Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 11 May 2011

Suffolk Tories in retreat?

Roger MacKay
Ipswich & District TUC

An article in the Guardian on 5 May proclaimed that "a Tory local council has halted controversial 'virtual council' plans to outsource all its services, after public opposition to spending cuts and a collapse in staff morale triggered a political revolt by backbenchers."

The article later refers to Suffolk as the "first big Tory rank-and-file mutiny over unpopular spending cuts in local government". However, a closer examination of the facts seriously questions such statements.

Without a doubt, public opposition to Suffolk county council's (SCC) New Strategic Direction (NSD), as the cuts programme was grandly titled, has been consistent since last summer.

There has been a weekly collection of signatures on petitions against the cuts in Ipswich, regular public meetings, local media attention, pickets of council meetings and in November, a march of 1,000 people. The government's attacks on young people and then SCC's announcement of the closure of 29 of its 44 public libraries made instant headlines.

With support from the civil servants' union, PCS, the teachers' union, NUT, public sector union, Unison and particularly from Unite, eight coaches took campaigners from Ipswich and the surrounding area to the massive TUC demo on 26 March.

When the ex-London banker Tory leader of SCC as well as two other leading executive officials resigned in the middle of April, at the same time as the suspected suicide of a third, the new leader-elect, promoted as 'a good old Suffolk boy' spoke of the saving of "the school crossing patrols and a pause to... give an opportunity to review everything."

The local press then began a campaign calling for the NSD to be "dumped in the dustbin of history"!

Further announcements from top Tory councillors maintained they were listening to the public and changes were to be made - the NSD was in tatters, the press wrote!

On 5 May, the local free paper proclaimed: "Libraries are saved after another u-turn". However, further down the same article it said "the council is to set up a 'community interest company' to organise the running of the county libraries". That sounds like an 'arms-length company' to us, or privatisation by 'sleight of hand' as Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite told the Glasgow May Day rally.

Then we read the 'small print' and learnt that no actual decisions would be made until 26 May - a good three weeks after local election day. In other words, with plenty of time to plan for any eventuality!

If this is an example of how the Tory party and the media played its hand across the country leading up to polling day, then it's little surprise the Tories were being congratulated on a brilliant campaign as they retained their core councils in the South and left the Lib Dems to pay the price for Tory cuts elsewhere.

In Suffolk we expect the NSD to be renamed, the programme to be repackaged and Andrea Hill, the notorious top earning council chief executive, to be made the sacrificial lamb.

But the campaign against the cuts will continue - we've seen off one lot of Tory leaders, now it's time to take on the next. Our public sector workers will be leading the way this summer.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 11 May 2011:

Socialist Party NHS campaign

Fight for the NHS

Socialist Party workplace news and analysis

PCS conference: prepare for united action on 30 June

Crucial time for Saltend dispute

Defending trade unionism on London Underground

Poverty minimum wage

Library cuts hit staff and users: time for action against the cuts

Workplace news in brief

Socialist Students

Students occupy against cuts at London Met

For sale: university places

Socialist Party election analysis

Government Con-Demned at ballot box

TUSC shows alternative to Con-Dem and Labour cuts

Labour wins Welsh Assembly election -

SNP landslide but it will be a government of savage cuts

Socialist Party news and analysis

Defend independent living rights

Con-Dems put squeeze on democratic rights

Bahrain repression: Muted criticism of West's ally

Suffolk Tories in retreat?

News in brief

International socialist news and analysis

UN report on Sri Lanka war crimes

Socialist Party reviews

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists

Review: Panorama on housing: The human impact of the crisis


Home   |   The Socialist 11 May 2011   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleFight against cuts continues to grow

triangleSuffolk Unison member speaks

triangleStop wholesale sell-off in Suffolk


triangleHundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

triangleYoung people being strangled by debts

triangleTories scrap the NHS pay cap: now fight for real-terms pay rises!

triangleTories torn - bin them now


triangleNorth London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

triangleNo cuts - hands off King George A&E!

triangleSchools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now


triangleSheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

triangleUnite local government sector plans strike ballot


triangleMay Day rallies in Swansea and Ipswich

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns


North West

Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay


Democratic rights

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?



Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni


Royal Mail

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers



Balloting members on the pay cap



'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future



Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison


South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP



Uprising to save the NHS!



Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?


East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!


North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses



Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems



Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now



Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party out the Tories

More ...

triangle21 Oct Birmingham: NSSN Solidarity Forum

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice