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TUSC builds support in Leicester byelection
Tessa Warrington, Leicester Abbey ward byelection TUSC candidate
After more than a month's dedicated campaigning for TUSC, the Abbey ward byelection in Leicester was held on 9 May.
Abbey is a 'safe' Labour seat, on a city council where the party holds 52 out of 54 positions. However, the support of 11.5% of the ward's population is hardly a ringing endorsement for Labour - over 75% of the electorate didn't vote!
This shows not a general apathy, but the growing understanding that none of the main parties represent the people who elect them.
Even those who voted Labour have done so out of a desperate need for something other than the brutal attacks we face at the hands of the Con-Dems.
Yet our Labour city council has been complicit in the selling off of our elderly care homes, the cutting of council tax benefit by 20%, the implementation of the bedroom tax, the cutting of Leicester's homeless budget by a third, not to mention the cutting of adult social services as well as support for FE students and children's services, among others. These are not the actions of a party aiming to end austerity.
Why should we pay anything to make up for the crisis caused by the gambling and deceit of big business and the banks? TUSC is the largest formation standing nationally against all the cuts.
In Abbey, where we have not previously stood, TUSC won 6.7% of the vote. With an overwhelmingly positive reaction received on the doorstep, we now have a base in the area for future action and campaigns.
The dent TUSC has made in the vote in Abbey ward has set down a marker. It shows that an alternative to the cuts is possible and that people are listening and willing to fight back.
TUSC is also contesting a 6 June byelection for the Walkergate ward of Newcastle city council, whose Labour majority passed a £100 million three-year cuts programme back in March.
TUSC candidate Bobbie Cranny was one of the participants in the 2011 Youth Fight For Jobs Jarrow March, backed by six national trade unions. Bobbie completed the whole route from the north east to London.
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is an electoral alliance that stands candidates against all cuts and privatisation.
It involves the RMT transport workers' union, leading members of other trade unions including the PCS, NUT and POA, and socialists including the Socialist Party.
Don't Vote for Cuts - Councillors have a choice
How Southampton fought back against Con-Dem cuts and built support for a socialist alternative to austerity. Only £2, including p&p
Available from Socialist Books, PO Box 24697, London E11 1YD. Ring 020 8988 8789 to pay by card. www.socialistbooks.org.uk. Please make cheques payable to Socialist Books
In The Socialist 15 May 2013:
Fight the bedroom tax
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