TUSC steering committee post-election meeting discusses future plans
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) national steering committee held its first post-election meeting this week. Against the backdrop of a Tory-majority government committed to accelerated austerity, albeit one with the lowest ever share of support amongst the total electorate (24.4%), the need the build on the TUSC campaign to develop a socialist electoral alternative was recognised by all.
The meeting agreed a vote of thanks to all the 748 candidates - and their agents and campaign teams - who contested the elections on May 7th under the TUSC umbrella, polling a combined total of 118,125 votes.
A detailed report of the TUSC results was accepted and is now available, in PDF format, at www.tusc.org.uk/txt/338.pdf
The meeting noted the best parliamentary scores were for Dave Nellist in Coventry North West (1,769 votes, 3.9%) and Jenny Sutton in Tottenham (1,324, 3.1%) but recognised, as anticipated, that there was an almost uniform incidence of 'split voting'. This meant that many voters - in some cities by a four to one ratio - supported TUSC but, afraid of the now realised prospect of another Tory government, were only prepared to vote for a local council candidate at this stage. Most English councils outside of London had elections this year and TUSC fielded a record total of 613 candidates.
The victory of the Southampton anti-cuts 'rebel councillor' Don Thomas was applauded by the meeting. Don was re-elected for his Coxford ward, which he holds with the TUSC national steering committee member Keith Morrell, with a 37.2% share of the vote, exactly 1,000 votes ahead of Labour. There were also two Town councillors elected on Thursday on TUSC's anti-cuts platform, another sign that the fight around local council services will be a vital part of building resistance to the government.
On this basis the steering committee agreed to organise a 'councillors forum' in July, open not just to TUSC supporters but to any councillor who wants to fight, to discuss the details of how to prepare and build support for no-cuts 'needs budgets'. A TUSC directory of councils with elections in 2016 - nearly half of which are Labour-controlled - is available at www.tusc.org.uk/txt/340.pdf
The steering committee also agreed to organise a TUSC conference for September 26th to prepare for the 2016 elections, which include the elections to the National Assembly for Wales and the Greater London Authority elections as well as the local council contests (and Mayoral elections in Bristol, Liverpool and Salford). The Scottish TUSC steering committee will organise a separate conference to plan for the Scottish Parliament elections also taking place in May next year.
And lastly, a new post-election A3 TUSC broadsheet was agreed which can be ordered from the website at www.tusc.org.uk/txt/339.pdf