Jamie Cocozza, standing as a Scottish Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (STUSC) candidate in the Glasgow Shettleston ward by election, ran a dynamic campaign that has laid a base from which to challenge Labour and the SNP in the area in the future. Under an STV system Jamie came fifth out of twelve candidates with 68 first preference votes, 1.8%, the turnout was 17%. Labour, campaigning on the record on their popular recently deceased councillor comfortably beat the SNP.
STUSC came behind the Tories and UKIP, but ahead of the Lib Dems and Greens who both have the advantage of a national profile. Jamie’s vote was almost double that of the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) and polled higher than an ex-Labour councillor who ran on a populist anti-bedroom tax ticket.
UKIP also ran a visible campaign and benefited from national press coverage. A freezing storm on polling day kept the turnout low.
The Labour candidate’s first preferences took him over the quota so second preferences were not counted, however if they had been there is evidence to believe Jamie’s vote would have increased. Our campaign had such an impact, according to SNP activists, that they had to tell voters they canvassed that it was a “two horse race” between Labour and the SNP as Jamie and STUSC were widely mentioned on doorsteps.
Our campaign was an enthusiastic mobilisation of working class fighters in the community, Socialist Party Scotland activists were joined by local anti bedroom tax and anti cuts campaigners. Over forty people were involved in campaign activity, with over twenty canvassing on each of our three weekends of action in the Sandyhills, Carmyle and Mount Vernon areas of the ward.
The whole of the ward, 12,000 households, was leafleted in just over a fortnight with our four page leaflet that outlined our program on supporting workers and communities fighting the cuts, public ownership of the energy companies, building an anti eviction army against the Bedroom Tax and an Independent Socialist Scotland.
We also distributed 7,000 postcards in the final week of the campaign emphasising that Jamie as a socialist councillor would support workers and communities taking action against the cuts and put forward a motion for a “no cuts” budget to the council meeting the needs of services and communities.
Jamie became a voice for workers fighting back against the Labour councils cuts agenda, contacting the press with support for the Unison Education workers strike and condemning the Labour administrations “Grangemouth”industrial relations policy of giving out 45 day redundancy notices to workers to bully them into accepting attacks on conditions.
Jamie and STUSC also drew fire from the SNP at the campaigns only hustings organised by the Save the Accord Centre campaign. The SNP lost their“radical” opposition to Labour image as their deputy leader viciously attacked the record of the Liverpool 47 councillors and attacked our policy of “no cuts budgets” as dangerous.
The enthusiastic response of people in the area to the campaign and the active involvement of a large layer of local anti cuts activists bodes well for future stronger challenge to Labour and the SNP, and gives a glimpse of the larger vote that will be possible after consistent activity in the ward.