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31 March 2021

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Warning: Labour Party cutters - careful who you phone!

Keir Starmer. Photo: public domain

Keir Starmer. Photo: public domain   (Click to enlarge)

Alexis Edwards, Hackney Socialist Party

There I was, browsing my computer, as you do... when the landline rings. That is not something that happens very often in our house, especially as we have a call-barring service on our phone. "This is Lynne from the Labour Party", says the caller.

We haven't been members of the Labour Party since we were deemed 'too socialist' in the 1980s, so I asked how she had my number, and she said from the Electoral Roll. I thought this was odd but didn't question it further.

She said she was ringing round asking voters what is important to them, and my immediate response was: "No cuts!" "Oh, we can't do that", came the reply, "we can't set an illegal budget".

I spoke a bit about the huge achievements made by Liverpool City Council in the 1980s, and that we need representatives like that who are prepared to fight for us. She continued with the 'can't do that' refrain and not wanting to be surcharged. She then moved on to ask if I had ever voted Labour, and I confirmed I did when Jeremy Corbyn was standing, but added that even he was disappointingly weak on supporting and encouraging local councils to oppose cuts. I added that I was hoping to be able to vote for a Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidate in the coming elections.

Having said all that, I was a bit surprised by her next question: "So what do you think of Keir Starmer?" she asked, and I replied: "He should be in the Tory Party!" There was silence, so I added "I think you know where I'm coming from" - and that ended the call.

The next day we received a newsletter from our ward Labour Party. The headline was "Labour's candidate for King's Park ward by-election on May 6 is Lynn Troughton", so that was who the caller was, if only I'd known - she would have had some questions from me!

One of the key issues in the newsletter was "new homes for locals", where it talked about three new developments across the ward and the provision of "34 new affordable homes, with 25 social rented and 19 shared ownership, as well as four for private sale (to cover the cost of providing social rent homes)".

This is the pattern in Hackney. Just up the road from us two council estates, made up of low-rise yellow brick buildings, set back from the road and with grassed areas and planting at the front, have been demolished. They were replaced with monstrosities built much higher and close to the road. They provide fewer properties at social rent than the original council homes on these sites.

In post-war Britain, when we had a massive housing programme of council flats and houses, never was there the excuse of needing to build homes for private sale to pay for it. Developers tell the council to jump, and the council asks: "How high?" Gentrification is a curse for the poor. As I said to Lynne Troughton, we need representatives who will fight for us and not cower in the corner.

Vote for candidates who will fight cuts and fight for us - vote TUSC!

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 31 March 2021:


Elections

Mobilise Liverpool workers to defy Tory commissioners and austerity

London - We need socialists into City Hall

Warning: Labour Party cutters - careful who you phone!


News

Domestic Abuse Bill: So much still to fight for

We will not be the lost generation

Shrewsbury pickets exonerated after almost 50 years

'Chingford skinhead' spills the beans over government surveillance of union activists

Freeports spell deregulation, low pay and a new race to the bottom

No start for life


Right to protest

Unite and fight - For the right to protest

Defending the right to protest


Socialist analysis

Preparing for the revolts to come


NHS

Cumberland hospital workers fight for stolen pay

NHS pay: 15% now!


Workplace news

Trade union fighters rally to support victimised workers

BT Openreach engineers step up the pressure with five-day strike action

Asda equal pay ruling victory - now fight for equal pay for all

SPS Technologies workers strike against potential pay loss of 3,000 a year

Deskilling protests by sparks electricians continue

Beal academy strikers demand equal sick pay

Goodlord strike starts to bite

Nationalise Liberty Steel to save jobs

British Gas workers strike ahead of 'fire and rehire' deadline


Reports & campaigns

Online rally - 150 years since the Paris Commune

Selling the Socialist

Donate now to fuel our election campaigns


Readers' opinion

Football abuse scandal: Reclaim the game for justice and democracy

Socialist Liverpool City Council inspired me

Women, violence and defiance

The Socialist Inbox


 

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Related links:

Labour Party:

triangleFight the rotten establishment

triangle1920s-30s Britain: A working-class movement fighting unemployment and capitalism

triangleFormer Labour parliamentary candidate to stand for TUSC

trianglePresident of 'big four' Labour-affiliated trade union joins TUSC committee

Council:

triangleNorwich City Council workers vote for strike action over broken promises on pay and conditions

triangleEaling parking wardens strike against Serco over absence policy

triangleThurrock refuse workers strike escalates

triangleTUSC is back

Homes:

triangleBellway must pay! Make our homes safe!

trianglePolice invade student homes

Elections:

triangleSocialist Party national meeting: Perspectives for socialism after the elections

triangleRight-wing Partido Popular wins Madrid elections - a warning to the working class

Article dated 31 March 2021

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