Local Councils

Make Labour councils centres of resistance!

Published on: Wed, 08/01/2020 - 11:56
Author

Janine Booth

In the cacophony of post mortems of Labour’s defeat, the role of Labour councils is being overlooked or at least understated.

I think that a significant contributor to the erosion of Labour’s base has been councils which cut services, do the bidding of developers, and are generally bureaucratic, unresponsive and inaccessible to working-class people. They are seen as the establishment and are the first political institution that people see affecting their lives negatively.

This has contributed to the alienation of Labour from working-class communities, to a loss of the idea that by electing

Tories: prepare the fightback!

Published on: Wed, 08/01/2020 - 11:42
Author

Editorial

Boris Johnson has talked of ending austerity, bolstering public services and appealing to the working class, but on all the evidence so far that is a threadbare velvet glove on an iron hand.

NHS spending is set to increase, but by nothing anywhere near what is needed to fill the shortfall from its 2010-20 cuts. The tide of privatisation will continue to roll forward.

The NHS is probably the best protected part of the public sector. The Institute of Fiscal Studies estimates that by 2024, non-NHS spending will be 14% lower than in 2010.

The provisional local government funding settlement

Tories plan new curbs on local councils

Published on: Wed, 18/12/2019 - 12:19
Author

Sacha Ismail

Johnson is likely to be the enemy of a democratic settlement in Israel-Palestine, shifting the UK further towards the Trump government’s anti-Palestinian position.

Although Johnson himself displayed little interest in the conflict as foreign secretary, his ideological lieutenant Priti Patel was forced to resign her international development post in 2017 after breaking diplomatic protocol in efforts to channel aid money towards the Israeli military. She defended herself by insisting that Johnson had been told about her activities.

The Tories’ proposals, apparently another bit of inspiration

Home Office plans to trick the worst-off

Published on: Wed, 23/10/2019 - 11:13
Author

Misha Zubrowski

The Home Office is holding “immigration surgeries” at charities and places of worship.

They tell homeless migrants that attending will help them get financial support, and may help them regularise their immigration status. They are assured the sessions are not part of “an enforcement approach” to immigration status.

Lies – as was revealed on October 15.

The surgeries are run by the Home Office’s immigration enforcement unit. Officials may decide that attendees have no right to be in the UK, asking these individuals — who came seeking and promised support — to their agree to “voluntary removal”

Haringey: losing momentum?

Published on: Wed, 23/10/2019 - 10:56
Author

Simon Nelson

In 2017, a grassroots rebellion against a right-wing Labour Council led to the election of the first so-called “Momentum Council”.

The new councillors were often supporters of Jeremy Corbyn, but most of all opposed to Haringey Council’s proposals for a public-private partnership with Lendlease to deliver the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV) — a gentrification scheme that was set to socially cleanse large areas of working-class Haringey, hand in hand with a known blacklisting developer.

A concerted campaign by the local Momentum group, the wider local Labour left, and the anti-HDV campaign

Free school meals for migrant children

Published on: Wed, 09/10/2019 - 10:03
Author

Gerry Bates

On 2 October, the Labour council in Lewisham, south London, agreed that no child in its schools would be denied a free school meal because of their parents’ immigration status.

“No Recourse to Public Funds” (NRPF) policies deny many migrants access to a social safety net, including means-tested school meals.

The Labour Party is now committed to abolishing NRPF outright, after last week’s Labour conference voted near-unanimously last week for a migrants’ rights motion proposed by LCFM [the Labour Campaign for Free Movement]. NELMA (North East London Migrant Action) and LCFM (Labour Campaign for

Calling Andy Burnham to account

Published on: Wed, 02/10/2019 - 12:01
Author

Nick Weightman

Thousands of young people gathered in Manchester’s St Peter’s Square on Friday 20 September. The protest was rather a warning to politicians who thought they could come along, mouth nice platitudes and pat young people on the head.

Lillia, a 10-year old climate activist (with her own blog), took Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham to task when he said he was “doing his best” and made a big deal of a new free 16-18 year old bus pass and his opposition to fracking.

Lillia skewered his “lies, when you don’t count the airport in emission figures” [Manchester Airport is owned by GM local

How Labour should end austerity

Published on: Wed, 11/09/2019 - 07:31
Author

Chris Reynolds

Since 2010 austerity has ground down working-class living standards for the benefit of the ultra-rich. Life has been made meaner and more insecure.

Boris Johnson now says he will end austerity. But that is all a matter of previously-budgeted money being “recycled” and called expansion, and random promises to try to win a general election after which he will be free to do his right-wing worst for five years.

The NHS and social care have been squeezed so that waiting lists expand and A&E wait times explode. Hospitals routinely run at the upper limit of capacity, so that an epidemic, or an

Against “special needs” cuts

Published on: Wed, 05/06/2019 - 12:34
Author

Janine Booth

On Thursday 30 May, campaigners protested at twenty-eight locations around the country, demanding the reversal of cuts to Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) funding. Organised mainly by parents and SEND kids, protests ranged from a handful of people with a banner to hundreds on town hall steps.

The centrepiece saw several thousand campaigners gather outside 10 Downing Street to hand in a petition. The National Education Union supported and promoted the protests, and its members turned out with banners in several locations. RMT also supported the protests. In some areas, Labour

Why the working class needs libraries

Published on: Wed, 15/05/2019 - 10:40
Author

Simon Nelson

Close to 650 libraries have closed in the UK since 2010. Some that remain “open” rely on volunteers, have no paid staff, and need grants and donations to run. In 2018 alone 130 libraries were shut down. More than 700 staff lost their jobs; the number of volunteers is now over 50,000.

The concept of the public library, free at the point of use, was pushed by The Free Library Movement, Victorian philanthropists aided by sections of the Chartist movement who worked for “improvement of the public”. The Libraries Act of 1850, put forward by Liberal MPs, and backed by a free libraries pioneer

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