Candidate interview: Elaine Smith (TUSC)

Elaine Smith (on the right) stands for the Trade Unionists and Socialists Coalition in Lincoln.

Elaine Smith (on the right) stands for the Trade Unionists and Socialists Coalition in Lincoln.

Standing for the radical left party TUSC (Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition), Elaine Smith’s number one mission is to end austerity, and secondly, to bring about socialism.

“We need alternatives to austerity. Here in Lincoln the current economic policies hit many people. None of the mainstream parties want to put an end to it,” she told The Linc while handing out leaflets on campus.

Other of her key issues include education and tuition fees. She said: “I went to university as a mature student. The grants I received made that possible. Today’s students should not be burdened with such massive debts.”

Building more social housing and other types of affordable housing is an important local issue, as well as caps on rent and improved transport.

“The bus company Stagecoach makes millions in profit while offering poor service to the people of Lincoln and surrounding areas.”

TUSC is on the fringe of public opinion in many issues, but not on the railways. A YouGov poll from 2014 found that 60% of Brits supports renationalisation of the railways, while only 20% oppose. The current Labour leadership have refused to champion the cause, despite internal and external pressure. For TUSC there are no questions asked.

“We should bring back the railways under public ownership, and we should reform rail services to meet peoples needs, not make the most money.

“I believe more people should use public transport, rather than cars, but then we need better services.”

Elaine Smith coincides that TUSC is a minor party and that her chances of winning are minimal. However, she argues the strength of her movement lies in their involvement with different campaigns and local issues.

“We are actively talking part in campaigns against the ‘bedroom tax’, the student movement and defending our fire services here in Lincolnshire. TUSC is an ‘on the ground’ party, working with other people to campaign to get their rights met.”

One of the issues Elaine raised at the debate on Monday was what she calls ‘scapegoating’ of immigrants, She says she is horrified that UKIP is now seen as the party of ordinary people.

“People coming here to work put more into our economy than they take out. Our health service would not be possible without all the staff from foreign countries now working here. We should focus on the big companies dodging tax, not blaming everything on immigration.

“The radical left has traditionally been fragmented into dozens of small parties and organisations. TUSC is an attempt to unite the different strands of socialism and campaign together as one progressive force.

“The infighting on the left has been a very sad story, but we are making progress. TUSC is made up of several socialist parties, burying their minor differences and standing together. For once we join hands rather than split. Even the Green Party is coming over to socialism now.”

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