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From The Socialist newspaper, 25 May 2011

Why Liverpool needs a needs budget

On 14 May 2011 Derek Hatton, deputy leader of the 47 Liverpool councillors in their battle against the Tory government's cuts from 1983 to 1987, pronounced in the Liverpool Echo newspaper that refusing to implement the cuts would be political suicide for present-day Labour leader Joe Anderson. Socialist Party member Tony Mulhearn, a leading Liverpool 47 councillor and president of Liverpool district Labour Party at the time, wrote this letter refuting this idea.

The mantra 'not going illegal' seems to be the catch-all excuse for implementing the most savage cuts in Liverpool's history. We [the Liverpool 47 group and the Socialist Party - Eds.] have argued for a needs budget not an illegal budget. This means using every legal device to defend jobs and services - using council reserves, taking privatised services back in-house.

Such action would need to be linked to a mass anti-cuts campaign involving trade unions, community organisations and council workers on a clear policy of compelling the Con-Dem government to abandon its punitive policies, with an appeal to other local authorities to do the same.

Jobs, wages and services are being cut while the income of CEOs increased hugely last year; the culprits for the crisis, the bankers, continue to gorge themselves on obscene bonuses; Cameron's advisers say the NHS should be up for grabs to the private health companies.

This outrageous situation cries out for courageous leadership committed to defending workers and those least able to defend themselves.

As for the argument that the conditions for mass struggle don't exist: history shows that, where leadership is given, support will be forthcoming as the Liverpool 47 showed in the 80s, as did Tom Mann in 1911.

Derek's stance may bring comfort to the Con-Dems and the Labour council, but it will do nothing to mitigate the attacks on the workers of Liverpool who, unless resistance is organised, will suffer further from the next round of cuts.

As for Joe's 'political suicide' if he made a stand, I don't believe that would necessarily follow. If it did, the defence of working families is of infinitely greater importance than Joe Anderson's political career.

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In The Socialist 25 May 2011:

What we think

Weak and unpopular coalition can be defeated

Anti-cuts campaigning

National shop stewards conference - Unite to stop the cuts

As the cost of living soars...: 'We are going to fight back'!

An offer we must refuse

Why Liverpool needs a needs budget

Showing an alternative to cuts in Dorset

Defending the NHS

Battling to defend the NHS

NHS demo in London needs to be a step towards united national strike action

Unison leaders failing to adopt the demands of health workers

Challenging Tories' plans to kill our health service

Socialist Party workplace news

PCS conference: developing strategies for struggle

UCU facing battles on all fronts

Southampton city council workers strike

Three day strike to stop redundancies at Sheffield College

Firefighters discuss strategy to fight cuts

Workplace news in brief

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

"We are London Met Uni, not EasyMet"

Atos Origin - profiting from pain

'Slutwalk' protests: Women reject sexism

Slave labour schemes must be resisted

Reviews and comments

Leadership failed print workers in vital battle

Review: The street that cut everything

Socialist Party news and analysis

McNulty's railway report: not 'value for money'!

Care homes privatisation hits the elderly

News in brief

International socialist news and analysis

Eyewitness report: Mass youth protests in Spain

Ireland: 'Reclaim the unions'

Greece: Resist bosses' agenda and the far right


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