1. What assurance can you give that you will listen to, and respect, the opinions expressed by members of your electorate ? If elected, do you undertake to represent these views in any and all council discussions, whether or not they may conflict with any 'party' view ?
Taking into account the views of an electorate is clearly a key part of being a representative. But "listening to the electorate" is often just a cop-out representatives use to mask voting how they want to. If elected I will be elected as a socialist, as a campaigning anti-cuts activists dedicated to fighting to restore the jobs and services cut away by the Labour council and Tory government.
Being a member of the Socialist Party stands me in good tradition to fight tooth and nail for the people of this ward, and this city. When we were a part of Labour as supporters of the Militant newspaper our MPs took only the average wage of their constituents.
When supporters of the Militant were elected to lead Liverpool city council in the 1980's, they built along with the community and council trade unions a massive campaign in support of a NEEDS BUDGET which won £60 million back from the Thatcher government which had been cut from the money allocated to the city. This £60 million was used to build 5 thousand council houses (more than all other Labour councils nationally during their period in office), build 6 new sports centres, 6 new nurseries, created 16,000 jobs, took on 100 apprentices with a guaranteed job, rents were frozen and not one council worker was sacked.
When we previously had two Socialist Party councillors on Stoke-on-Trent city council in 2006 they put forward Needs Budgets, to try to ensure that people across the city received the services they needed – rather than the services the council from high told them they would have. Unfortunately Labour councillors refused to vote for this type of budget and preferred to carry on with their cuts under a Labour government.
That is the "party view" I hold, and is the "party view" I'm proud to hold.
2. How will you increase political engagement and communicate with ward residents?
One of the key reasons political engagement is so low is because people see no difference between the policies of the main political parties. You can barely fit a cigerette paper between the pro-cuts, pro-austerity policies of the Labour, Lib Dem and Tory parties. Rightly so people often think "well what's the point in voting, I'm going to suffer regardless of who gets in".
That is why the Socialist Party is involved with others including the railway workers union the RMT with 80,000 members in building TUSC. We believe we need a new mass workers party, to fight for working class people in Stoke-on-Trent and the rest of the country who currently have no political representation.
Since this council was elected Stoke Socialist Party and other TUSC supporters have organised more public meetings to engage the people in Stoke than other parties and candidates combined! At our public meeting at Norton WMC on the 10th October two local campaigners were so engaged that they said they would stand as TUSC candidates in the next local election.
Every week myself and Stoke Socialist Party do a number of stalls around the city, campaigning on issues effecting people in this city and talking to hundreds of ordinary people about the ways various cuts and attacks nationally and locally effect them. From campaigns against the Bedroom tax, against the council HQ and in defence of a publicly owned NHS we are constantly out on the streets communicating with people and we will continue to do so whether elected or not.
Being an elected councillor would allow me to increase the scope of this real engagement even further with local residents.
3. Put the following in order of priority, and give reasons. The list is in alphabetical order so as not to show preference.
city - conscience - national interest - party – ward
I believe it is vital that those standing for election for a party, group or as an individual should explain clearly what they stand for and against. For example, given the current plans of our Labour council to carry out another eye watering £100 million worth of cuts to jobs and services over the next four years every candidate needs to state clearly what they WILL DO about them if elected. Merely complaining about or accepting without serious opposition the government's dictats is not acceptable.
This and whatever else they would do if elected should be printed in black and white on their leaflets and delivered to homes across the ward so that everyone knows exactly what to expect from them. If the elected candidate does not do what they said they would then you will know not to vote for them again.
For the record;
TUSC was set up just three years ago to fight against all cuts, closures and privatisation. A vote for myself as a TUSC candidate will guarantee just that.
You can check out my election leaflet at http://www.stokesocialistparty.org.uk/2013/10/22/vote-no-to-job-losses-cuts-closures-privatisation/tusc-bm-n-by-election-leaflet-3/
and TUSC's 2013 local elections policy platform here http://www.tusc.org.uk/policy.php
4. Do you believe the specious argument from the Council that £50+M on a new HQ in Hanley is money well spent? If not, what do you believe would be a better option?
Not at all! Myself, TUSC and the Socialist Party have been campaigning against this waste of money since it was first announced. We made opposition to the new HQ a key position when we stood in the Springfields and Trent Vale by-election last year - a link to our leaflet from that by-election at http://www.stokesocialistparty.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Stoke-by-election-leaflet-July-2012-front.pdf)
We also actively built for and participated in the March on Stoke campaign from the beginning.
You can see a report of me campaigning as far back as July 2012 against the new HQ, under the demand of “No to Another New Council HQ! Save Our Jobs and Services Instead!” at
If the council want to increase employment in this city, then they are better off spending money instead to immediately reverse all cuts to jobs, pay and services in the city. Launching a mass council house building program would create much needed jobs and renovate areas left derelict by Pathfinder. It is perverse that a council whilst claiming they have no money is willing to fritter at least £50 million away on nothing more than a vanity project.
5. & 6 What would be your priorities for Baddeley Milton and Norton, and your overall priority for the City as a whole? / What redevelopment/improvement will you aim for in your ward given such plans for the redevelopment of hanley town centre?
As explained before my priorities for the ward and the city are much the same – fighting for a Needs Budget that defends the services people need. This means a budget that ensures Norton Community Centre gets the funding it needs to stay open, whilst also ensuring the rest of the city's Community Centres are properly funded or reopened. It means a budget that ensures Norton and Ball Green Children’s Centres get the funding that they need to provide an excellent service, whilst also ensuring the rest of the city gets and keeps decent children's centres. It means being focused on the needs of BOTH the ward and the city, ensuring the council doesn't play us off against each other.
7. Should you be elected, what would you like to be remembered for come the Full Council Election in 2015, and will you be standing again in this ward?
If elected I'm determined to be remembered for fighting to ensuring that we have decent jobs, homes and services throughout this city, and for fighting against the slash and burn policies all the main parties advocate that are wrecking our communities.
TUSC are planning on standing across Stoke-on-Trent in the next local elections – whether that means me standing in the ward again, or someone else, is for TUSC supporters and people who live in the ward to decide.