Tuesday, 9 February 2016


Momentum’s national website called attention the other day to Jeremy Corbyn outlining how Labour is, “standing up for our people locally, nationally and internationally”.

Whilst Corbyn is certainly doing that, the same cannot be said of the party’s councillors! The vast majority of them are “austerity lite”. They support Corbyn’s agenda in words only; if at all.

Labour councils up and down the country are dutifully implementing the Tory agenda of service cuts, attacks on trade union rights, job reductions and much else.

Labour councillors who have retained their spines, and have objected to this, have been disciplined or even expelled!

In a recent press statement, Dave Nellist, TUSC national chair and former Labour back bencher, made TUSC’s position clear. An abridged version is below.

“Dave Nellist, today appealed to the Labour leader to meet up and seriously discuss how to resist the new round of cuts being made by local councils.

The appeal was made after TUSC decided not to contest a forthcoming council by-election in Coventry, even though socialist councillors have been elected in the city in the past, including Dave himself.

Dave explained:
"When the council by-election was announced early in the new year we were immediately approached by trade unionists and community activists asking if we were going to stand.

The by-election is being rushed through by Coventry Labour Party for February 11th, just days before the council's annual budget-making meeting, where the controlling Labour Group are proposing a new round of cuts to council services and council workers' jobs.

People wanted to be able to vote for a candidate who would put Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity message into action, something which, unfortunately, Coventry Labour councillors have shown no sign of doing.

However TUSC hasn't yet had the opportunity to sit down with Jeremy to discuss what he can do to encourage Labour councillors, in Coventry and elsewhere, to help lead a serious campaign against the Tories' massive funding cuts to local government.

Part of this should be, in our opinion, assuring Labour councillors that they CAN legally defy the Tories - by using reserves and borrowing powers to pass no-cuts budgets, while building the campaign to force the government to reverse all funding cuts.

We would also like to discuss with Jeremy what council service users, trade unionists, and community campaigners should do in elections if all the likely candidates on the ballot paper are going to carry out the cuts.

We don't believe it’s an option to wait for the 2020 general election; huge destruction of jobs and services is planned by the Tories between now and then.

Time is short…
TUSC, co-founded by the late Bob Crow (RMT General Secretary), is committed to opposing ALL cuts to council jobs, services, pay and conditions. (See link HERE).

TUSC will work with any Labour councillor who is prepared to fight, and local TUSC groups are contacting Labour candidates to that end.

But we are also clear that any politician who votes for cuts cannot expect to have a free run at the ballot box, no matter what party label they wear".

Wednesday, 3 February 2016


Croydon's “Fairness Commission”, set up in January last year and chaired by the Bishop, has completed its report. See HERE.
Despite being sprinkled with modern management-speak and Obama-style references, it has a faintly Victorian flavour.
It will be seized by the New Labour Council as an answer to its prayers. It demands very little of it.
Like the council, the commission fully accepts the political framework set by the Tories, sustained by the corporate media, that more cuts to council services are *inevitable*.
Public services are under pressure, says the Bishop in his introduction. "By 2019-20 the Council’s budget will have been cut by 74 per cent. And the borough does not receive its fair share of funds, just £378 per head compared to £637 per head in Southwark or £586 per head in Lambeth”.
(Is there a suggestion here that Southwark and Lambeth should get less, so Croydon may have more?)
Accepting mainstream assumptions has led the Commission to look elsewhere for the balms to heal Croydon’s lamentations.
People face many problems, the report rightly says. But solutions must come from within - from volunteerism, from “good works”, from neighbourliness.
George Orwell could have said of it (as he did of Dickens) that the overall message, "looks like an enormous platitude: If men would behave decently, the world would be decent".
And there is a whiff of noblesse oblige - the expectation that the better off should find it in their hearts to help the poor. (Which of course they should. But this way?)
The report is undoubtedly well meant, however, and we do not in any way seek to question the motives of any of those involved (though we do think them misguided).
The Commission’s work has drawn attention to the scope and scale of the multiple burdens faced by Croydon. It’s just a shame that it’s proposals are underwhelming and fatalistic.
In essence our criticism is this.
Tory policy is having a devastating impact on people’s lives. But of this there is no mention. They are let off the hook.
The council could choose to use some of its many £ millions it holds in its reserves; or it could issue bonds to raise money very cheaply. But this is not broached.
The council could deploy more of its many powers. It could, for example, compulsorily repossess empty houses. Instead, the report suggests that spare rooms be offered to homeless people.
The council could, in the next few months, set a perfectly legal “People’s Budget” designed to make the most powerful impact on all the issues raised in the report. But there is only silence.
And, whilst he Commission lauds the aims of volunteering and community activism, there is no suggestion that Croydon Labour could, as part of a massive borough-wide campaign, call on its thousands of activists and volunteers to oppose Croydon’s cuts and demand proper funding from government!
We say: Jeremy Corbyn has called on Councils to resist Tory cuts. When will Croydon Labour start doing that?