Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1041/29081
Leicester elections: "We planted a marker for the future"
Leicester Socialist Party
"We'll use cash reserves to set a no-cuts budget" was the Leicester Mercury headline when it reported our manifesto for the Leicester mayoral and city council elections.
The article went on to say that using reserves was "necessary in order to build a campaign to get the money from the government we need for these services." This was just one example of the media coverage we got.
Our aims were to publicise a fighting socialist alternative to the cuts and to raise the profile of the Socialist Party in the city: We believe we were successful.
We had no illusions in what our vote would be, especially given our limited resources.
However, the 1,643 votes for socialist mayoral candidate Steve Score plus 1,237 votes across our ten council candidates, shows that our fighting socialist programme got an echo. Our campaigning also resulted in many applications to join the party.
Despite Jeremy Corbyn's national call to oppose austerity, the Labour mayor and council have overseen cuts of 60% in services in ten years, excluding social care.
The mayor avoided a Labour selection process earlier this year because right-wing union officials blocked it by using the votes of affiliated branches - which had never been consulted.
The best of the pro-Corbyn Labour activists supported us and many even admitted to secretly voting for us. We took care not to stand against genuine pro-Corbyn Labour candidates.
We wrote to all candidates with a detailed proposal of how Leicester's reserves could be used to set a no-cuts budget.
We explained how this would create time to build a mass campaign. We also used our record as part of the successful campaign to save Glenfield Children's Heart Centre to show that it was possible to win.
Some of our opponents falsely claimed that a no-cuts budget was "illegal". When that was answered they said there wasn't enough in reserves.
Finally, they retreated to saying that the sort of campaign we were calling for could not be built - revealing either no concept of, or faith in, the ability of the working class to struggle.
Labour has consolidated its complete dominance on the council, with 53 out of 54 councillors. But there could be tension within the Labour group over cuts.
The Socialist Party will be calling for the building of a movement in cooperation with left councillors and local trade unions in the ongoing fight against the cuts.
As our election agent and one of the candidates, Tessa Warrington, said: "We have planted a marker for the future, raising a bold socialist position and maintaining our record as consistent class fighters in the city.
I'm so proud of all our members who stood and campaigned both locally and nationally, recognising that it was not about them as individuals but the ideas of our party. Onwards and upwards - join the Socialist Party!"
In The Socialist 8 May 2019:
Socialist Party election analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis
Workplace news and analysis
Socialist Party reports and campaigns