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Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/299/13863

From The Socialist newspaper, 10 May 2003

Elections 1 May 2003: Build The Socialist Alternative

NEW LABOUR suffered their worst result for 24 years in the local elections of 1 May. Most people just didn't bother to vote, fed up with all the main political parties.

In Coventry, Socialist Party councillor Karen McKay was re-elected with an increased majority over New Labour.

Her victory, like those from the Scottish Socialist Party in elections to the Scottish Parliament, shows that it is possible to offer a fighting socialist alternative to the pro-big business policies of the establishment parties - and win.

Karen told the socialist:

"People in St Michael's had no faith in the Labour council, named fourth worst in the country by the government's own audit team. Millions are spent on projects such as lighting up the council house or for a 'millennium clock' (still nowhere near completion), yet vital social services, road repairs, and investment in local areas are all underfunded and inadequate.

There is a strong anti-Labour mood as many now see it as a second Tory party. But that doesn't mean people automatically come to us. The whole party works hard to win our support - we knock every door at least twice, as well as leafleting, stalls and public meetings.

Among those most active in the community, those who are politically aware, we have built up a loyal base of support over the years as we have proved we will fight for people locally, as well as on the big issues against privatisation and cuts in services.

We want to build on the support we have across the city. We need to work in other areas to develop groups in these communities. We intend to build the party and draw in the wider layers of support we have.

The council is no longer a majority Labour council and the role that the three socialist councillors will play there will be more interesting. We will continue to fight Labour's moves towards two-tier public services and privatisation and we aim to build on our links with the trade unions."

If you've had enough of New Labour's anti-working class policies, join us in the Socialist Party and help build a fighting socialist alternative - locally, nationally and internationally.


Socialist Sees Off The Two Tory Parties

In addition to Karen McKay's excellent victory in Coventry St Michaels reported below, we scored some very good votes elsewhere.


Socialist Party results in England and Wales

Thirty-one Socialist Party candidates received 7,814 votes in the local elections in England and Wales.

Socialist Party councillor Karen McKay, one of three Socialist Party councillors in Coventry, retained her seat with 1,185 votes, doubling her majority and winning 48.4% of the vote.

Pete Glover in Netherton and Orrell (Sefton) got 672 votes, 34% of the vote.

A number of the other candidates improved their percentage results compared to the previous occasions they had stood. Seven candidates got over 10% of the vote.

Results:

Seat

Candidate

Vote

England

Newcastle Byker

Bill Hopwood

357 votes (15.5%)

Newcastle West City

Cathy Collins

78 votes (5%)

Stockton on Tees

John Malcolm

104 votes

Anne Hollifield

144 votes

Freda Graham

168 votes

Patrick Graham

162 votes

Sheffield Park

Terry Wykes

87 votes (5.5% )

Huddersfield Newsome

Jean Goodison

165 votes (5%)

Wakefield East

Mick Griffiths

241 votes (8.2%)

Pontrefact North

John Gill

149 votes (6%)

Leeds Holbeck

Dave Jones

234 votes (8.7%)

Barnsley Wombwell

Angie Waller

73 votes (4%)

Merseyside

Netherton and Orrell

Pete Glover

672 votes (34%)

Merseyside Litherland

Mike Brierley

118 votes

Birmingham Northfield

Louise Holdey

113 votes (2.01%)

Worcester All Saints

Rob Menzies

220 votes (16%)

Malvern Link, Worcester

Owen Morgan

141 votes (8.7%)

Coventry

St Michaels

Councillor Karen Mackay

1,185 votes (48.4%)

Foleshill

Jim Hensman

348 votes (12.2%)

Whoberley

Mark Power

253 votes (7.6%)

Michael Holton

253 votes (7.6%)

Westwood

Jim Donelley

218 votes (7.6%)

Binley/Wilenhall

Sam Ashby

230 votes (6.8%)

Henley

Martha Young

262 votes (10.2%)

Lower Stoke

Jane Ashwell

345 votes (11.7%)

Leicester Braunstone

Steve Score

125 votes (5%)

Stevenage Bedwell

Steve Glennon

112 votes (4.8%)

Bristol Southville

Mark Baker

60 votes (1.89%)

Gloucester

John Ewers

98 votes (6.5%)

Wales

Wales Assembly Aberafan

Rob Williams

608 votes (3.2%)

Wales Assembly: Cardiff South and Penarth

Dave Bartlett

585 votes (2.9%)

Wales: for constituency election votes see www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/299/13864/10-05-2003/bootle-and-wales-new-labours-lies-and-dirty-tricks

Pete Glover increased his percentage of the vote in Netherton and Orrell despite a scurrilous Labour Party campaign (see article below). Rob Menzies secured 16% standing for the first time in Worcester All Saints.


COVENTRY SOCIALISTS are celebrating another great win with Karen McKay being re-elected as a councillor in St Michaels Ward with her majority doubled! We also managed to maintain an overall support of 14% in the seven wards we contested.

Dave Griffiths, Coventry

Holding St Michaels and increasing the majority, was no mean achievement. Every year there is a significant population turnover and therefore changing electorate. There is also a significant electoral 'depopulation', with the expansion of Coventry university's student population and an influx of asylum seekers.

The latter two factors, when added to the background of council cuts and declining services, has led to a layer of cynicism.

New Labour tried to exploit this cynicism in a dirty fashion. They blamed local ("Militant Socialist") councillors for the council's failure to provide services. Leaflets included pictures of burning cars attacked by rioters with the clear implication that this was approved by socialists who were more interested in Iraq and 'others'.

Before the invasion of Iraq, and in the course of the firefighters' dispute, a strong mood had developed in Coventry of New Labour being Tories.

The war blunted, or confused this picture and, certainly in Coventry, an anti-war position - as we expected - was no electoral advantage, rather broadly neutral. However, as a party we have made advances around this issue.

It is clear whose criticism hits Labour hardest. While they lost five seats elsewhere in Coventry, they still had big teams out in St Michaels. (Not that Suits with mobiles is the best advert!)

But the result shows the trust Karen and the Socialist Party have built up in the area. We are an itch Labour still cannot scratch! Against New Labour's cynicism, enough people care enough, and hope to improve their local area and city, that they increased the Socialist majority.

Coventry Socialists are proud of this and we intend to redouble our efforts to spread support city-wide. Over 70 people worked in our campaign, many people look likely to join us, (some already have) and many others have asked us to stand in their area, with an offer to put our leaflets out for us.

Coventry council is now under "No overall Control", with the three Socialists (still called "others" by the BBC/Press!) holding the balance. The Tories explained to the Coventry Evening Telegraph, they did not believe they could do a long term deal with the Socialists (!) and of course the New Labour leadership would find it anathema. But the two Tory parties won't find it so easy to get their way in the next year.

Finally, the night presented a warning with a big vote for the BNP in the ward they contested. This stressed the urgency of establishing a socialist alternative across the city - and nationally - in the face of worsening conditions for working-class people.

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

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In The Socialist 10 May 2003:

No To Foundation Hospitals

Fight Corus Job Massacre

Airport Workers Demand The Truth

Nursery Nurses Step Up The Fight Against Poverty Pay

Iraq watch

Northern Ireland: Only Working Class Can End Sectarian Impasse

Elections 1 May 2003: Build The Socialist Alternative

Bootle and Wales: New Labour's lies and dirty tricks

Blair's 'Baghdad Trounce'

Needed - new policies, not new voting methods

Spectacular gains for Scottish Socialist Party

Neo-Nazis blast a warning

Dreaming War: Blood for Oil and the Cheney-Bush Junta


 

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