The three left-of-Labour sitting councillors up for election on 5 May all lost.
The SWP’s Michael Lavalette was defeated in Preston after eight years on the council; and Ray Holmes, also an SWP member, in Bolsover after four years. In Walsall Pete Smith of the Democratic Labour Party (a local group which was part of the Socialist Alliance) lost the seat he had held since 2007.
The Socialist Party’s Rob Windsor, in Coventry, failed to win back the place on the council which he held in 2000-4 and 2006-10. Jackie Grunsell, a Socialist Party member elected to Kirklees council as “Save Huddersfield NHS” in 2006-10, failed by a large distance to win re-election there.
The “Trade Union and Socialist Coalition” (TUSC), a group set up for the 2010 general election essentially by the Socialist Party (but with the SWP also dipping a toe into it), ran 143 council candidates across the country. 26 other candidates had some sort of link with TUSC but ran under other labels.
Aside from the candidates who’d previously held council seats, nine other TUSC candidates did respectably (10% or more), but the median score was under 3%.
The candidacies were run essentially as “anti-cuts”, not as hardline revolutionary socialist propaganda exercises. Candidacies cannot be judged successful if the political demonstration they make is only that very unpopular cuts are opposed... by 3% of the voters.
The poor results cannot be put down to an unexpectedly vigorous Labour campaign. Far from it. TUSC has shrivelled to a lacklustre SP “front” which even strongly anti-cuts voters see as a sideline.
The SP itself showed its lack of confidence in TUSC by running its candidates in Coventry, its strongest area, not as TUSC but as “Socialist Alternative”.