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After local elections Tories isolated in Suffolk Direct Councils (but still have a grip on the County Council and a full slate of some of the worst MPs in the country).

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There’s been a string of defeats for the Tories in the local elections this year. One feature has been the rise of the Greens (who however did badly in former stronghold, Brighton).

This is Suffolk:

https://twitter.com/Pabloite/status/1661373549129474050?s=20

How should people on the left react?

A good place to start looking at the Green local elections in Suffolk results is here, Kevin Crane A Strange Birth of Green England? (Counterfire).

“Suffolk has had Green councillors for a while, but these results were a tidal wave for the party. They doubled their number of wards to seize total control of the Mid-Suffolk district and finished as the largest council groups in the Coastal and Babergh (southern Suffolk) districts. In this ultra-rural county – which has no actual cities – it was only in Ipswich and relatively urbanized West Suffolk that the party failed to break through. This places the Greens in control of most of the administrations in a corner of the country that has never not been run by the Tories. I grew up in the area, and quite frankly if I had been told even a couple of years ago that our local Knight-of-the-Shire Conservative establishment would one day be swept out in favour of a party routinely labelled ‘loony left’ or even ‘extremist’ in Tory newspapers, I’d simply never have believed it. “

Comment, I would have believed it. “The third-generation powerplant, Sizewell C, caused yet another wave of local backlash when plans toward commissioning it moved forward around 2020. This prompted a spasm of oppositional activism, and some of the people and energy of this moved into the Green Party as an organising vehicle. A number of Green councillors were elected in various wards around the county. It should be pointed out that there is also a current of pro-nuclear political opinion around Sizewell. This is, however, very much centred around the unions, notably Unite, which don’t have any traction to speak of in sleepy villages, even if they may do in the towns of Ipswich and Felixstowe. ”

This is partly the case, as Counterfire, who has a prominent UNITE activist and lay official in East Anglia, knows only too well. Though I would add that UNITE’s official views are not widely shared, outside those involved in working at or around Sizewell. The environmental destruction already being caused by the construction of Sizewell C and the dodgy dealings, the usual Tory financial trickery and the role of EDF, to start with. to get it off the ground. As somebody who has known this area (Minsmere and the Heath by Leiston) since teenage years I share this opposition.

In Ipswich the Green candidate for the General Election in 2017 had been a (very recent), former member of the Communist Party of Britain who had written for the Morning Star. I do not think it unfair to say that had a campist background. Nobody made an issue of this. Here is her pitch, “I am a Green Socialist Feminist & Trade Unionist – trained in Equalities, Workplace Representation, Women & Organisation.”

Vote Charlotte for a Greener, Fairer Ipswich

Labour, Conservatives & the Lib Dems have all been in government – & they have all let us down in many ways. I & my Party understand why 30-40% of people in Ipswich won’t come out & vote for those parties. However, people have sacrificed their own lives to ensure we would all have our democratic right to vote – please don’t waste yours. Make your vote powerful, political & make it count.

She got 840 votes, 1,6%.

It seems most sensible to me to view the Green Party’s eastern rising as a successful adaptation that they have made to a collapse in the confidence that the rural middle classes have had in the Tory Party. They’ve done this by appealing to those middle classes with a combination of environmentalism and economic conservatism. In so far as any of the wider issues on which the Greens have historically professed radicalism, such as LGBT rights, it is very unlikely that these have been factors (except perhaps a certain exhaustion many middle-class people may feel with right-wing culture war). It may well be that many Greens might have interesting criticisms of capitalism, and indeed that we may remember them playing up to these critiques in protests past. We can be very sure, however, that no such thinking made it to the doorsteps of places with names like Wetheringsett-cum-Brockford, Grundisburgh and Rickinghall Inferior.

This seems to be the case and is an excellent starting point from which to look at these results. None of the districts in Suffolk run the Greens, or their Coalitions, including West Suffolk have much of a left. Even their leaflets in the centre of Ipswich, which has a left, focused on issues like litter picking and ‘Idling’  stationary cars with their engines running.

he Greens in the UK do not have the contestable history of the German Bündnis 90/Die Grünen, or the better (left aligned) EELV in France. Or the fringe views of the US Greens. But they are not left wing, even if some of their members may be. In Suffolk, where they have created a serious base this year in local government, they are not – a few individuals apart – left wing left alone socialist. It is unclear what a ‘progressive’ alliance with them, let alone the Lib Dems (with whom they now aligned in Suffolk), will mean although some agreements are obviously better than Tory rule. Let’s not forget, in the 90s Labour ran Suffolk County Council through an agreement with the Liberals followed in the new millenium with the Lb-Dems in coalition with the Tories in Ipswich Borough Council in a hard right regime.

