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Posted on 8 March 2013 at 11:50 GMT

Successful TUSC candidate Joe Robinson (left) with Shaun on a TUSC stall in Maltby, Yorkshire. photo by Alistair Tice

Successful TUSC candidate Joe Robinson (left) with Shaun on a TUSC stall in Maltby, Yorkshire. photo by Alistair Tice   (Click to enlarge)

Victory: TUSC strikes a 'real chord' in Maltby

TUSC candidate Joe Robinson, 21-years old, was like a breath of fresh air as the winning candidate in the Maltby town council byelection, taking 60% of the votes cast.

TUSC's appeal to trade unionists and socialists went down well in this strong working class community.

It might only be Maltby Town Council. It was only a byelection. There's only 3,000 electors. Only a 16.5% turnout. And only two candidates.

But you can only beat the opposition put in front of you, and last night Joe did just that. Standing for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), Socialist Party member Joe was elected by 303 votes to 201.

His opponent was an 'independent' candidate without a description on the ballot paper, but in reality was the Labour candidate whom the ruling group on Maltby town council had tried to co-opt when a vacancy arose.

But Joe collected the ten signatures necessary to force a byelection, and TUSC ran an enthusiastic and visible campaign with two ward-wide leaflets, posters and several high street stalls.

Local issues such as the bowling greens, tennis courts, parks and the High Street were linked to the need to make a stand against Con-Dem cuts including those passed on by Rotherham borough Labour council.

Fighting against cuts

Our main issue was TUSC's on-going campaign against the draconian cuts being proposed at Rotherham hospital.

TUSC had lobbied the January hospital trust board meeting with 3,000 signatures, gaining much media publicity and making links with the hospital trade unions.

Maltby is now an ex-mining town as the pit is just shutting with the loss of 550 jobs. A quarter of its population has left in the last decade.

A small Labour clique has run the town council for decades and the BNP temporarily won a borough council seat four years ago.

Interestingly, postal votes accounted for nearly 80% of the votes cast with nearly half the registered postal voters actually voting.

This shows that TUSC's first leaflet struck a real chord with disillusioned Labour supporters.

This victory must be just the beginning. Joe's co-campaigner, 17-year old Shaun Barratt has joined the Socialist Party and wants to stand as a TUSC candidate next time. They want to build a party branch here.

This year is the 40th anniversary of Clay Cross council's defiance of the Tory Housing Finance Act in 1973.

Clay Cross was only an Urban District Council with a population of 10,000 yet made an historic stand.

Maltby is bigger than Clay Cross, and who knows, this byelection victory could be the start of something much bigger for TUSC.

Alistair Tice

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 8 March 2013 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

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