News_and_Star_Carlisle_election_0210The Carlisle Socialist and Trade Union election campaign was officially launched on 23 February , catching the mainstream parties napping. This article on the launch is from local paper News and Star. Send your support to the candidate. "Former Carlisle mayor John Metcalfe has unveiled the radical policies that he hopes will make him the city’s next MP.

He wants to raise the old-age pension to £155 a week and the minimum wage to £8 an hour.

He backs proposals to turn the old Lonsdale Cinema into a theatre and to divert Castle Way around the castle.

And he wants a feasibility study into taking Carlisle United into public ownership.

Mr Metcalfe had been planning to stand as an Independent at the General Election.

But he revealed at his manifesto launch yesterday that he will campaign as a ‘Socialist and Trade Union’ candidate – part of a left-wing alliance fighting Parliamentary seats across the country.

The group also aims to field candidates at the city council elections on May 6.

Mr Metcalfe, 46, said: “The local Labour party have selected a right-wing Blairite candidate. If we had not decided to stand there would have been no option for people to express a left-wing vote.

“Don’t be fooled by Labour. The reality is that if Labour is re-elected there will be huge cuts in public services.”

Mr Metcalfe, a train driver, was a Labour mayor in 1997-98 but left the party in disgust at its drift to the right.

He joined the Communist Party in 2008. He said: “There’s nothing shocking about having a Communist Party member involved in a left-wing coalition.”

His manifesto calls for higher public spending funded by tax increases for the wealthy, a clampdown on tax avoidance and repayment of money paid to prop up the banks.

Mr Metcalfe claims to have around 20 supporters who will campaign on his behalf.

He expects financial backing from the RMT rail union, which is no longer affiliated to the Labour Party.

Its Carlisle branch voted unanimously to support his candidature.

RMT executive member Craig Johnston said: “John’s campaign is based around policies that the Labour Party used to stand for.

“People voting Labour now are voting for a continuation of anti-trade union laws, more privatisation and massive cuts in public services.

“All the mainstream parties are offering the same policy agenda. We’re offering something different.”

At home he wants to:

* Divert Castle Way to the north of Carlisle Castle;
* Celebrate the former state-management system of pubs by setting up a city-run pub and micro brewery next to Tullie House;
* Feasibility study into a light rail/tram system;
* Feasibility study on potential for public ownership of Carlisle United;
* Open an ice rink;
* Convert the former Lonsdale cinema into a theatre;
* Pedestrianise the northern part of Botchergate and regenerate the southern part;
* Create more cycleways and 250 new allotments;
* Reopen the Carlisle-Edinburgh ‘Waverley’ railway and the Penrith-Keswick line;
* Reverse local post office closures;
* Scrap Carlisle Renaissance.

Nationally he would:

* Like to end privatisation and re-nationalise utilities including the railways;
* Green technology rather than nuclear power;
* Referendum on withdrawal from the EU;
* Increase minimum wage to £8 an hour and the state pension to £155 per week;
* Free transport and heating for pensioners;
* Build three million homes for rent and end right to buy council houses;
* Repeal anti-trades union legislation;
* Provide free insulation and energy-efficiency heating boilers for all households;
* End the war in Afghanistan and scrap nuclear weapons;
* Abolish student fees and replace loans with grants;
* Offer free dental and optical checks and scrap prescription charges."