As a party then are not left wing, though some of them may be. There can be issues, like Brexit, where internationalists would align with the Greens (specifically the Green Party in England and Wales, GPEW, their Scottish ally, apart from many issues, is a More Borders Party which backs independence). There is obviously a case for working agreements with them in local government, to be worked out case by case. But as for a wider ‘progressive alliance’ the case has not been made and the Brighton experience indicates the limits of their ‘progressive’ stand.

Why did the Green Party lose control in Brighton and Hove?

The party suffered its worst result since 2003 as Labour gained 18 council seats compared to the last election, securing their first majority council in the city for two decades.

Written by Andrew Coates

May 24, 2023 at 3:19 pm

Posted in Greens, Labour Movement

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Blue ‘Labour’ Paul Embery Attacks East Anglian Solidarity with Ukraine.

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Critic of ‘rootless cosmopolitans’ Embery attacks Norwich City Council.

Only a few years ago….”Paul Embery refused to apologise despite criticism over an ‘antisemitic’ comment about Brexit referring to ‘rootless cosmopolitans’ A trade union official has been instructed to cease all social media activity for the moment, after he referred to “rootless cosmopolitans” in a tweet.”

This comes after Embery faced criticism for tweeting on Sunday: “I fear this encapsulates the divide in our society – between a rootless, cosmopolitan, bohemian middle-class […] and a rooted, communitarian, patriotic working-class.”  Jewish News.

Political make-up of Norwich City Council

 2023-242022-23
Labour Party2325
Green Party1311
Liberal Democrats33
Conservative Party00
Independent00
Total3939

Embery, who was promoted the Socialist Party backed Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) during the Brexit vote was a backer of the Spiked, supported the Full Brexit red-brown (Brexit Party, Communist Party of Britain, Blue Labour. fermer leftist sovereigntist front.

In the Twitter exchange that followed it looks as if Arron Bastani is s warming to the red-brown front:

Ipswich Town Hall, the Corn Hill.

Written by Andrew Coates

May 23, 2023 at 4:43 pm

TUSC celebrates 21,696 votes for ‘propaganda of the deed.”

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Hot off the Press. 256 Candidates Total 21,696 votes for Brexit Ultras of TUSC!

TUSC stand a modest but important step towards a mass workers’ electoral alternative.

The 21,696 votes won by its candidates in May’s local council elections is only a modest step forward for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) electoral alliance.  But in many ways this was the most significant campaign that TUSC has conducted since the relaunch of the coalition in September 2020.

Co-founded in 2010 by the late Bob Crow, the then general secretary of the RMT transport workers’ union, it reached its electoral zenith – to date – in 2015, when TUSC candidates in the general and local elections in May that year polled a combined total of 118,125 votes. 

….

Yet building after a defeat is not always the easiest task, with activists without a clear socialist perspective sometimes weighed down by negative aspects of the experience and unable to see a way forward. Support for the idea that trade unions or working-class community campaigners could take their own initiative at election time and stand themselves against the capitalist politicians is only now starting to revive, after almost a year of struggle against the cost-of-living crisis has shown again the latent power of the organised working class.

That’s why TUSC’s 2023 campaign was important, the propaganda of the deed. With no elections this year in Scotland or Wales, or the big cities of London, Birmingham and Bristol – for the first time since the relaunch – it was an achievement in itself to get 256 candidates across 65 councils onto the ballot paper. The reports included here give a glimpse of the impact of the different campaigns, which all left a mark. Candidates in nearly one sixth of the wards contested by TUSC reached the ‘five percent’ benchmark this year, compared to one tenth of the candidates in 2021,

Candidates in nearly one sixth of the wards contested by TUSC reached the ‘five percent’ benchmark this year, compared to one tenth of the candidates in 2021.

The Socialist Party will be arguing for TUSC to continue its pioneering work of providing a unifying umbrella for trade unionists, community campaigners and socialists of difft organisations or none, to fight together at the ballot box in the 2024 local elections and the general election to come.

But more powerful forces also need to step up to the plate.

Comments.

This result confirms TUSC’s margianality.

The Brexit ultras of the Socialist Party are on a road to nowhere, unable even properly to align with other confetti of the left, like the Breakthrough Party and the nasty Nippers of the Northern Independence Party (NIP), notable was Britain’s most famous Vegan Chris Williamson, other fragments in the People’s Alliance of the Left, not to mention the Communist Party of Britain and the SWP. 21,696 votes for 256 candidates, rough average 85 votes per candidate.

Not that the CPB did well: (from Barry)

Eastern District Felixstowe Ward last Thursday. Hagar Babbington came bottom of the poll with 154 votes. Lib Dems won with highest vote being 2288.

One US speaker (‘Gotten’ ) was happy, howdy pardner!

Written by Andrew Coates

May 10, 2023 at 4:39 pm