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From The Socialist newspaper, 8 May 2019

Leicester elections: "We planted a marker for the future"

Protesting against Leicester council cuts, photo by Leicester Socialist Party

Protesting against Leicester council cuts, photo by Leicester Socialist Party   (Click to enlarge)

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.

Cutbacks

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!"

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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 8 May 2019:


Socialist Party election analysis

Local elections: Tory meltdown but Labour loses ground

England council elections: socialist anti-cuts message chimes with voters

Leicester elections: "We planted a marker for the future"

Bolsover elections: Labour's cuts councillors punished by voters

Halton Brook election: support for our policies on doorstep


International socialist news and analysis

Spanish elections - new upheavals underline need for a revolutionary socialist alternative


Socialist Party news and analysis

Climate catastrophe looms: we need socialist change

Young and old, unite and fight!

Water bosses plan to undermine nationalisation: no compensation for fat cats!

Northern Ireland: Socialist wins council seat

Them & Us


Workplace news and analysis

Unions must back a general election and oppose bosses' EU

Doncaster NHS pay win shows: strikes can get results!

PCS union: listen to members, link the campaigns - we can win fight on pay

Usdaw union conference demands action on pay, jobs and the right

UCU general secretary election: fight for a left leadership!

Newham gas workers to strike

Hull dinner ladies protest against loss of week's pay

Asda workers protest against attacks on paid breaks and bank holiday working

Woolwich Ferry staff to strike over pay and safety

Radiographers' union slams professional costs


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Labour launches homelessness campaign

Socialist vision at Leeds May Day rally

Alternative housing awards shames bosses


Opinion

Sequel to 'A Very British Coup' - workers' struggle, not bosses' EU and media, is route to socialism

'Line of Duty' - twists and turns as organised crime meets police corruption

The Socialist Inbox


 

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