Socialist Worker

TUSC campaigns have built networks to take on austerity

by Nick Clark
Issue No. 2453

TUSC candidates on the 21 March Stand Up to Racism demonstration in London

TUSC candidates on the 21 March Stand Up to Racism demonstration in London (Pic: Socialist Worker)


The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) stood parliamentary candidates across Britain.

The results were uneven. In some areas TUSC candidates received small but encouraging votes. 

In Tottenham, north London, Jenny Sutton increased her share of the vote to 3.1 percent from 2.6 percent in 2010.

TUSC chair Dave Nellist, standing in Coventry North West, increased his share of the vote to 3.9 from the 3.7 percent he got when he stood in Coventry North East in 2010. 

In Barnsley Central, TUSC candidate Dave Gibson won 1.6 percent with 573 votes.

And in Doncaster Central, where there hasn’t been a left challenge since 2001, first-time candidate Mev Akram won 1 percent.

In other seats candidates improved on previous left results but remained below 1 percent.

Portsmouth North TUSC candidate Jon Woods also increased his share of the from 2010 despite an overall swing from Labour to the Tories.

He told Socialist Worker, “The overall swing to the Tories and Ukip in England was clearly evident in Portsmouth. That TUSC modestly increased its vote was down to the hard work of everyone who campaigned.

“The response we got was positive, but often people would say they agreed with TUSC but would vote Labour to try to get rid of the Tory MP.

Early 

“We are still in the early stages of building a left challenge to Labour. To increase the vote for TUSC among a big swing to the right is a real achievement.”

In some areas the results were more disappointing—particularly where the share of the left vote fell.

Other left candidates also suffered setbacks. Bradford West Respect MP George Galloway lost his seat to Labour. He had won it from Labour in a landslide by-election victory in a 2012 .

But TUSC activists used the campaigns to build the fight against austerity after the election.

Jenny told Socialist Worker, “The point was to build a network of activists on the ground—that’s exactly what we’ve done in Tottenham.

“Even though our support wasn’t reflected in the vote we were very successful in getting out the message that austerity is a con in the interests of the rich.

“Things don’t change in parliament unless there’s a movement on the streets—that’s the next step.”

The task now is to build on the networks established through the campaigning. The result of the election shows the need to fight for a more united left wing alternative.

Jenny said, “We’re going to follow up our campaign with a public meeting on housing and regeneration—and we’ll be having regular meetings around the cuts.

“One thing is clear is—we can’t wait for Labour. There’s no option but to fight.”


Local election results 

TUSC also stood candidates in the local elections. 

In Coventry, TUSC candidates received 4,389 votes. Meanwhile In Leicester they won 4,440—although rebel councillors Wayne Naylor and Barbara Potter did not manage to hold their seats.

In other areas such as Doncaster, Liverpool and Southampton TUSC won more than 3,000 votes.

Alistair Wingate won 312 votes in Lozells ward in Birmingham.

He told Socialist Worker, “When people asked how we differed  to the mainstream, I told them our politics is about resistance. They were open to the idea that there should be some sort of challenge to the system.”

He added, “We’ll now try and get some of those people on the coach to the People’s Assembly demo in June.”


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