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Coventry: Socialist campaigner Dave Nellist narrowly loses
Lenny Shail, Coventry Socialist Alternative election agent
For the 14 hours of election day in Coventry, rain fell almost without ceasing. Yet despite the terrible weather conditions Socialist Party supporters in St Michael's ward campaigned relentlessly in a hard fought battle to re-elect Dave Nellist, the sitting Socialist Party councillor.
Standing under the name of Socialist Alternative, as part of TUSC, Dave narrowly lost, receiving 1,469 votes to Labour's 1,673.
While it is disappointing to have lost Dave on the council, the Socialist Party can be proud of the very hard fought campaign of the last six months. We have continued to widen our support and deepen our roots across the ward.
Labour have benefited from the transient nature of the population in St Michael's, with a high number of students, misleading new voters that it is only a vote between Labour and the Tories.
'Leaders' of some communities also exerted enormous pressure for a Labour vote. A significant minority of voters from those communities defied the pressure and voted for Dave.
Notwithstanding these difficulties, St Michael's saw a different trend from most of the country.
Labour's vote cut
Labour's majority of 1,200 in last year's vote was cut to 200. In the Charterhouse area of the ward, Dave received 70% of the vote. In the more populated Labour-strong area we increased our vote.
A lot of St Michael's voters will be upset that they have lost Dave, widely recognised as the only real opposition councillor in the city. Many across Coventry will be both puzzled and angry that Labour put more effort into defeating Dave than Tory councillors in marginal wards.
Labour hope they've dealt the fatal blow to the Socialist Party in Coventry, but instead we have growing support both in workplaces and elections.
Across the city our candidates received 3,614 votes, 5.6%, the third-highest.
Dave and the Socialist Party will be playing a leading role in fighting to defend jobs and public services, starting with supporting public sector picket lines on 10 May.
The basis has now been laid for going to three Socialist Party branches in the city, to continue building our strong base in the trade unions and among young people, and get back in the council chamber in the future.
In The Socialist 9 May 2012:
Socialist Party election analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Socialist Party workplace news
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