Fire and Passion Vs Beermats

Last night’s well attended public meeting held by TUSC in Rawmarsh illustrated an age old problem for passionate, but small and resource-poor groups such as TUSC. How do you compete to get your message heard when others (in this case UKIP) have the money to ‘shout’ louder?

The meeting was about to get under way in the Earl Grey pub when someone noticed the beermats – specially commissioned UKIP beermats, both sides carrying the UKIP message. Clearly, UKIP have thrown a lot of money at this round of local elections, and a party political beermat is a stroke of genius. We all (well, me anyway) look at beermats when we’re in a pub. We play with them, flip them, pick at them, and even read them. I’ll wager that those beermats have been read by people who would not normally look at an election leaflet. The number of potential voters reached by a beermat may not be large, but every vote counts in an age of voter apathy.

It may seem frivolous to talk about beermats but the principle is important. TUSC’s anti-austerity message needs to be heard as widely as anyone else’s message. It doesn’t really matter whether you agree with TUSC or not, we should all agree that no candidate should be ‘priced out’ of the democratic process by the greater resources available to others.

As for the meeting, Rotherham TUSC displayed all the fire and passion that we’ve come to expect from them. Andy Gray, the candidate for Rawmarsh, concentrated on the bedroom tax, and made a compelling case against this insidious attack on the least affluent. Martin Hickman, an active trade unionist and TUSC member warned of the dangers of apathy in a spellbinding ten minute talk. Last, but definitely not least, was Mary Jackson, TUSC candidate in the recent Mayoral election in Doncaster. Regardless of your politics, if you get a chance to talk to Mary, you should grab that chance – an amazing woman with some great stories and an ability to cut to the heart of the issue that a top cardiac surgeon would envy. Kudos to Andy’s agent, Chris Bingham, for turning what might have been a bit of a non-event into a very worthwhile evening.

Warren Vale

PS: Rotherham TUSC are beginning a local campaign against the bedroom tax. If you want to join their fight, I believe there is a meeting next week in Rawmarsh at the Earl Grey pub at 7pm. I’m sure they will post details with Rothpol as soon as they are able. Remember, the bedroom tax doesn’t care who you vote for, so don’t let it put you off that it’s a TUSC initiative. Maybe a chance to see some joint activity between TUSC, Respect and any concerned Independents?

Rothpol’s thanks goes to Warren Vale for this excellent piece. Other reader contributions always welcome.