The Left Vote Find left candidates near you

The Left Vote
Who to vote for in May’s local elections?

By Huseyin Abudharr Ali (of Garden of Freedom)

On the 22nd of May we will see voters across England turning out to vote in the local council elections. This is an extremely important time in British politics with tough austerity being forced onto the people by the Conservative and Liberal Democrat government, also being supported by the “Labour” Party, who have betrayed their working class base.

It is also important with the rise of the right-wing anti-establishment/more establishment then the established parties and frankly more bigoted than the already institutionally bigoted of the bigger parties.

Is there a better time for you to go out and vote?

A few questions arise then on this subject. Why bother if the big three are all going to support cuts? Are there any opponents to the big three worth voting for? Can local elections make a difference? Can any opponents be trusted not to sell out if they get power? I shall try my best to answer these four questions.

The fact is that we have a form of democracy in this country and although it’s not the best form of democracy, as people only have power to choose leaders, not make decisions themselves, it is still the only system we have in Britain. To not vote is a vote for the establishment parties. By not bothering to take ten-fifteen minutes of your time to vote you are basically saying I don’t care. Well if that’s the case ten don’t complain when the establishment parties take away your public services and jobs, because your inaction contributed to it!

There are four parties to the left of Labour worth talking about. The first is the more environmentally friendly version of ‘Old’ Labour, the Green Party. The social democratic party have pledged many times recently to nationalize the railways. The Green Party have 21 Councillors out of 54 in Brighton and Hove council, more than any other party. It is the first time a party to the left of Labour has won over a council in my lifetime and I was very excited.

However, the Green Party has voted towards cuts since being in power, even allying itself with the Tories at one point. Caroline Lucas, the Greens only MP and the former leader of the party, on the other hand has been arrested for protesting against the fracking plans by the big companies. It is probably down to the individual candidate when thinking about voting for the Greens and you should find out their own personal views and intentions rather than voting for them off of the fact they are in the Green Party. Some of the members have left and the party itself is split. The Green Party, like usual, will be standing candidates all over the country.

Another party to the left of Labour is the Respect Party, whom the media have tried to call a ‘Muslim Party’, even though their most well-known member and their only MP, George Galloway, is a Scottish Catholic and also during Lee Jasper’s campaign for the Croydon North by-election, they were called a ‘Black Nationalist’ party, even though Jasper’s campaign team was the most multicultural, with White and Asian campaigners together making up more in numbers than the black campaigners. Respect though has been a victim of constant defections, started with Guardian journalist George Monbiot, then the Socialist Workers Party, then city Councillors in Tower Hamlets, then Salma Yacoub and Kate Hudson and most recently Bradford Councillors. Despite this, along with the Green Party they have the best record in elections for any group to the left of Labour in my lifetime. Respect have confirmed they are standing 6 candidates in the greater Bradford area and 3 in the Greater Manchester area. I suspect they may stand some Councillors in Tower Hamlets, as they have a big presence there.

The next party to look at is the new and exciting ‘Left Unity’, created last year after film director Ken Loach made a public appeal for a new left-wing party. This party has grown at a tremendous rate and has even had mainstream acknowledgement on the BBC’s Daily Politics, which has often purposely blocked coverage of Socialist parties. Its members include Kate Hudson, general secretary and former chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and also the Communist Party of Great Britain. Unfortunately due to the fact that the party is still in its formation stages, it will only be standing in areas where it already has a big presence. They are claiming to be about to stand candidates in Norwich, Exeter and Barnet so far and there may be more to come.

The last left-wing party to be mentioned is more a coalition than an actual party and that is the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition, more simply known as TUSC and acronym of ‘Cuts’. TUSC, or better known as ‘TUSC Against the Cuts’ are standing hundreds of candidates across the country.

It was founded by the late RMT leader Bob Crow and the Socialist Party member and former MP, Dave Nellist. It includes the Socialist Party of England & Wales and the RMT, as well as other unions who have left Labour, the Socialist Workers Party, the biggest socialist party in Britain and other community organizations. TUSC currently have only 3 Councillors across the country and no MP’s, but still have a mood of optimism, knowing they are probably the best party for socialists to vote for in the coming election. You can get a list of their 554 candidates and where they are standing on their website.

In harder times for TUSC the Guardian journalist Owen Jones called a vote for TUSC a waste of a vote. Yet others could argue that his attempts to push the Labour Party to the left and to its roots is a waste of time and the only alternative is to fight back with a new party. It might seem like a long stretch, but as the late Bob Crow said: “If you fight you may lose, if you don’t fight you will lose”.

George Galloway and Dave Nellist, the leaders of Respect and TUSC, have both shown themselves to be people who put their principles before their personal careers and both of them where kicked out the Labour ‘machine’.

So – where to?

My advice to any potential voters would be to vote for TUSC, Left Unity and Respect candidates if they are standing in your area. If not then go for a candidate on their individual profile, whether that be a Green, an ‘Old’ Labour candidate or an independent and demand the left parties to stand a candidate in your ward at the next elections. This is an important time and it is time that the British people made history and shocked the establishment by electing real socialist alternatives to the capitalist parties of the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, UKIP and Labour.

Links: Green Party, Respect, TUSC, Left Unity.

One Response to Who to vote for in May’s local elections?

  1. james? says:

    a thoughtful article but i would argue that even a rightwing green candidates is actually to the left of a labour one and at least will have the option to speak out on the issues as they are in the greens manifesto a labour candidate is constrained by there manifesto and will have the whip removed if they go against it.
    i would not vote for respect myself as there councillors have a habit of defecting to other parties and falling out with galloway so how do you know what you are getting?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *