Today the Leicester Mercury reported that: “Labour has convincingly won the first Leicester City Council election since 2011.”
Although Labour certainly won yesterdays Abbey Ward by-election, the victory can hardly be considered triumphant or convincing, as only 11.5 % of the wards electorate voted for the Labour candidate: hardly a glowing endorsement of Labour.
Nevertheless the Mercury’s headline read “Labour triumph in Leicester City Council’s Abbey ward by-election”; adding that Labour has now “claimed the result as an endorsement of the party’s running of the city since its landslide election victory in 2011.”
What yesterdays electoral result does represent, however, was the endorsement and active support that a right-wing Labour candidate could rely upon from the so-called leftish-leaning councillors of the Labour Party in Leicester.
Surely the small number of Labour councillors on the left-wing of the corporatized Labour machine could have made their excuses – maybe even chucked a sickie – and refused to help yet another Blairite to victory in Leicester!
I say this because the Vijay Singh Riyait, the newly elected councillor for Abbey Ward, is a member of the strategy board of a right-wing pressure group situated within the Labour Party which is funded by Lord Sainsbury of all people.
Alternatives to Labour do however exist, and the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidate Tessa Warrington polled a stellar 165 votes in comparison to Riyait’s “triumphant” 1,190.
One can only hope that in the future the small handful of Labour Party councillors in Leicester who are committed to serving their electorate, and not just passing on the Con-Dem’s cuts, will break from Labour and join TUSC in our ongoing efforts to create a genuine working-class party for people to really vote for.