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Overwhelming rejection of Con-Dems in Leicester
"Red Leicester" is how Radio Leicester was describing the city during the vote count last Friday. We might dispute how red it really is, but there has been an astonishing transformation of the council.
Steve Score, Leicester Socialist Party
Before the last council elections four years ago the Lib Dems controlled the city with Tory support.
Every single one of those Lib Dem councillors has now lost their seat!
The Lib Dems and Tories are reduced to one seat each compared to Labour's 52. Even the sole Lib Dem councillor was a Tory a few weeks ago and has just defected to them! The Labour vote needed weighing rather than counting.
In one ward the Labour candidates got over 6,000 votes each - astonishing for a local election. In the mayoral vote - happening for the first time - Labour got 46,500 votes, with the Tories second on 9,600 and the Lib Dems pushed into fourth by an independent.
In the Leicester South parliamentary byelection Labour won with an increased majority. This landslide represents an overwhelming rejection of the coalition government and its public sector cuts and attacks on working class people.
If ever Labour had a mandate to oppose the Con-Dem cuts it would be now. If the mayor and the council were to reverse Labour's council cuts and begin a campaign to force the government to come up with more cash, they would get overwhelming support.
However, they do not plan to do this. Instead, they will push ahead with cuts such as closing old people's homes, shutting day care centres for the disabled and destroying many other services.
As these cuts start to have an impact on more and more people, Labour supporters will want to know why they are doing this. That is why it was so important for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) alongside others in 'Vote Against Cuts in Leicester' to stand anti-cuts candidates and put forward an alternative to just accepting the government's cuts.
In this slate there were 13 council candidates, including nine Socialist Party members and four from 'Unity For Peace and Socialism' (UPS), plus the mayoral candidate.
Considering how widely stretched we were we were extremely pleased with our results. In the multi-seat wards where we stood a full slate of candidates we got 5.3% for TUSC in Braunstone, and 4.5% and 4.3% for UPS in Evington and Coleman respectively.
Mohinder Farma, for UPS, got 1,944 votes for mayor. We had significant donations and support from a wide layer of trade unionists and anti-cuts campaigners and broadened our support into new areas.
Above all we feel that an important step has been made along the route of creating a working class political alternative in the city as part of the national movement against cuts.