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Posted on 7 October 2011 at 13:00 GMT

Liverpool city council's struggle in 1983-87 for more funding from the Thatcher government was an inspriation to workers, photo Dave Sinclair

Liverpool city council's struggle in 1983-87 for more funding from the Thatcher government was an inspriation to workers, photo Dave Sinclair   (Click to enlarge)

Kinnock's bigotry

Tony Mulhearn, Liverpool Socialist Party and Liverpool '47'

Once again it appears it's been open season on the Liverpool 47. The well-heeled from the bubble of the Westminster village, Messrs Balls, Milband, and of course multi-millionaire, ex-socialist 'firebrand' Lord Neil Kinnock took the opportunity again -while the Labour Party conference was in Liverpool - to besmirch the name of 47 brave socialist councillors who governed Liverpool from 1983 to 1987, most of whom, unlike these sleek purveyors of distortion, have spent most of their lives active in the Liverpool labour movement.

Kinnock's bile is revealed when he refers to the 47 as a 'gang', and Liverpool was 'glad to get rid of Militant' (Liverpool Echo, 1.10.11).

Such sweeping statements don't measure up to rational scrutiny. In the decade prior to 1983, 65% of Liverpool's industrial base had collapsed.

The 47 inherited an appalling situation after a decade of Liberal/Tory alliance rule: the highest rents in the UK outside London, massive unemployment, particularly amongst youth, 35,000 on the housing waiting list, no council dwellings had been built for the previous two years. The outgoing Liberal/Tory council left 10 million of unallocated cuts.

These problems were tackled with a housing programme which built 5,000 new houses, the demolition of some of the worst housing in Western Europe, creation of jobs, the cancellation of the cuts, the freezing of rents, the opening of nursery schools, six sports centres and a new park.

All of which improved the lives of thousands of Liverpudlians. In addition, a massively supported campaign was mounted which resulted in resources worth up to 60 million coming back into the city.

He trots out vacuous statements which he must have picked up back when he was masquerading as a socialist. 'The ultra left always believe you've got to make things grey before you make it red', and he refers to 'revolutionary defeatism'.

What does that mean? It doesn't describe with any accuracy the programme of achievements outlined above.

Kinnock connived against Militant, cartoon Alan Hardman

Kinnock connived againt Militant, cartoon Alan Hardman

As to the public concerns he claims to reflect with his slanders, he can only be referring to the feral press pack led by Murdoch's Sun, and the rest who all applauded his Bournemouth speech when he attacked the 47, then lampooned him when he led Labour to two of the worst defeats since 1931.

In contrast to his claim about listening to Labour supporters (to justify his treachery), in addition to receiving magnificent support from the local authority trade unions, the Labour Party branches and youth, and women's organisations, the Liverpool 47 received the highest Labour votes ever recorded in the city.

If Labour nationally had received the same support, a Labour government with a record majority would have been returned instead of a strengthened Mrs Thatcher.

Kinnock's Bournemouth speech, rather than being welcomed, was roundly condemned by Labour Party and trade union organisations throughout the city of Liverpool as well as the District Labour Party.

'They had already fouled Liverpool in the public perception', is another pearl from his Lordship's mouth, and 'The precondition to the revival of the city and Merseyside was getting rid of Militant...'.

He is clearly unaware that outside the magnificent waterfront which is the public face of the city, forty people chase each job, Liverpool has the highest percentage of families without a wage earner when compared with any other UK city, thousands are still waiting for affordable accommodation, and in contrast to the 30,000 workers employed by the council in 1987, there is now less than 10,000.

Thousands of jobs have disappeared and thousands of others been transferred to the tender mercies of the private sector where jobs, wages and conditions are constantly under attack.

Reality is turned on its head by these closeted lords and MPs. Those who built houses and created jobs are branded as 'wretched' and those who implement the current savage crop of cuts are applauded.

For these people, how the agencies of the media view the city is infinitely more important than what is best for the city's unemployed and needy working people.

An extract from this article was published in the Liverpool Echo on 7 October.


This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 7 October 2011 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

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