5 May 2013
2013 Local Elections:
The TUSC results in full
A COMPREHENSIVE account of the TUSC results from Thursday’s local elections is now available at TUSC election report.
One hundred and twenty candidates, standing in 117 wards in 20 councils, contested the English local elections on May 2nd under the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) umbrella. In addition, TUSC stood a candidate in the Doncaster mayoral contest and two candidates in council by-elections that were held on the same day.
Elections took place in 35 English local authorities, to fill 2,362 seats. TUSC stood at least one candidate in twenty councils with elections (60%), contesting 5% of the seats. This contrasts markedly with when these particular seats were previously contested in the four-yearly local elections cycle in 2009, before the formation of TUSC. Then, a year after the financial crisis had broken, there were literally less than a handful of candidates presenting a working class alternative to the pro-austerity consensus.
The spread of candidates also compares with the situation in 2011 – the first local elections seriously contested by TUSC when we fielded a candidate in 2% of the seats – and 2012 when TUSC stood in 25% of the councils with elections, in 4% of the seats.
This year it was mainly county councils up for election, overwhelmingly Conservative controlled after Labour’s 24% vote share in 2009 – although Cumbria had been run by a Labour-Conservative coalition! The Tories held 1,477 (62%) of the seats to Labour’s 273 going into the May 2nd poll.
It would be totally wrong, however, to caricature this year’s elections as mostly rural contests. The councils that were up for election administer a range of services – from education, adult social care and youth provision, to libraries, highways and emergency services – that cover a population of 24 million, control combined budgets of £43 billion, and employ 750,000 workers (including school staff). Workers living and using public services in these local authority areas are being hit by austerity politics.
But the councils up this year are not the same terrain as the metropolitan boroughs that will be facing elections next year. It will be harder then for Labour candidates, for example, to present themselves as ‘anti-cuts’ in Labour controlled councils.
The election report includes a ‘league table’ presenting the TUSC results in percentage order and, separately, the results of all parties’ candidates for each seat contested by TUSC. There is also a comparison of the results achieved by TUSC candidates, aggregated into local authority-wide figures, with the votes won by Labour, Green and Liberal Democrat candidates in the seats TUSC contested.
Significant features of the results include:
■ The TUSC candidate for the mayor of Doncaster, Mary Jackson, polled 1,916 votes in Ed Miliband’s ‘backyard’ (he is the MP for Doncaster North).
■ Mary’s 3.1% share of the vote put her in sixth place, ahead of the Liberal Democrats and not far short of the other ‘party of government’, the Tories, who polled 2,811 votes.
■ The total vote for all TUSC candidates on May 2nd was 10,182.
■ In the local council seats that TUSC contested, the ratio of Labour voters to TUSC voters this year was fourteen. In other words, for every person who voted for TUSC (8,188 in the local council elections), there were 14 people who voted Labour (119,204).
■ This ratio has widened compared to that in the 2011 and 2012 local elections – although, in a metropolitan council comparator, the ratio narrowed in Bristol compared to the 2011 local elections in that city (the last council elections there) and last November’s Bristol mayoral poll.
■ Across the local council wards and county council divisions that TUSC contested, the ratio of Green voters (19,652) to TUSC voters (8,188) was two-and-a-half. For the Liberal Democrats, defending 353 seats in these polls, the ratio of their voters (43,521) to TUSC voters was five to one.
The Labour Party put up more candidates this year – 2,174, in 92% of the seats – than in recent previous local elections. In 2011, for example, still recovering from the 2010 general election defeat, Labour fielded candidates for just 72% of the seats available and eight TUSC candidates did not face a Labour opponent. This year every TUSC candidate faced a Labour candidate, in a context where Labour controlled just one council before May 2nd.
Next year though nearly half of the councils up for election are Labour controlled – and they will have just set their budgets for a fourth year of implementing the Con-Dem cuts. The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition’s fight to present an anti-austerity alternative to the establishment parties will move into a different gear.