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From The Socialist newspaper, 29 June 2011

Why I left Labour - and joined the socialists

Cliff Jones
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.

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

In The Socialist 29 June 2011:

30 June pensions strike

Next step: one-day public sector strike

Socialist Party editorial

Con-Dems' pension attack demands coordinated and determined response

Unison conference

Unison conference Socialist Party meeting spells out action needed

Unison delegates reject leadership proposals

Socialist Party news and analysis

Universities on the cheap!

Trade unionists must fight for LGBT rights

Western governments more concerned about business deals than human rights in China

News in brief

Socialist Party workplace news

'Hard lesson' for tube management as driver wins reinstatement

Shafted By AEI cables

'No redundancies!' say Forest Hill school teachers

Trade union news in brief

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Save heart services for children!

Jobs threat at Derriford hospital

Nuneaton: exterminate the cuts!

Marching against cuts in Haringey

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Who speaks up for workers?

Socialist Party news

Why I left Labour - and joined the socialists

Public money into private firms' hands

International socialist news and analysis

Greece, Spain, Britain... We won't pay for their crisis

Syria: Regime steps up repression... but opposition continues to grow

Socialist Party review

The Pitmen Painters

Socialist Party features

Workers say: Renationalise the railways!

Private railways rip off fares

National Pensioners Convention parliament

Socialist Party events

Socialist Party summer camp - bigger and better than ever!


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