sharon Hodgson (Labour)
Aileen Casey (Ukip),
Bob Dhillon (Con),
Gary Stephen Duncan (TUSC),
Dominic John Haney (LD),
Sharon Hodgson (Lab),
Anthony Murphy (Green).
> Interesting to see that Gary Duncan has found (yet another) new home. It seems no time since he was a pround member of Respect. And before that, the SWP.
North Tyneside constituency, currently held by Labour’s Mary Glindon
• John Christopher Appleby, Liberal Democrat;
• Bob Batten, National Front;
• Martin William Collins, Green Party;
• Mary Theresa Glindon, Labour Party;
• Scott Alan Hartley, UK Independence Party (UKIP);
• Martin Terence McGann, Conservative Party;
• Tim Wall, Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition.
Tynemouth constituency, currently held by Labour’s Alan Campbell
• Alan Campbell, Labour Party;
• Julia Anne Erskine, Green Party;
• Glenn Anthony Hall, Conservative Party;
• Gary Matthew Legg, UK Independence Party (UKIP);
• John Paton-Day, Liberal Democrat.
Fast food workers will be calling for an end to zero hours contracts at a protest next week.
The Darlington Trade Union Council (TUC) is backing a global day of action on Wednesday, April 15 in support of fast food workers across the country.
Organised by the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union, the protest will see fast food workers calling for a £10 per hour minimum wage, and an end to zero hours contracts.
The action is also being supported by the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).
Alan Docherty, the party’s parliamentary candidate in Darlington, said:
“The message is clear – join a union and get organised.
“In the USA fast food workers have organised successful strikes and won. Members of my party have been instrumental in winning victories that have brought about a $15(£10) per hour minimum wage.
“This was first enacted into legislation in Seattle and now several more cities and states have followed. We can do the same here.”
The protest will take place outside Queen Street Shopping Centre from noon.
Source – Northern Echo, 08 Apr 2015
A UK Independence Party politician is hoping for a winning double in South Tyneside at May’s local and general elections.
Former borough councillor Steve Harrison has already announced his intention to stand as a Parliamentary candidate for Jarrow.
He is also seeking election as a councillor in the borough’s Monkton ward, including the Lukes Lane Estate, where he used to live.
Mr Harrison formerly represented the Hedworth and Fellgate ward in Jarrow, originally as an independent and later for Ukip.
Mr Harrison said:
“I don’t feel the current MP is responsive enough to the town’s public on local issues.
“His concentration seems to be all about Westminster, and he doesn’t challenge the Labour council enough over decisions it makes.
“If I’m elected, I would spend three days in the town and in the ward dealing with issues on the ground.
“I would also open an office in the town centre which would be manned six days a week, from 9am to 5pm, where people can go and have their problems dealt with.
“There are a lot of issues in Monkton that need to be addressed.
“The bus service in Lukes Lane is non-existent. People have been left high and dry.
“The roads and footpaths are a big issue.
“There’s a view that all the spending goes to South Shields.
“A lack of parking spaces, fly-tipping and rubbish generally are also issues that need to be addressed urgently.
“I have lived on Lukes Lane twice. I grew up there and lived there when I got married. I still have family and friends there, and I know the area well.”
Mr Harrison said he had no concerns over any potential conflict of interest in standing as both prospective MP and councillor.
“I have checked out the rules, and there is not problem with standing for both. It’s not unique. It’s a chance to bring Westminster into local politics.”
> Also a chance to claim two incomes, two sets of expenses, etc.
Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn was unavailable for comment about Mr Harrison’s criticisms.
The other candidates standing in the Jarrow Parliamentary constituency election on Thursday, May 7, are Stan Collins (Lib Dem), Norman Hall (Trade Union Socialist Coalition), Nick Mason (Conservative) and David Herbert (Green).
Source – Shields Gazette, 25 Mar 2015
MPs should be content with pay packets a third of the size of those they get now, according to a socialist bidding to become Jarrow’s next representative at Westminster.
Norman Hall thinks it’s outrageous that our Parliamentarians are set to receive salaries of £75,000.
The semi-retired software engineer believes that puts them out of touch with ordinary working people.
That’s why the 59-year-old, of Gateshead, has pledged his support for proposals for MPs to receive no more than the salary of the average skilled worker.
“It would help them to directly understand the issues that affect working people.”
Mr Hall, representing the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) at the general election on Thursday, May 7, is also campaigning on an anti-austerity platform.
“All of the six major parties are parties of austerity.
“They are all in favour of cuts. Our stance is simple. We are saying no to austerity.”
This is the first time that Mr Hall has stood for Parliament, but he has made two bids to become a councillor in Gateshead.
Originally a member of the Labour Party, he became disillusioned with what he says was its “lack of support” for the miners during the strike of 1985 and 1985 and joined the Socialist Party, and it allied with trade unions to form TUSC in 2010.
The union coalition plans to stand in more than 120 seats across the country in May, including Washington and Sunderland North, North Tyneside and Newcastle East.
