Parliamentary candidates for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) are building campaigns that are rooted in their communities—and based on fighting austerity.
In Tottenham, north London, TUSC candidate Jenny Sutton has used her campaign to fight the effects of the housing crisis.
She told Socialist Worker, “Housing is a huge issue. The difference between when I stood in 2010 and now is incredible.
“Places that used to have one door bell now have two. Some people are trying to rent out sheds in their back garden for families to live in.”
Jenny pinned the blame for rising rents and house prices in Tottenham on the local Labour-run Haringey council.
“The council’s strategy for years has been to attract investment from businesses,” she said.
“They’re openly saying that they want to change the ‘demographic mix’ of Haringey to do that.
“That means getting rich people to live here—and pushing poor people out.”
Jenny is campaigning for rent controls and affordable housing for all in Tottenham—and is attracting new supporters.
Esther is one of them. She told Socialist Worker, “Finding a place to live in London is very difficult.
“If you have children you have to find a place for them to go to school.
“Everyone is crying out for them to keep the rent down so they can afford the housing. So when they see Jenny wants rent controls they say they’ll vote for her.”
In the Sheffield constituency of Brightside and Hillsborough, TUSC candidate Maxine Bowler is campaigning against racism and the scapegoating of migrants.
She told Socialist Worker, “I spoke at a hustings organised by the Campaign to Defend Asylum Seekers and other organisations representing asylum and migrant groups.
“The others on the platform all agreed with immigration controls.
“I was the only one arguing that migrants aren’t the problem”.
Maxine said many people were interested in TUSC after seeing its party political broadcast, which aired on Friday of last week.
She said, “Going door to door on Sunday people said they had seen the broadcast and they were very impressed.”
Other candidates had a similar experience. Lynne Chamberlain, TUSC candidate for Greenwich and Woolwich, south London, told Socialist Worker, “One woman who works in Lidl told me she has worked there for nine years and is only on £10 an hour.
“She said she wanted to join the TUSC campaign after seeing the broadcast”.
The pressure is on to vote Labour to get rid of the Tories. Yet many TUSC supporters are people looking for an alternative.
In Tottenham that anger has developed into a real campaign that is winning support.
Jenny said, “We’ve got a Labour council implementing Tory austerity.
“A lot of people are saying they’re not going to vote or they’re going to vote for an alternative.
“Our vote will be squeezed. But if anyone’s going to beat Labour it won’t be the Tories—it will be us”.