Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 21 November 2012

Building working-class political representation

With a 5,000 deposit required to get on to the ballot paper - but with no candidates' freepost mailshot available - TUSC did not field any candidates in the Police Commissioner elections held on 15 November, dubbed by the media as Britain's 'super Thursday' with 40 million people eligible to vote.

But TUSC did stand candidates in the Manchester Central parliamentary byelection, the Bristol mayoral election, and three council byelections, held on the same day.

In the council byelections, TUSC's vote ranged from 3.9% in Rugby's New Bilton ward to 2.2% in Manchester Ardwick ward - although in Liverpool's Knotty Ash ward Charley Cosgrove outpolled both the Conservatives and the Greens.

Ukip polled more votes than TUSC in four of the contests but not overwhelmingly so - despite Nigel Farage's Question Time season ticket (while TUSC faces a media blackout).

In reality not too much can be drawn from a handful of electoral contests, either 'writing off' TUSC or exaggerating the possibilities at this stage. The most important fact is still the absence of a vehicle for working class political representation, given Labour's broad acceptance of the capitalists' austerity agenda. Standing in elections is part of the struggle to build one.

Manchester Central

The main losers in the Manchester Central byelection were the establishment parties. New Labour lost 10,000 votes. The Lib Dems and Tories lost about 85% of their 2010 election vote.

The turnout of 18.2%, the lowest in any byelection since World War Two, also squeezed the TUSC campaigns in Manchester Central for MP, vote 220, and Ardwick ward for council. Nonetheless, we believe we laid down the basis for TUSC to build in the future.

Manchester Central has the second-highest unemployment rate in England and Wales. 20,000 people are on the social housing waiting list. Yet a whole estate that could house 100 families is boarded up and standing empty after the council handed it over to developers.

Our campaign, focusing on workplaces and communities, was supported by trade unionists from across the city, especially from the RMT transport workers' union.

In the only husting, we comprehensively defeated the mainstream parties, including the Greens. Supporters of other candidates applauded our policies rather than the insipid positions put forward by the main parties.

The decimated turnout reflected widespread rejection of the Tory idea of police commissioners and the failure of the mainstream media to cover the byelection in any depth. We suffered a total blackout from the establishment media despite running one of the most visible campaigns.

Unfortunately, we also faced competition from George Galloway's Respect party, which put forward a candidate at the last minute. This was after Respect's initial candidate, Kate Hudson, stepped down following Galloway's comments on rape.

TUSC nationally had written to Respect to seek to coordinate electoral challenges but so far they have not been prepared to talk. Respect finished below TUSC in this byelection, but a combined left vote could have outpolled the far-right, racist BNP.

In Ardwick ward, TUSC's candidate Shari Holden beat the BNP. This shows the potential for the working class, anti-cuts alternative put forward by TUSC to drive back the far right.

Supporters in our city will be now discussing what steps to take to build TUSC.

Alex Davidson, TUSC Manchester Central candidate


Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts (TUSC) gained 1,412 first preference votes in the election for mayor of Bristol. For comparison the Liberal Democrats, who lead the city council, polled just over 6,000 votes while the Greens, with two city councillors, managed 5,248 votes.

This was a creditable result given the large number of competitors and marks a step forward for TUSC in the city. Unfortunately, we were also up against a candidate from Respect - selected without an attempt to discuss with TUSC - although a combined vote of almost 3,000 shows a good growth in support for anti-cuts candidates.

Despite spending a tiny fraction of the 60,000 the top two candidates both sunk into the election, we were able to bring an anti-austerity, socialist alternative to a wide audience. We got an unprecedented amount of coverage from the local paper, TV and radio - over 30 mentions in all.

Socialist Party members provided the backbone of the campaign with daily activity. Members of the Bristol rail branch of the RMT gave not only a donation but also actively helped to distribute material.

The winner of the election was the 'independent' George Ferguson, a former Lib Dem and millionaire businessman. Such is the disillusionment in the main parties that he was able to win despite a virtual silence about what he stands for.

Labour was the strong favourite up until the election itself. However, without offering a real alternative to the Con-Dem cuts, it was unable to gain enough votes.

Figures show a huge gulf in the turnout between wealthier parts of the city and working class wards, a gap of almost four to one at its widest.

With the new mayor pledging to announce over 25 million of cuts in the next six weeks the fight to defend jobs and services goes on. The TUSC campaign took the arguments against austerity to a wider audience and has put it in a strong position to play an important role in that fightback.

Tom Baldwin, Bristol TUSC mayoral candidate


The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is an electoral alliance that stands candidates against all cuts and privatisation. Its backers include the RMT transport workers' union, leading members of other trade unions including the PCS, NUT and POA, the Socialist Party and the Socialist Workers Party.

Find out more at

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 21 November 2012:


Home   |   The Socialist 21 November 2012   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  

Related links:


triangleBuilding support for Corbyn's anti-cuts policies in the local elections

triangleScene set for TUSC conference electoral debate

triangleBirmingham Central Socialist Party: Local elections 2018 - What should socialists do?

trianglePCS union 2018 elections - nominate the left slate for a continued fighting leadership

triangleTrade Unionist and Socialist Coalition conference


triangleHow Blairism sank its claws into the Labour Party

triangleSocialist Party Congress 2017 reports


triangleLecturers strike around country in defence of pensions

triangleBristol anti-cuts campaigners debate alternatives to the cuts

triangleBristol North Socialist Party: 'You can't have capitalism without racism' - was Malcolm X correct?


triangleAfter 80 strike days Mears workers achieve victory

triangleManchester Socialist Students: 200 years of Marxism


triangleOutrageous sentence for TUSC agent in 'misleading electors' court case


triangleBlairite mayor faces open election after democratic 'irregularities' - fight for a no-cuts mayor


triangleBradford protests against kids' service cuts

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Lecturers strike around country in defence of pensions



German engineering strike puts shorter week on agenda - but could have won more



Cardiff Refugee Rights gig success



Nottingham hospital black alert


East Midlands

Lively discussion at East Midlands Socialist Party conference


West Midlands

Tremendous determination on show at West Midlands conference



Successful Socialist Party Wales conference sets tone for the year ahead



Bradford protests against kids' service cuts


May Day

May Day, May Day! Celebrate solidarity!



Labour councillors push through savage cuts in Kirklees budget



Save Salford nurseries!



Victory: Pontllanfraith leisure centre saved



Northants council crisis - protesters demand an end to cuts and privatisation



Leicester Uni makes Tory fee tripler David Willetts chancellor - sack Willetts!



Bosses divided - university pension strikes can win!

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

February 2018

January 2018