Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/261/24664

From The Socialist newspaper, 5 July 2002

Tower Hamlets by-election: Socialist Alliance Provides No Alternative

A SOCIALIST ALLIANCE (SA) candidate polled just nine votes in the Blackwall & Cubitt Town council by-election in East London's Tower Hamlets borough on 27 June.

Clive Heemskerk

The Socialist Party left the Socialist Alliance in December, after the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) used their majority to push through an undemocratic constitution, and we take no responsibility for this poor result.

Unfortunately, however, the by-election vote will be used against all socialists, in the trade unions and elsewhere, who are arguing for an alternative to New Labour.

There were some factors peculiar to this by-election that would have made securing a substantial socialist vote a difficult task. A large part of the ward is in the Isle of Dogs, the old Millwall ward where the BNP's Derek Beackon was elected as a councillor in 1993.

The BNP leaflets referred to that victory but also to their more recent successes in Burnley to claim that they had a realistic chance this time. In fact they polled just 87 votes (3.96%) but their presence had some effect in shoring up the Labour vote.

Another factor was the 'Islanders first' independent candidacy of Terry Johns, who polled 252 votes (11.48%), mainly from disgruntled Labour voters.

Terry benefited from the decades-long record of community campaigning of his father, Ted Johns, a former Labour councillor. (In 1970 Ted was elected 'president' of the Island when community groups declared 'UDI'; during the anti-poll tax struggle he spoke alongside the Militant [now Socialist Party] MP Dave Nellist to publicly back the non-payment campaign).

Although the Socialist Alliance candidate was a local community centre worker, she did not have the same profile.

Nevertheless, how the SA campaign was conducted must have had some impact on the result achieved. Although the candidate is not a member of the SWP, the bulk of the SA campaigners were.

Sixty promised votes were picked up from canvassing and extensive leafleting but the inescapable conclusion is that the SA were unable to convince those 'identified supporters' to come out and vote for them. The turnout overall was only 24.6%

Socialist Party vindicated

THE SA's recent electoral performance further affirms the decision of the Socialist Party not to participate in the Socialist Alliance as it is now constituted.

The Tower Hamlets result follows another by-election in Luton on 13 June where, in the safe Labour ward of Challney, the Socialist Alliance polled just 18 votes (0.85%), compared to 814 for the winning Labour candidate.

The Socialist Party, however, has shown that it is possible to win electoral support for socialist ideas. In May's local elections, our candidates averaged 296 votes per candidate (11.48%), with two councillors elected.

Before December's SA conference, the Alliance had a 'federal' structure which allowed supporting organisations such as the Socialist Party, within a common framework, to run election contests with their own campaigning methods and political ideas.

Yet at the conference SWP speakers made it clear that this arrangement would end. Using their numerical majority they would dictate to candidates from other organisations within the SA the politics and campaigning methods.

This was unacceptable to the Socialist Party, a more successful electoral organisation, and the recent results once again show why.

Of course, electoral success is never guaranteed, even with the right policies and approach. The early pioneers of the labour movement, such as Keir Hardie and James Connolly, in their own time suffered electoral debacles.

But if nothing else, such experiences should at least puncture the conception of the SWP that the SA under their domination is the only alternative to New Labour, which all other groups and organisations should defer to.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 5 July 2002:

Change This Rotten System

WorldCom fraud: Capitalism Is A Bankrupt System

New Labour's tax-avoiding friends

Making Criminals Out Of Us All

Innocent Afghans Killed By US 'Friendly Fire'

Watergate: Rotten Apples In A Mouldy Barrel

Argentina: New Crisis As Cops Kill Protesters

Tower Hamlets by-election: Socialist Alliance Provides No Alternative

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers: Fighting For Real Equality


 

Home   |   The Socialist 5 July 2002   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Socialist Alliance:

triangleAttitude to the Labour Party and the Left

Tower Hamlets:

triangleEast London & Tower Hamlets Socialist Party: 2017 - From Trump to Paradise Papers; a year in review

triangleTower Hamlets Socialist Party: Organising for socialist change

triangleTower Hamlets Socialist Party: #metoo - how can we end sexism?

triangleTower Hamlets Socialist Party: "You can't have capitalism without racism" (Malcolm X)

Socialist:

triangleTeesside Socialist Party: 'Fake' Trump! What's really going on in the US?

triangleTheatre: 'Young Marx' shows growth in great platform for his ideas

triangleSocialist Party women's meeting brings together members to share experiences

Election:

triangleAmy Murphy for Usdaw president - vote for a fighting and democratic union

triangleCabinet chaos as shambolic reshuffle underlines Theresa May's impotence

The Socialist:

triangleSalford Socialist Party: Building the Socialist Party

Labour:

triangleCorbyn's Labour needs 100% anti-cuts strategy and fight for democracy

Socialist Party:

triangleSouthern Socialist Party conference

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

17/1/18

Labour

Corbyn's Labour needs 100% anti-cuts strategy and fight for democracy

17/1/18

Trump

Victory! Trump's UK visit cancelled by fear of protests

17/1/18

NHS

NHS crisis: under pressure from all angles - end cuts and sell-offs!

15/1/18

Carillion

Carillion crisis: demand action to save jobs and services

10/1/18

Tories

Cabinet chaos as shambolic reshuffle underlines Theresa May's impotence

10/1/18

NHS

Sustained mass movement needed to stop Tories wrecking our NHS

10/1/18

Education

Bigot Toby Young quits - now scrap the new uni regulator driving privatisation

10/1/18

Them & Us

Them & Us

10/1/18

Teachers

Teacher recruitment falls by a third - cut workload, not funding

3/1/18

Fire service

Fire service victory

3/1/18

Fares

Rail: fares up, bosses' pay up - delays and cancellations up

3/1/18

Higher Education

Mobilise against rip-off executive pay

3/1/18

Virgin

NHS in winter crisis as Branson creams off 1bn

3/1/18

Homes

Thousands live in tents and sheds - seize empty homes

3/1/18

Fat cats

Widening wealth gap, increase in poverty...make the fat cats pay

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle17 Jan Corbyn's Labour needs 100% anti-cuts strategy and fight for democracy

triangle17 Jan NHS crisis: under pressure from all angles - end cuts and sell-offs!

triangle17 Jan We must fight all council cuts!

triangle16 Jan Home care workers to strike

triangle15 Jan Carillion crisis: Demand action to save jobs and services

triangle12 Jan Outrage against 'monster block' plan

triangle12 Jan Mini-strike wave continues and intensifies

More ...

triangle23 Jan Bristol North Socialist Party: 'You can't have capitalism without racism' - was Malcolm X correct?

triangle23 Jan Cardiff West Socialist Party: How the Poll Tax was beaten

triangle24 Jan Caerphilly Socialist Party: The Carillion scandal

triangle24 Jan Cardiff Central Socialist Party: Carillion collapse - Watershed moment for public services

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2