Bristol's mayoral election saw the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) vote rise by over 450 from 2012. TUSC candidate and Bristol Socialist Party member Tom Baldwin got 1,876 first preference votes. At the same time, TUSC's local council election candidates in Bristol picked up a total of 2827 votes, an increase of over 900 on last year. The best of these was 411 for Bristol Socialist Party member Chris Farrell in Ashley.
This election showed a thirst for change. Labour's Marvin Rees thrashed 'independent' incumbent George Ferguson as people turned their back on three and a half years of arrogance and austerity.
Given the swing to Labour, increasing our vote was impressive.
It remains to be seen whether a new mayor will mean the change of direction that is badly needed. The challenge is on for Labour to reverse the cuts made by the previous mayor. Unfortunately that was not offered by Marvin Rees during the election - he said we have to "pick our battles" when asked if he would pass on further Tory cuts of over £70 million.
TUSC got a great response to our policies of opposing austerity with a no-cuts, needs-based budget and a mass anti-cuts campaign to challenge the Tory government. The potential for such a campaign is there. Campaigning has won victories in Bristol recently, reversing closure plans for six libraries and virtually all public toilets.
During the election TUSC campaigners spoke to people on doorsteps and stalls, put out thousands of leaflets, spoke at several hustings and appeared in all the local media. We had to work harder than the establishment candidates, lacking their money. Campaigning does not stop and start with elections for TUSC and the Socialist Party. We'll continue to stand alongside working class people across the city to defend our living standards, jobs and services.