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From The Socialist newspaper, 17 October 2012

Tough choices

A recent TUC organised conference, entitled 'Outsourcing and Austerity - Civil Society and the Coalition Government' was attended by over 100 people from the voluntary, charity and third sector as well as union and anti-cuts activists.

The Labour spokespeople made much of the 'one nation' sound bite with Lord Glassman talking about the need to 'restrain capitalism'.

He also specifically commented that we needed to move away from the politics of "irreconcilable class conflict".

This wonderful exercise in spin was interrupted by a questioner who asked: "Can we trust Labour or is 'one nation' just another version of 'big society'?" This drew sustained applause.

I asked what was Labour's message to people under Labour administrations such as in Southampton, where Labour have already declared their intent by closing a local swimming pool and lining up a projected 29 million cuts next year.

Expecting us to endure another two years of cuts and the prospect of business as usual under a Labour government would not be tolerated.

"The gentleman has demanded more leadership from us", replied the Labour MP, followed by much handwringing about "Labour councillors have to make tough choices."

Another panellist interjected angrily: "It may well be tough to make tough decisions, but it's a lot tougher for those who are having their services cut!"

Feeling slightly battered at this point the Labour spokesperson said: "we will repeal the NHS reform bill" anticipating a groundswell of approval. Alas it was not to be. Instead there were shouts of "what are you going to do now?"

Someone added: "you bought the privateers in, how are you going to get them out and when are you going to apologise?"

Conferences like this make the 'job' that Labour is doing clearer. Fortunately there will be an increasingly active challenge to their timidity and, as one person expressed it: "We need a pincer movement against the government, remember the poll tax".

Gavin Marsh

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In The Socialist 17 October 2012:


Fighting the cuts

We want a 24-hour general strike!

Southampton anti-cuts councillors form new council group

Meetings after 20th October TUC demonstration


Socialist Party feature

Socialism 2012


Socialist Party news and analysis

Academies: march to defend education on 20 October

Stop the gas price hike - Nationalise the utilities!

Osborne's 'shares' plan threatens rights

Them & Us


Socialist Party feature

Unions must build the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC)


Socialist history

Who was Malcolm X?

Poll tax: When organised mass action defeated the Tories

Liverpool 1983-87


Socialist Party youth and students

Youth Fight for Jobs fortnight of action 13-28 October


International socialist news and analysis

Fight for a socialist and internationalist alternative to the crisis-ridden EU

Solidarity with Miners in South Africa

US elections: And the winner is... Wall Street!

Pakistan: Workers die as profit put before safety

Tamil Solidarity

Campaign Kazakhstan


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Hands off our NHS! - Victory in Gloucestershire

Stop the far right from 'uniting' on 27 October

Stop health robbery in Sherwood Forest

Tough choices

Chase the sharks out of Toon!

Invest in caring - we're worth it!


Socialist Party workplace news

Lecturers fight cuts

Amnesty International staff take strike action

Bus drivers: We need shorter hours!

Hospital staff in Stockton and Hartlepool threatened with worse terms and conditions

Attacks on Bromley workers

Workplace news in brief


The Socialist Party

The Socialist - Help us build it with the 20-20-20 plan!

Fight back against austerity - support the Socialist Party

Why I joined

New sales of the Socialist in Kenilworth


 

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