The Socialist 12 May 2010 |
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Coventry elections: strong socialist support
On 6 May, 2,653 Coventry people voted socialist in the general election and over 4,400 in the council elections. Coming just as the three establishment parties plan to raise our taxes and assault our wages, pensions and services, this represents a solid platform from which socialist support can advance.
Dave Griffiths, West Midlands Socialist Party secretary
Many people in St Michaels ward in Coventry were shocked to hear that they had lost Rob Windsor as a councillor. Socialists fought a vigorous campaign but, despite increasing Rob's vote by 580 to our highest ever in St Michaels, our vote was drowned by the wave of Coventry voters wanting to keep out a Tory government.
Margaret Thatcher's Tories ripped the industrial heartland out of Coventry. Tens of thousands of jobs went and left a sense of decline. While many have become disillusioned with Labour, they dislike the Tories even more, fearing the damage they might unleash again. That is why, even when canvassing during the MPs' expenses scandal, many told us: "I agree with you lot more and more, but I may not vote for you yet".
The media election coverage had a very 'presidential' flavour. In fact Socialist Party members have reported five conversations with people who complained they went to their polling station and found they couldn't vote for Brown or Clegg! In St Michaels we saw most people's (especially less regular voters') general election choice carry straight over to the council election. In Coventry that was predominantly Labour.
The Tory vote in St Michaels rose from 400 to 1,400 and Labour's from 1,100 to 2,900. Had people had a third ballot paper with the Labour candidate's description as 'Murder your mother', many may still have put an 'X' by it if that meant keeping the Tory wolves from the door! Labour is not popular, but the Tories are less popular in Coventry.
Labour now runs Coventry council and plans to cut £10 million of services this year and will announce more cuts at the end of the year. When the scale of the attacks becomes clear, it will provoke a reaction from working people.
Labour will make cuts
Any disappointment at losing such an excellent councillor as Rob Windsor will be nothing compared to the disappointment that will be felt by those in St Michaels and elsewhere who see 'potholes', not just in the roads, but appearing across housing, transport, education, health, welfare and social services as the common cuts agenda of the big three parties is rolled out.
We largely held our vote. More and more people listen to and many agree with what we are saying. We can turn this into stronger support and a stronger party in the future. Labour only has a St Michaels seat 'on rent' for a year and we can win it back and advance in other parts of the city.
The Socialist Party will go forward with confidence. We enjoyed more trade union support than ever before. This year's socialist voters will be joined by many more. If you gave us support in the polling booth, don't leave it at that, but get involved, do what you can or better still join the Socialist Party.