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Posted on 10 May 2011 at 11:34 GMT

Coventry - support for Socialist Party still strong in St Michael's

Coventry Socialist Party stood in all 18 Coventry seats in the council elections on 5 May. Before the election, we recognised that this may not be easy political terrain for us.

With two out of the three establishment parties in government, the Labour Party saw an increase in its vote, winning five more seats on the council. Our main campaign was in St Michael's ward, where we fought hard to try to get former councillor Rob Windsor back on the council.

Despite Rob receiving 1,263 votes, which in the past would have been enough to win, Labour had an increased margin of victory with its 2,419 votes. The Tories came third with 434 votes.

Our vote in some parts of the ward was as high as 70%, with people seeing us as the only principled fighters and campaigners on issues such as the battle to save Charterhouse Fields from being taken over by a local academy school.

Our task was made harder because of the national situation, but also complicating local factors. For instance Mia Ali, the Tory candidate from 2010, had made a seamless transition to Labour, which undoubtedly increased the vote for Jim O'Boyle, the Labour councillor opposing Rob, as some of her support base would have gone with her.

We slightly increased our share of the vote across the city, to obtain 3.5% from 3,081 votes. Our overall vote was higher than the BNP and we were within touching distance of the Greens despite them having a certain national profile and a television broadcast.

As we start to see the effects of Coventry's Labour council implementing cuts, there will be more pressure for it to resist and more anger if it carries on doing the Con-Dem government's bidding.

In a sign of things to come, the council's Unison branch passed a motion just before the election expressing its disappointment that the council had voted for 38 million of cuts and calling for a 'needs' based budget and a mass campaign to resist the Tories.

We did well in retaining our important level of electoral support in St Michael's and know that there are many thousands more who support us in the city.

The Socialist Party is up for the battles ahead, fighting all cuts and winning support for the socialist opposition to capitalism.

Paul Delaney

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