Mr Hall, a married stepfather of two, said:
“The coalition is exactly what it says on the tin.
“I’m well aware of Jarrow’s heritage stretching back to Ellen Wilkinson, and in 2011 I was involved in the Youth Fight for Jobs, which marked the 75th anniversary of the Jarrow March.
“I’m from Wallsend, and it shared with Jarrow many of the problems that stemmed from de-industrialisation.
“In terms of what support I’ll receive, that’s somewhat up in the air, but it’s clear that people are disillusioned with the mainstream parties. We are here to give the working class an alternative voice, one against austerity and against the cuts that took place under Labour and the Tories.
“It started under Alistair Darling, who made ordinary people pay for the banking crisis. The working class needs a new voice.”
TUSC opposes all cuts to council jobs, services, pay and conditions and rejects increases in council tax, rent and service charges to “compensate for government cuts”.
The party also supports nationalisation of the banks and the financial system, is against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and all secret austerity treaties.
The other candidates standing in Jarrow on May 7 are: Stephen Hepburn (Labour), Stan Collins (Liberal Democrat), Steve Harrison (UKIP) and David Herbert (Green).
Source – Shields Gazette, 16 March 2015
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) has announced its candidate to to fight the Darlington parliamentary seat in the General Election will be Alan Docherty.
Mr Docherty, a trade union member and environmental activist, who has lived and worked in Darlington for more than 40 years on the railways and at Darlington Borough Council, said he knows the town and the issues it is facing well.
He is the former branch secretary of the Darlington local government branch of Unison, is the co-ordinator of Darlington Trades Union Council’s Darlington Against Cuts group and secretary of the Teesside Socialist Party.
Mr Docherty regularly campaigns in the town and across Teesside for trade union, anti cuts and environmental groups.
The TUSC’s policies include bringing the railways, buses, utilities and the postal service back into public ownership; no cuts to public services; investment in green energy; nationalising the banks and stopping tax avoidance.
Mr Docherty said:
“We consider that the Labour Party no longer represents the interest of ordinary people.
“It is publicly committed to economic policies, similar to those of the Lib Dems, Conservatives and UKIP, that will continue to reduce people’s living standards and cut public services.
“It is our aim to reverse the false message that austerity and cuts are the only way to rebuild the economy. We can and will change the face of politics in Britain too’.
The TUSC was co-founded in 2010 by the late Bob Crow, former Rail and Maritime Trade Union (RMT) leader, to enable trade unionists, community campaigners and socialists to stand anti-austerity candidates against the pro-austerity establishment parties.
> UKIP candidates behaving badly…again.
Police had to be called to a public meeting when a UKIP candidate standing in tomorrow’s local elections was thrown out.
A torrent of swearing and shouting led to Stephen Brand being asked to leave the Park Hotel in Tynemouth following his outburst at North Tyneside Question Time run by the People’s Assembly on Monday night.
He is standing in North Tyneside’s Chirton ward for the UK Independence Party against independent candidate Amanda Normand, Labour’s Margaret Reynolds and the Conservative candidate Heather Sarin.
Two officers from Northumbria Police were called to the sea-front hotel at around 7.50pm to calm scenes in the hotel’s ballroom after Mr Brand interrupted a speaker during a discussion on education.
Despite being told by audience members to be quiet and sit down and wait his turn to speak, he continued to shout and became aggressive when event organisers approached him to usher him out of the room.
At one point he shouted that if anyone laid a hand on him “it would be assault”.
A spokesperson for Northumbria Police said: “We were called to the Park Hotel in Tynemouth following reports of a man shouting during a meeting.
“Officers attended and at the request of the manager, officers asked him to leave, which he did.”
He received no police caution or warning for his behaviour and willingly left the scene.
However his outburst just days before the election was not welcomed by fellow UKIP candidate Gary Legg, who is standing in the Monkseaton South ward.
The former member of the RAF had been invited as part of a panel of six representatives from political parties for the question-and-answer session and he is now working with the party to clarify how events unfolded on Monday night.
Joan Hewitt, who co-organised the event on behalf of the People’s Assembly, said: “Normally I wouldn’t condone the highlighting of an unpleasant incident but I think this shows that this particular UKIP candidate was not agreeing with the nature of the event, which was participatory.”
Also speaking on the panel was North Tyneside’s current Labour deputy mayor Bruce Pickard, Alan Furness, who is standing as a Conservative candidate in Valley, Martin Collins for the Green Party in Wallsend, Tim Wall standing for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition in Benton and David Taws, the independent candidate for Collingwood.
A spokesman for UKIP said the party was conducting an inquiry into the incident, however Mr Brand will still stand on Thursday.
He said: “There is a suggestion of provocation. We would apologise however.
“It will be referred to the national executive committee who will look at everything and the committee may determine what the appropriate action is that should be taken.
“It’s very difficult before an election to do anything else. Ballot papers have gone out and they have got his name on it.”
Source – Newcastle Journal, 21 May 2014