TUSC contested three seats across Nottinghamshire: Mansfield North, Hucknall and Carlton East. At the last elections in 2009, Labour lost control of the council, which they had held since 1981, to the Tories. In Hucknall, an ex-mining town, the three seats had been won by two Tory candidates and one UKIP candidate.
Our campaign was focused on the cuts the Tories have been making locally, including sacking 3000 council workers, closing 22 day services and privatising elderly people’s homes. We argued throughout the campaign that whilst the Tories are responsible for these attacks both locally and nationally, we needed to build a fighting working class alternative – something that would not be provided by Labour or UKIP.
Labour won control of the council and UKIP lost their only councillor in the county. TUSC polled a respectable 158 votes in Hucknall, 145 in Mansfield North and 67 in Carlton East. Those who voted for us liked our clear message, that we are 100% anti-cuts, that the mess we are in is caused by the rich and the bankers, and that they should be made to pay. There was concern on the doorstep about the bedroom tax, which Labour nationally has not promised to scrap. Many held their noses and voted Labour, for nice, gentle cuts as opposed to vicious Tory cuts.
The election has meant that TUSC has made a step forward in Nottinghamshire by involving council workers in the campaign who know their jobs and services are still under threat despite Labour regaining control. After helping with the campaign, these trade unionists want to continue to support TUSC. One of the councillors in Mansfield North is on the leadership of the Labour group, and her position on cuts is ambiguous, to say the least. Now they are hoping we will go away but we are committed to building a genuine anti-cuts alternative in Nottinghamshire.