Sunday 20 December 2015

'Better to break the law than break the poor' - a response to Corbyn's council cuts strategy

This is Jeremy Corbyn's letter on local council cuts and a response from Felicity Dowling, one of the Liverpool 47 - councillors who refused to implement cuts in the 1980s.

This is what Felicity Dowling, one of the  47 Liverpool councillors stripped from office, fined and banned from standing again after Liverpool Council adopted the slogan 'better to break the law than break the poor' and refused to implement Tory cuts has to say
"As one of the Liverpool Councillors from the 1980s, I obviously disagree with the Labour Party decision to support cuts budgets at local government level.

 What though could they do to effectively oppose these cuts with this 'legal'framework?

- They could honestly explain to the people in their wards what the effect of the cuts will be. No false distractions with how great they are doing while services are in reality being broken.
- They could insist all council reports are written in plain English and openly explain the likely consequences.
 - They could organise community self defence groups in their community and make sure all council buildings and services are open to them.
 - They could hold public meetings to explain the situation.
 - They could insist that not one penny was spent on municipal fripperies and receptions for the rich.
 - They could liaise with local authority workers for a huge national demonstration. - They could defend local authority trade union rights to organise
. - They could open all public buildings as places of succour and sanctuary in the cold weather. - Every home in the local authority control could be made available for social housing.
 - Different councillors could become champions of the different services.
 - They could declare that this is an emergency and operate as such.
- Every day they could be organisers for working class communities and recruit hundreds of thousands of people to socialist politics and workplace organisation, building a mass movement.
 - They could organise lots of study groups and action groups on different issues.
 - They could link all the Labour Councils together in a coordinated national campaign.
 - They could become a voice that could be heard despite the press and media whiteout of the effect of the cuts.
- They could link with all the other campaigns for housing, education, health and social care.
- They could build links with other councils in Europe facing cuts.

 Such campaigns would give hope to the desperate, courage to those tiring in the struggle, inspiration to the weary workers in the services and present an alternative. Left Unity would certainly help.What we won't accept is that our communities must suffer in silence until 2020."


Anonymous said...

A genuinely inspiring response from Felicity Dowling. But the things she lists that 'they could' do would require a 'they' of an entirely different nature and quality than the 'they' that most councils consist mostly of. Centralised power has got things nicely tied up so that it holds all the cards and, if required, the weaponry. Local government will complain about its incrementally increasingly-straitened circumstances and then carry on playing its very important role in its own decline.

Mike Hine
PS One small point: why is Labour offering us best wishes for the 'Festive Season'? You don't have to believe in its religious origins; you don't have to celebrate or even recognise it yourself; you don't have to take part in or enjoy anything about it; whatever your attitude to it may be, this time of year nevertheless is still called, and is very likely to remain called, bloody CHRISTMAS!

Anonymous said...

So we're going through a re-run of Labour's 1980s "dented shield" policy, where we denounce Tory cuts in principle and implement them in practice. I was at a meeting in County Hall in 1984 or 85 during the miners' strike when Ken Livingstone was billed to speak against the rate cap but didn't turn up, and the Deputy Leader of the GLC quite rightly denounced him for scuttling off to set a legal budget instead. The defeat of the miners and abolition of the GLC duly followed. Now what was that Deputy Leader's name?... oh yes, John McDonnell.

Anonymous said...

Christmas? They keep changing the names of things and I can't keep up.
Happy Yuletide!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Alfric, but I think Yuletide was a much longer period covering a large part of midwinter. Still, enjoy your pickled reindeer hooves on Friday (Freya-day?)and have a wassail for me:
'Yule meat again, don't know where, don't know when etc .......'


Anonymous said...

25th December was the birthday of the ancient Egyptian god Horus and his mother Isis was a virgin.

Anonymous said...

New Age cobblers.