Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 14 September 2011

Bristol: Labour's short-lived valour

Robin Clapp

In May Bristol's ruling Liberal Democrats announced their intention to privatise the council's home care service. Labour councillors condemned the proposal and expressed solidarity with Unite and Unison unions representing the staff. Our anti-cuts alliance was told that the Labour group had become a valiant defender of public services.

When a by-election was called in a marginal Lib Dem seat on 8 September, Labour politicians told the unions that we could save home care. If Labour wooed the Tory group then the Lib Dems would be forced out and a new Labour/Tory coalition would run Bristol and provide a sunny future for its council workforce.

Unite officers invited the local Tory MP to a rally for jobs and services. 250 home care workers and anti-cuts protesters had to listen to this maverick Tory attacking the Lib Dems' specific proposal while singing a song of praise to privatisation.

But we judge Labour politicians by their actions, not their honeyed words. We see the three main parties really "are all in it together". An anti-cuts spokesperson addressed the council, condemning all sides for trying to make ordinary people pay for a crisis they didn't cause. The Labour benches cheered and the Tories said they would vote for Labour's motion.

Then the Lib Dem councillors dissected Labour's previous record. They said that Tony Blair introduced personal home care packages based on purchasing care from any provider, private or public, and that Bristol's Labour administration had dispensed already with up to 65% of Bristol's in-house service.

The Lib Dem leader then asked Labour to move a 'no confidence' motion and assume control of the council. The bench opposite turned to stone - they had been found out. The Tories then pulled their support from Labour's motion and the total privatisation of the core home care service was carried through.

Labour councillors think that cuts are necessary, but must be delivered more slowly and with sugar coating. They are easy prey for political critics who retort that the Blair/Brown years laid the foundations for all that is happening today.

Union officials too should beware trading deals with Tory MPs, instead of building campaigns among their members and going into local communities to defend jobs and services.

The Lib Dem leader had the measure of her Labour colleagues but was extremely rattled by the anti-cuts alliance's attacks, deriding us for "opposing everything that all of us in this chamber are trying to do." We happily accept that accolade!

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

In The Socialist 14 September 2011:

Socialist Party features

We need a programme of action to fight back!

Austerity policies strangle growth

Socialist Party youth and students

Pampered politicians plan education massacre... STOP THEM!

Low pay and the housing crisis

Youth must join pensions struggle

EMA cuts: doors close on our future

Cuts hit young people hard in Hastings

Stop attacks on pensions

Hands off our pensions!

NHS pensions - Pay more, work longer and get less!

Socialist Party workplace news


Support Wyndeham workers

No to pay cuts in Carmarthenshire

Workplace news in brief

International socialist news and analysis

How can the national rights of Palestinians be achieved?

Socialist Party news and analysis

NSSN calls on TUC to open the floodgates of mass action

Nationalise the banking system!

Childcare costs push parents into hardship

Save our NHS

Fast news

Socialist Party review

Power and terror

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Save Surrey libraries!

Bristol: Labour's short-lived valour

Hundreds march against Dale Farm evictions

May Day protest case goes to Strasbourg


Home   |   The Socialist 14 September 2011   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleDemand for no-cuts budget grows

triangleThousands march - mayor needs real anti-cuts strategy

triangleBristol's Labour mayor calls anti-austerity march - now stop making cuts!

triangleHow much reserves have councils got?

triangleBristol South Socialist Party: 150 years of Marx's Das Capital


triangleSheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

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

triangleTories torn - bin them now

triangleSwansea Socialist Party: Mother Jones - A US labour pioneer


triangleNorth London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

triangleNo cuts - hands off King George A&E!

triangleYoung people being strangled by debts


triangleUnite local government sector plans strike ballot

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


triangleTories weak: time for the TUC to act

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future


Democratic rights

Conference on state spies and sabotage: who's watching who?



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



Striking back against the sackers' charter at Leeds University



Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems


Royal Mail

Workers' anger increases after Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers



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



PCS ballots members to send message to government: scrap the pay cap



Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea


Local government

Unite local government sector plans strike ballot

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

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

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

triangle11 Oct Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't

triangle6 Oct Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

triangle4 Oct The nasty party turns on itself... but the Tories must be driven out

More ...

triangle19 Oct Waltham Forest Young Socialists: Deaths in police custody

triangle19 Oct Swansea Socialist Party: Spanish revolution 1936-37

triangle19 Oct Cardiff East Socialist Party: Is equality for women possible under capitalism?

triangle19 Oct Wirral 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