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From The Socialist newspaper, 6 April 2011

Labour 'campaigning' - casework style

Linda Taaffe

Around 50 elderly residents of sheltered accommodation, some support staff and relatives were protesting at Waltham Forest Labour council's decision to implement Tory cuts by picking on the old and vulnerable.

Wardens were to be axed, telephone calls substituted for knocks on the door, and a host of other trimmings of the service. One lady said she'd lived in her block for 17 years and once had everything. 'Now look what it's come to'.

Two local Labour MPs sat at the top table. These two worthies came hoping to head up a campaign but they headed it off! The only real issue for them was getting the best way of implementing cuts and making sure every resident had their say in a sham consultation exercise. It was only fair!

They promised to find out answers to the many queries and had three personal assistants collecting names and addresses so all could have a personal response. It was opposition by casework not campaign.

Both were at pains to make clear they really hated the Tories, and denounced Nick Clegg for having two faces! They said they "wished and wished" these cuts did not have to be made. They wanted to make the best of a bad job... and no more.

They distanced themselves from Labour councillors saying they had no remit to influence them. What kind of party lets the old and frail suffer?

Many of the old folk were clearly afraid of being alone. No wonder. Already three residents had been discovered dead on the floor. But never a word passed the councillors' lips about stopping the cuts through a serious campaign.

At a recent council lobby the GMB union revealed that 40.1 million is in this council's reserves. Even the council leader grudgingly agreed there was 10 million. A Socialist Party member and Anti-Cuts Union activist asked why couldn't some of this money be used to maintain these vitally needed services, and was given a huge round of applause. The question was ignored even when a resident demanded the question be answered.

At the end of the meeting, after saying that every matter raised would be duly investigated and replies communicated, one MP said: "...and to the lady at the back, I will find out the answer and get back to you"! No doubt on House of Commons notepaper. And that will be the end of that.

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In The Socialist 6 April 2011:

Anti-cuts campaign

Cuts wreck people's lives

Tory health plans are sick

Bosses prepare for war on public sector workers

Labour Link won't save jobs and services

Housing benefit cuts start to bite

Bristol meeting - The battle of our lives has begun

On the move in London to fight the cuts

Fight the cuts with TUSC: more than just a 'protest vote'

Austerity measures take away the basics

Labour 'campaigning' - casework style

Fast news

Socialist history

1981 Brixton riots

International socialist news and analysis

Ireland's economy on the brink

Jordan: 'Reforms' fail to halt growing opposition

Socialist Party workplace news

Saltend lock-out - Solidarity strike spreads

Call for strikes to stop Ford attack on pensions

Birmingham prison officers determined to fight privatisation

Prison officers fight prison privatisation: Interview with POA assistant secretary, Joe Simpson

Teachers and council workers strike together in Tower Hamlets

Leeds Unison - fighting the cuts

Pay cuts provoke strike

Socialist Party youth and students

School students stage anti-cuts strike in Dundee

Leicester: still angry with Clegg

Save Hackney youth services!

Youth fast news


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