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From: The Socialist issue 1073, 12 February 2020: NHS: Fight for full funding!

Search site for keywords: Councillors - Cuts - Labour - Council

Cuts councillors are the real problem

Trade union and Socialist Party members protesting for a no-cuts budget in Swansea, 28.2.19, photo Socialist Party Wales

Trade union and Socialist Party members protesting for a no-cuts budget in Swansea, 28.2.19, photo Socialist Party Wales   (Click to enlarge)

Elaine Brunskill, secretary Socialist Party northern region

The attention-seeking, right-wing Labour leader of Newcastle City Council, Nick Forbes, described by the Guardian as "the leader of Labour's 6,600-strong army of councillors", has attacked Corbyn for being out of touch with Labour voters and disregarding local councillors' experiences.

So, what is this council army leader doing to defend working-class people against the next round of Tory cuts? Is Forbes going to lead a fightback against this onslaught? Unfortunately, the answer is a resounding 'no'!

Instead, Forbes is at the cutting edge of yet more vicious austerity - prepared to wield the Tory axe. In Newcastle, council tax charges are set to increase, alongside a further 20 million of cuts - part of a three-year package which will decimate services by a total of 60 million.

This will include even more attacks on services for the disabled, additional cuts in library and museum services, alongside further job losses.

Forbes also displayed his anti-working class agenda by attacking drivers on Tyne & Wear Metro when they took strike action in December to increase their pay and defend their working conditions

From the outset, Nick Forbes and his ilk were a thorn in the side of Corbyn, determined to scupper any hint of a socialist programme.

Of course, Forbes omits to mention that in Newcastle back in 2004 (while Blair was still PM), the Labour Party lost control of the city council after 30 years in power. Even at that stage, before the economic crash of 2008, there was anger brewing against cuts being made by Labour councils.

If there is a move away from Corbynism, towards the politics put forward by the likes of Nick Forbes and his army of service-cutting Labour councillors, then more and more workers will be asking - what is the point of the Labour Party?

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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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Article dated 12 February 2020

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Thurrock council workers striking against pay cuts, photo by Dave Murray

Thurrock council workers striking against pay cuts, photo Dave Murray

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