Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/209/8544
Left challenge gets creditable election results
THE SOCIALIST Party took part in the Socialist Alliance election campaign in England and Wales.
By Hannah Sell
By combining the forces of different socialist organisations and individuals the Socialist Alliance was able to contest over 100 seats across England and Wales. At the same time, the Scottish Socialist Party contested all the seats in Scotland.
Despite the election as a whole leaving most people completely cold, the results for socialists were very positive.
The figures clearly demonstrate that a growing minority of people are consciously looking for a socialist alternative.
At. the time of going to press the Socialist Alliance had averaged 770 votes per seat. The Scottish Socialist Party seemed on course to get a creditable 70,000-plus votes across Scotland.
This is an important step forward. However, it is a small fraction of the vote that socialists could potentially win.
In areas where socialist candidates were seen by voters as credible they were able to convince a broader layer of people to come out and vote socialist. For example, Coventry Socialist Party councillor, Dave Nellist, (Chair of the Socialist Alliance) had, at the time of going to press, received the highest socialist vote in Britain with 2,638 votes.
Very good votes were also achieved in St Helens South, where the Socialist Alliance candidate, Neil Thompson, received 2,325 votes and Glasgow Pollok, where the Scottish Socialist Party candidate received 2,522 votes.
In the next four years, under the impact of New Labour's vicious privatisation policies and the effects of a world recession, millions of working-class people will begin to look for an alternative to Blair's neoliberal policies.
The potential exists to build on the successes in this election, and to create in England and Wales, a Socialist Alliance that includes significant groups of workers and young people.
However, to succeed in doing this the Alliance will have to take an inclusive and welcoming attitude to the new forces who, in the coming months and years, will begin to draw the conclusion that working class people need political representation.
Unfortunately, the Socialist Workers' Party (SMT), who currently dominate the Alliance, have not taken this approach to date.
In Hackney, for example, the SWP and their supporters have taken a high-handed and arrogant approach to the 26 UNISON shop stewards who recently decided to stand an anti-cuts candidate in a council by-election.
In the next few weeks the Socialist Party will be putting forward proposals for discussion within the Socialist Alliance to try and ensure that we build on the significant successes the Alliance has achieved in this election.
In The Socialist 9 June 2001: