Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/677/12303
Why I left Labour - and joined the socialists
Caerphilly Socialist Party
Being the son of a south Wales valley miner, I have always been a socialist, a trade unionist and I was also a long-time Labour Party member.
In the Labour Party I had been a branch secretary, a delegate to constituency meetings, and had been selected to stand to be a councillor.
I had been loyal to my party, through thick and thin, watching them change from a socialist organisation to a pale blue Tory party. The Labour Party of today seems to ride roughshod over the very people that formed it over 100 years ago. The working class. The trade unionists. The vulnerable.
I endured the many years of hits made by Labour central government; cuts, which may not be quite as bad as those being instigated by the Con-Dem government of today, but cuts all the same. This includes cuts to the rights of unions and their elected representatives.
Even now, when Labour claims to be protecting us in Wales against the worst effects of the cuts, we see the Labour-led Assembly instigate 8.3% cuts to the NHS in Wales compared to the 0.9% cuts the Tories are proposing in England.
But one more poor decision finally broke the camel's back for me. The Rhondda Cynon Taff council decided to ignore the pleas of the GMB union, and instigate sweeping changes to people's working practices and contracts. The reasoning was that this would enable the council to save jobs and services as the budget had been cut, but many would be losing allowances of up to £4,000 a year.
Did the highest paid officials get a hit? No they didn't. Did the councillors take a hit? You are having a laugh. They had a pay rise! Only non-Labour councillors were against it.
Now the Labour council has announced £74 million of investment. If it had these millions why couldn't the council afford to keep paying the workforce a decent wage?
I decided to not accept nomination for being a council election candidate and simply walked away. I am a socialist first and foremost.
At the last local elections, I was shocked to find that the Maerdy ward - dubbed Little Moscow - was lost to Plaid Cymru. I thought I would never see that.
I marched in Pontypridd against cuts, aimed mainly at the local council. I also marched in London against the cuts.
I, like many others, have been let down by Labour at every level. I have joined the Socialist Party because of what I believe in, socialism. That will not change, unfortunately Labour has.
In The Socialist 29 June 2011:
30 June pensions strike
Socialist Party editorial
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
Socialist Party news
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party review
Socialist Party features
Socialist Party events