A View from Liverpool and the North West
5 March 2014
Minnows on the Shoulders of Giants
There are times when I think back to the proud history of the Labour Party. This was the party that took an entire political system that was set up to exclude the working class at the beginning of the 20th Century. It was the party that launched the welfare state after World War 2, establishing a post war consensus based on a social democrat model of society, with full employment, benefits and public services free at the point of use.
This was the party of Aneurin Bevan, Clement Atlee and indeed Harold Wilson, who stopped Britain getting sucked into Vietnam. I say this was, because that it how it feels, and I write in partial anger and partial sadness. You see just a sliver of what Labour could be sometimes. Ed Miliband says Labour will scrap the Bedroom Tax, which is great, but how long did it take to make that commitment? How many focus groups needed to be consulted? What calculations about the marginal constituencies had to be made? Was it about the principle, or was it about how many votes it would win?
Labour is just 14 months from a likely General Election, with forecasters predicting an overall majority for them. So far we know that:
- They will stick to the Tory and Lib Dem spending plans for 2015/16
- They will cut the deficit faster than the coalition
- They will stick to most of the reforms introduced by the most loathed Education Secretary in recent history
- They will honour a deal on nuclear power that will lock British people into expense energy (and more nuclear waste) for generations to come
- They are still going to renew Trident when libraries, Sure Start centres and Adult Social Care hubs are being closed down
But I don’t want to say that all Labour councillors are bad, or that all Labour MPs have given up that fight. That isn’t true. Sadly though, at a council level, their leaders no longer have the courage to do anything that moves more than a few inches from the position of their yellow and blue rivals. In a tale of two councils, Brighton & Hove and here in Liverpool, the Greens offered a challenge. Raise council tax 4.75% or 5%. Fight a referendum campaign in your city to win the consent of the people for funding to save adult care.
A referendum could have been fought and won in both cities, in two totally different political contexts, but with the sure knowledge that the attention of the country would have been on the result. A city (or two) could have made the point loud and clear that the majority are prepared to pay a little extra to fund the social care of the elderly, the vulnerable and the disabled. That would have been the context for the General Election.
There is little fight in Labour any more. Bevan is history from another century. Labour’s leaders today are minnows resting on the shoulders of giants.
Watch a documentary called Gas land and tell me Fracking is safe i will even supply you with a copy..
As the two parties began scoring political points amongst themselves, virtually everyone walked out of the public gallery in disgust.
“We’ve left the meeting because it just turned into a playground charade between a group of councillors who just want to have a go at each other while, behind the scenes, they’re all in support of taking £27million out of Salford’s budget” said Salford City UNISON branch secretary Steve North “It’s ridiculous, you’ve got the Tories proposing attacks on the workforce, you’ve got the Mayor smirking because he thinks he’s better than that – but he’s voting through cutting people’s jobs and indirectly attacking people’s terms and conditions. But he thinks he’s better than the Tories…
“The fact is they’re all playing the Government’s game, they’re all playing the rich’s game and we’re all going to suffer” he added “And they hang about in that room on a Wednesday afternoon and pretend that there’s some difference between them, when fundamentally they’re all pro cuts and they’re all taking decisions against the people of Salford.”
Earlier, before the Council meeting started, there was a big protest outside Salford Civic Centre with speaker after speaker telling how they had been let down by Mayor Ian Stewart and the Council’s policies.
They cream of almost a million between them in allowances bleat like sheep over the Tory PM and then slash a poor kids Holiday camp,and they think they deserve your vote.
SALFORD COUNCIL CUTS SERVICES TO PAY FOR PRESTIGE PROJECTS
Star date: 26th February 2014
A Salford Star Exclusive
SERVICES TO VULNERABLE CUT TO PAY FOR BRIDGES, WALKWAYS, CHAPEL ST AND MORE
This afternoon Salford Council is meeting to rubber stamp new cuts of £24.561million, with a big protest planned outside the Civic Centre for 1pm.
The cuts include the axe for lots of services for the most vulnerable people in the city – but the Salford Star has discovered that some of the cuts are being made, in part, to finance Council spending on prestige projects. The Star tried to ask the Council about this but it never responded. Why?
Full details here…
at 2:44:13 AM on Tuesday, February 25, 2014
salford council dont give two shits about services or vulnerable or disabled people.they make it look as though they are open to consultation and suggestions but there minds are already made up .until salford people rise up and oust these thoughtless and self centred councilors out of office starting with the mayor things will only get worse
Well it looks like Salford Labour will push through the TORY cuts and a few crocodile tears will fall but be assured none of the Labour Mayors will be out of pocket.
SALFORD CAMPAIGNERS LOBBY LABOUR PARTY CUTS COUNCILLORS
Star date: 25th February 2014
`WE’RE NOT PUTTING UP WITH IT’
Last night council workers joined with community activists, and family and friends of some of the most vulnerable people in the city in a last ditch plea to ruling Labour Party councillors not to pass £24.5million of cuts at the full meeting of Salford Council on Wednesday afternoon.
Before a further protest at 1pm on Wednesday outside the Civic Centre, letters were handed to councillors spelling out the horror of their cuts, urging them not to do the dirty work of the ConDem Government.
Full details here…