Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/209/8537
Socialist Party celebrates election successes
SOCIALIST PARTY members in England and Wales have been celebrating some excellent election results.
By Judy Beishon
Socialist Party Councillor, Dave Nellist, standing for the Socialist Alliance in Coventry North-East, at the time of going to press has achieved the highest vote of any socialist candidate in Britain, with 2,638 votes (7.5%). This was in a constituency that he has not stood in before.
Two other Socialist Party councillors also did very well; Rob Windsor with 1,475 votes in Coventry South, and Ian Page, in Deptford, London, with 1,260 votes.
Standing for the first time in Walthamstow, London, Simon Donovan achieved an excellent first vote of 806. In Bootle, Merseyside, Pete Glover increased his 1997 vote by 60%, receiving 672 votes this time. This was despite Arthur Scargill's Socialist Labour Party standing against him. In Cardiff South and Penarth, Dave Bartlett, standing for the Welsh Socialist Alliance, received 427 votes, increasing the socialist vote by 24% compared with 1997.
In the constituencies that we have stood in before, in most cases we increased our vote this time.
However, in this election, we were standing for the first time in most of the seats in which we had candidates, and this makes the results all the more striking. Also, we know from our canvassing, that the votes we received do not reflect our real level of support.
This is because many of our supporters were disillusioned with the first New Labour government and fed up with the election as a whole and did not bother to vote. Many others decided to vote New Labour to give Blair a 'last chance', and to make doubly sure there would be no return of the Tories.
This situation will change as anger increases towards New Labour, increasing the opportunities for left candidates.
The aim of our campaigns was to reach as many people as possible with socialist ideas, and to win new members and supporters to our party and to the Socialist Alliance.
We have achieved success on both accounts; in the seats where Socialist Party members were candidates, we reached over 700,000 people with our election addresses, and spoke to many thousands on the doorstep, during street stalls and at public meetings. We have left a lasting influence on working class communities in all the areas, one that we can build on in the future.
Our party branches have been strengthened with new members in every seat, for instance in Hayes and Harlington, where Wally Kennedy received 648 votes, over 60 people have joined our party! In Wakefield, on the election night itself, three people added their names to those wanting to become members.
All Socialist Party members can be justifiably proud of our campaigns.
The three main political parties certainly did not create an inspiring election. But in areas where we stood, we succeeded in livening up the debates, and inspiring a layer of people with socialist ideas. In every area we have laid important roots for the future.
In The Socialist 9 June 2001: