Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/17054
Election report from Plymouth
On Thursday 27 June I stood as a Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidate in a byelection in Plymouth's Southway ward. The byelection followed a Tory councillor being removed for lack of attendance.
Less than 30% of the electorate turned out to vote suggesting that a big majority of people do not see the ballot box as an effective way of affecting change at this stage.
Those who did vote sent a clear message to the Con-Dems. The Tories were relegated to third place with 16% of the vote.
The Liberal Democrats only managed less than 3% of the vote coming fifth, behind an independent candidate who opposed party politics and received 10% of the vote.
The seat was won by Labour who got 43% of the vote. It is clear from this result that Labour is looked to as a way of resisting austerity by some.
However, Labour in councils across the country continues to implement policies like the hated bedroom tax and leader Ed Miliband has said that a future Labour government will not be reversing the cuts.
Reflecting the bankruptcy of the main parties Ukip came second with 26.4%, a result it has achieved by posing as a protest vote against the main three parties.
Yet, all of the Ukip supporters I spoke to during the counting of the votes revealed that they were with the Conservatives for decades before defecting.
Ukip members have expressed racism, homophobia and aggressive nationalism and they also support cuts and tax breaks for the richest. They offer no alternative to working class people.
This was the first time we stood a TUSC candidate in this ward. We received 22 votes and had some modest but important successes that can be built on in the future.
Many people helped out by sharing campaign literature in their workplaces. My statement in the local newspaper gained 114 'likes' online compared to the statement from Ukip's candidate which received one.
The Socialist Party is a constituent part of TUSC, along with the RMT transport union and others. Through the many discussions and our campaigning we met a number of people who are willing to get involved with future TUSC work and are considering joining the Socialist Party.
Next spring 18 seats will be contested in the 2014 local elections giving all Plymothians the chance to vote - we plan to have a strong TUSC stand then.