Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/792/17871
Building TUSC in byelections
In spite of a media blackout, with the Liverpool Echo only publicising the TUSC Riverside ward candidate on election day, John Marston received 49 votes, a respectable 3.6% of the vote.
Labour, if not the candidate, received wall to wall coverage in the Echo for their 'brave' management of the cuts.
The abysmal 11% turnout, reflecting the 'no vote' mood which has permeated British politics, was reinforced by the appalling storms on election day.
Labour's candidate took 1,055 votes. The Greens took 144 votes. Ukip came third with 119 votes.
It was a virtual wipe-out for the two other mainstream parties. The Con-Dems managed only 103 votes.
TUSC conducted a lively campaign with Socialist Party members and allies distributing quality leaflets and the only Party organising a public meeting.
The campaign firms up the basis for TUSC to build on. The 89% who didn't vote are a key target for future activity.
Jamie Cocozza, standing as a Scottish Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (STUSC) candidate in the Glasgow Shettleston ward byelection, ran a dynamic campaign that has laid a base to challenge Labour and the SNP in the future.
Under the single transferable vote system, Jamie came fifth out of 12 candidates with 68 first preference votes, 1.8%. The turnout was 17%. Labour, campaigning on the record of their popular recently deceased councillor, comfortably beat the SNP.
STUSC came behind the Tories and Ukip, but ahead of the Lib Dems and Greens that both have the advantage of a national profile.
The Labour candidate's first preferences took him over the quota so second preferences were not counted. If they had been it is likely Jamie's vote would have increased.
SNP activists said they told voters it was a "two horse race" between Labour and the SNP, as Jamie and STUSC were widely mentioned on doorsteps.
Our campaign was an enthusiastic mobilisation of working class fighters in the community, as Socialist Party Scotland activists were joined by local anti-bedroom tax and anti-cuts campaigners.
The results of the votes for Katrine Williams in Splott ward, and myself in Riverside ward, were 4.5% and 3.1%, respectively.
Both results are an improvement on the last election and each vote shows support for an alternative and a new mass workers' party. Labour won both polls, but in Riverside we beat the Lib Dems.
The campaigns in Cardiff were run simultaneously, with limited resources, yet we still contested against all the establishment parties who have national recognition, high funding and constant media coverage.
We must also show to each person who came across us in the election that we are not just here to pay lip-service during elections, but as candidates and as the Socialist Party that will stand up for their interests and defend every job, every public service, against austerity and against the current government and future governments who continue to value money ahead of people.
Joel Beer, TUSC candidate
Why don't you stand?
If there is a byelection in your area and you're prepared to stand as a TUSC candidate, get in touch. One thing you will need to do is to get a Certificate of Authorisation from the TUSC National Nominating Officer to hand in with the nomination papers to the local council returning officer. An application form is available on the TUSC website at www.tusc.org.uk/candidates.php
The TUSC national steering committee is also appealing for candidates to come forward for next May's local council elections. To get what the BBC calls 'balanced media coverage', parties need to contest 15% of the seats up for election - that means 625 TUSC candidates in the 2014 local elections. Could you be one of those? Check out the TUSC website for details.
Remember - if there is no trade unionist or socialist candidate standing as an alternative to the austerity parties, a cuts candidate will win unchallenged.
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition conference
Councillors can make a difference... but only if they are prepared to fight
Come to the conference to discuss TUSC's campaign in the May 2014 local elections
London - Saturday 1 February - 11am-4.30pm
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is an electoral alliance that stands candidates against all cuts and privatisation. It involves the RMT transport workers' union, leading members of other trade unions including the PCS, NUT and POA, and socialist groups including the Socialist Party. www.tusc.org.uk
In The Socialist 11 December 2013:
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition