The fight against the cuts is winnable through the organised approach. We needn't wait for the next General Election. But asking councils to set illegal budgets is futile; the fight can only be won by directing it at the Government
Save Our Services campaigners in Lambeth
There is a real grassroots anti-cuts campaign under way, and it is gaining momentum – so much so that False Economy, a website which tweets about local anti-cuts activities, even felt it had to apologise for clogging up its followers’ Twitter feeds. This is all good news.
However, one side-effect of the localist, grassroots approach is that many local activists have blamed their councils for the cuts – even where that council is Labour-run – rather than looking to the Tory-led Government.
This, of course, is precisely what the Tories have hoped for. It is no coincidence that the reduction in local government funding is accompanied by the removal of ringfencing, meaning that councils must decide where the axe will fall. Eric Pickles, the Tory Local Government Secretary, told councils last year, “we’ve given you control of the money. You are now in charge of something like £38 billion every year, no strings attached.” Pickles is hoping that councillors will be blamed for the cuts he has imposed.
► Continue reading If we can stop the Tory game of divide-and-conquer, we can stop the cuts
The Co-operative movement is in danger of being seen as a right-wing movement to reform the state - particularly in the context of cuts and the Big Society. We are strongest when we focus on on how co-operatives do better for people than private enterprises, putting people before profits. That is why the Labour left should embrace the Co-operative movement wholeheartedly
First published here on LabourList.org
London Mutual Credit Union's newest branch opens in Brixton
Carl Rowlands has a theory that the Co-operative movement was “effectively destroyed” in the 1980s, and what remains is being “propelled by a neo-liberal tidal wave.”
He is utterly wrong. But why is it that a Labour Party member like him has so completely misunderstood what the Co-operative Party and the wider movement stand for?
There is a perception amongst some, especially on the left, that the Co-operative movement is somehow all about reforming the public sector. Rowlands is right to say that, whilst many at the top of the Labour Party are also Co-operative Party members, they have been most publicly enthusiastic about using co-operative values in public services. Labour in power did a lot for co-operatives and mutuals, but it did not ultimately support some of our highest-profile campaigns, such as the one to re-mutualise Northern Rock.
► Continue reading The Labour left should embrace the Co-operative movement