Gloucestershire’s Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidates would like to thank the 630 voters who supported us. Nationwide, TUSC’s bold no cuts, no privatisation message gained at least 100,000 votes.
Now we want to translate these votes into active support and campaigns.
The figures may not look brilliant alongside the results of other parties but for TUSC against cuts, a party that only came into existence a few weeks before the 2010 election, the level of support has been really encouraging. Our best parliamentary votes were recorded by Dave Nellist in Coventry North East, polling 1,769 votes, and Jenny Sutton in Tottenham, with 1,324 votes – but reasonable results were also returned in working-class areas such as Bethnal Green & Bow (949 votes), Liverpool Riverside (582), Barnsley Central (573), Walsall North (545), etc.
Over 135 parliamentary candidates and more than 650 council candidates is quite an achievement. Although the percentage of votes received was low, we encountered a lot of support for TUSC’s socialist, anti-austerity message. Many people told us they liked our ideas, our commitment and passion but felt they had to vote for other parties. We did not have the same media coverage as other parties, we were excluded from hustings and online comparisons of candidates and we had no wealthy sponsors, yet even in Gloucestershire we gained at least 630 votes.
Many working-class people, afraid of the now realised prospect of another Tory government, agreed with our anti-cuts stance but were only prepared to back a local, fighting candidate at this stage. Thus, in Southampton a rebel councillor Don Thomas was overwhelmingly re-elected. In Gloucestershire we have been able to build our group and will continue to campaign on the issues that matter – for a 10 pound minimum hourly wage; against zero hour contracts and exploitative traineeships; for trade union rights; for decent affordable homes and against privatisation.
Labour failed to win the confidence of voters because it did not take a clear and credible stand against government cuts (only 5 Labour MPs voted against January’s cuts budget). Now, more than ever, we will need to stand up against the bedroom tax, austerity and low pay.