Thanks for the questions from your members. Noreen Bailey (Salford and Eccles) and Steve North (Worsley and Eccles South) have made a joint response.
There are nine questions below. Could you be brief (we know that's hard) and speak of your own individual position rather than just a party line. The party line will be clear to us from the media. Please reply on paper or by e-
Jonathan Dale (for Manchester Area Quaker Social Justice Group)
Reply from TUSC candidates
Unfortunately our party position is not very clear in the media because they operate a media blackout over us! However we will be standing in 100 constituencies, including both Salford ones, and over 1000 wards, including all twenty in Salford, so we expect to have two party political broadcasts.
To save your members’ time we have agreed a joint response.
Steve North (Worsley and Eccles South)
Noreen Bailey (Salford and Eccles)
1. Are you in favour of Britain renewing its Trident nuclear weapons system ?
We are totally opposed to nuclear weapons and to the renewal of the Trident system.
2. Do you think our country is right to be involved militarily in the Ukraine, even if in a training and support role?
We are opposed to all foreign military interventions by Britain, including training and support, and to Britain’s membership of NATO.
3. Do you give full weight to the urgency of minimising global warming? In the light of this, do you accept that much of the known fossil fuel reserves should be left underground, especially the most environmentally damaging such as tar sands and Arctic oil?
Yes, we agree. We are opposed to ‘extreme’ and ‘unconventional’ methods of extraction and agree that alternatives to fossil fuels must be developed. In the long run we believe that only the expropriation of the large oil and gas companies, who lobby, blackmail and coerce elected governments into allowing planning permission and tax breaks, will allow for the full development of alternatives.
4. What is your attitude to fracking?
We are totally opposed to fracking and our members and supporters in the trade union and anti cuts movement took an active part in recent protests at Barton Moss.
5. Many people can’t afford to heat their homes over the winter. We can’t afford to ignore climate change either. How would you tackle fuel poverty in a long-
In the UK: We are anti cuts activists and continue to oppose benefit cuts such as the bedroom tax – not to mention the £12 billion welfare cuts threatened by the Tories. The idea of a fuel price freeze is attractive but if the private energy suppliers remain in private hands, and continue to be policed by a toothless regulator, there will be no solution to fuel poverty for ordinary people. We support the creation of a million Green Jobs through insulation, solar panels etc, to reduce fuel costs and to prevent further climate change.
In the developing world: fuel poverty, unemployment and disease in the developing world will not be ended while corrupt regimes representing landlords and large corporations remain in power. Globally: emissions targets are routinely ignored, cap and trade doesn’t work. Ultimately climate change can only be ended by removing private profit and changing the system of society to one where the interests of ordinary workers and farmers are fully and democratically represented.
C. ECONOMICS AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
6. Do you think our economy can or should go on growing indefinitely?
There is no easy answer to this question. The private enterprise system seems increasingly unable to deliver significant growth in any case, and the IMF warns that mediocre growth rates are the ‘new normal’. However, we are not unqualified supporters of ‘zero growth’; there is room for growth, for example, to increase Internet access to many people, especially here in Salford, who cannot currently afford it. In addition, some growth is necessary to bring developing nations up to basic standards of hygiene, health, shelter, and well-
7. Are you opposed to the the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership? If so why; if not, why not?
We are totally opposed to TTIP. We reject the idea that large corporations can sue elected governments for carrying out the wishes of the people, and that decisions would be handed down from an obscure court shrouded in secrecy. We have particular concerns about the accelerating pace of privatisation in the NHS, which TTIP could enshrine.
8. Do you intend to help shrink the yawning gap between rich and poor and check the extraordinary concentration of wealth in very few hands? If so, how?
We support increased taxation on the rich, and rigorous pursuit of tax evasion, which this government pays token lip service to but never acts against. At the same time we campaign in the trade unions and on the streets for a rise in the minimum wage to £10 per hour so that people can enjoy a decent standard of living. We support the public ownership under democratic control of the major companies and banks that dominate the economy, so that production and services can be planned to meet the needs of all, and to protect the environment.
9. Do you recognise that low wages and benefits, plus harsh and arbitrary stoppage of benefits, is causing serious and unjust hardship? Do you want to restore the safety net which ought to protect British people from serious want?
Absolutely. Our supporters have campaigned alongside the UNITE trade union outside against the outrageous volume of sanctioning at Salford and Eccles job centres. We have also campaigned against the withdrawal of Salford Council’s own safety net in the form of the Special Discretionary Service, and have had some success in retaining it. We whole-