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From The Socialist newspaper, 9 May 2012

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition local election reports


Salford

In Salford's Ordsall ward TUSC again came second to Labour, with an improved 18.7% - nearly one in five electors voted for TUSC.

Ordsall is the former dockland of Salford, now gentrified and prettified by apartment blocks and trendy cafes.

It also contains the glittering palace of MediaCityUK housing the BBC. But at its heart is a working class community where our candidate George Tapp has lived all his life.

George is an electrician and has actively backed the sparks' successful campaign. He fought vigorously against the Labour council's despicable attempt to close the Humphrey Booth day centre in the ward, winning a reprieve for the centre.

Labour had promised that MediaCityUK would create a jobs bonanza for Salford residents but, notwithstanding the millions that the Labour council threw at the BBC and the developers Peel Holdings, only 24 people with Salford postcodes got jobs there.

Meanwhile the council continue to demolish council houses in other parts of Salford to release land for private housing, and many residents are wondering when they will do the same in Ordsall.

Paul Gerrard, Salford Socialist Party

Gateshead

In Gatehead's High Fell ward TUSC came second, achieving 248 votes (13%), more than the Tory and Lib Dems combined, making TUSC the main opposition to Labour!

It is clear there is simmering hostility towards the major parties, including Labour. One woman - an ex-Labour Party member - said that when she received the Labour councillor's election manifesto she felt like cutting it up into tiny pieces and posting it back through the councillor's letterbox.

Gateshead's Labour-controlled council made 22 million cuts in services this year. This included 275 job losses, 140 of them compulsory redundancies, on top of 1,000 posts cut last year.

We've been informed that next year, when there is no local election, Gateshead's Labour council intend to either close all local libraries or have them run by volunteers. All Leisure centres in Gateshead are reportedly to be run by arm's length management, a step towards privatisation.

Our main campaign during the election was defending the children's inpatient services at the local Queen Elizabeth hospital. TUSC was backed by the Action Against the Destruction of Wrekenton campaign opposing the expansion of a waste site by multinational SITA.

Elaine Brunskill, High Fell TUSC Candidate

Southampton

Southampton Tory council lost ten seats, punished for two years of cuts to jobs, services and council workers' pay.

While Labour is the beneficiary of this anti-cuts mood, credit should really go to council workers for their sustained campaign of strike action in 2011 which showed mass resistance to the cuts with a majority of public support for the strike action.

TUSC faced criticism for standing in the elections. We were accused of potentially letting the Tories back in. That argument was rejected by TUSC - it was Labour's policy of cuts that was the real risk to their campaign.

Cuts are not inevitable or necessary. Councillors should refuse to implement the cuts and set a needs budget. We received an improved response at our stalls from last year as the impact of cuts is felt and opposition grows. Many people were enthusiastic about our stand and got actively involved.

We held four public meetings, numerous stalls and spent evenings visiting new supporters. While the TUSC vote was slightly lower than in 2011 the base of active support has grown significantly.

Nick Chaffey

Stroud

Two lifelong socialists, a man of 89 and a woman in her 60s whose grandfather was in the 1926 general strike, were among those who pledged support for TUSC in Stroud, Gloucestershire.

The response on the doors showed an overwhelming mood for change. Two people joined the Socialist Party during the election campaign, including John Andrew who explained he was "totally opposed to privatisation and the greed of the minority".

At the count, our Cainscross ward candidate Chris Moore spoke of the difference in the mood on the streets compared to inside the hall. He was heckled by Labour as he spoke about low wages, highlighting an advert for a 'sandwich artist' apprenticeship, paying 2.60 an hour.

We helped organise a protest that shut down a conference promoting business opportunities in privatising NHS services, gloating "don't miss out on your slice of the cake". One of the conference organisers, Philip Chubb, runs a private health research company that was paid by both Stroud and Forest of Dean councils for reports about the future of the NHS.

Ray Darlington, Gloucestershire Socialist Party

Lincoln

Lincoln's TUSC received a total of 423 votes, up from 331 in 2011.

We knocked on the doors of potential voters across Lincoln and heard hundreds of human stories.

The NHS worker made redundant. The woman who works for a mental health charity which has had its funding cut by a third.

The woman who was sleeping on a floor while eight months pregnant. The man who saw the rich getting richer while his pay was frozen.

TUSC will continue to offer the voters of Lincoln a socialist alternative that stands up for working people, like the Aslef East Midlands Trains drivers who we gave support to during the election campaign.

Nick Parker

Leeds

TUSC doubled the number of seats it stood in across Leeds this year and more than doubled the number of votes received to 567.

With the Alliance for Green Socialism standing in other seats, the total anti-cuts vote was 2,685.

The Socialist Party raised the idea of an anti-cuts alternative to all the main parties, won new members to the party with quite a few more people interested in joining or finding out more. We also have generated interest in TUSC among trade unionists in the area, with help from activists in two Unison branches. We hope that in future elections, more trade union and other anti-cuts activists will stand for TUSC.

Labour now has a majority of 17 on the council. Labour's leaflets talked of opposing cuts, yet last year Labour, with support of the Greens, passed 90 million worth of cuts with another 55 million cut this year.

Iain Dalton

Sheffield

40 people attended Sheffield Socialist Party's pre-election rally on 1 May. Stephen Kimmerle of the Committee for a Workers' International (CWI), the international organisation to which the Socialist Party is affiliated, was the main speaker giving reports on the fightback against austerity across Europe and the world.

Angie Waller, candidate for the Unison Yorkshire and Humberside local government service group executive female seat and Brian Caton, retired general secretary of the Prison Officers Association and a TUSC council election candidate in Barnsley, spoke on the need for fighting trade unions and for a mass party that represents working people.

As one of three young TUSC candidates in Sheffield, I spoke about the fightback from young people against the Con-Dems' attacks.

Wyllie Hume, Sheffield Socialist Party

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In The Socialist 9 May 2012:


Socialist Party election analysis

Legitimacy of Cameron and Clegg further shattered

Election results: How did TUSC do?

Con-Dems battered in Scottish local elections

Labour's best Wales result in 21 years will not stop cuts

London elections - TUSC: A marker for future struggles

Coventry: Socialist campaigner Dave Nellist narrowly loses

4,792 mayoral vote for Liverpool 47 candidate

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition local election reports

Unison attacks TUSC candidate


International socialist news and analysis

France: A weekend that shocked Europe

Greece: Political earthquake sees pro-austerity parties' support collapse


Socialist Party news and analysis

Water waste of money!

MPs find Murdoch "not fit" to run media empire

Them & Us


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Good result for Socialist Students candidates in NUS elections

Health services at risk in Cardiff and Vale

Privatisation pushes up transport costs in Yorkshire

Care home closures in Sheffield

Police restrict anti-racist protesters in Luton


Socialist Party workplace news

Come to the NSSN conference!

Greenwich libraries - fighting back can win

Exposed: the dirty world of NHS privatisation

Duncan Smith throws insults at Remploy workers

Workplace news in brief


Reviews and comments

Film review: 'Cocaine Unwrapped'

Turning anger into action


 

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