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Posted on 12 February 2013 at 16:24 GMT

'Fiddling while Rome burns' in Bolton

Robert Mitchell, Bolton Socialist Party

Yesterday, Monday 11th, on a cold February afternoon, around 60 workers, union members, activists and members of the public gathered outside Bolton town hall to protest against the latest wave of public spending cuts imposed by the Con-Dem government and approved by Bolton council in its budget meeting.

The protest was organised by Bolton TUC to take place just before the council meeting began. Amongst those involved in the protest there was a mood of deepening frustration and renewed determination.

One passer-by, who joined the protest, summed up the general feeling when she said: "We've got to do something now, because soon there'll be no public services left to cut!"

The Labour-led council will be making a further 9 million in cuts over the next two years, that's in addition to the 35.6 million worth of cuts which are already being made! One Socialist Party member commented "they're fiddling while Rome burns", as the council meeting began with detailed, lengthy and rather heated negotiations concerning proposed changes to the council's garbage collection scheme.

No one would deny that garbage collection is an important service that requires discussion, but whilst council members were happy to debate the merits of different bin sizes, recycling targets and the frequency of garbage collections, who was prepared to contest the legitimacy of the cuts themselves? Where was that debate? Who was prepared to defend the people they were supposed to represent against this next wave of brutal cuts and fight to protect local jobs and vital services?

Resistance to the cuts clearly isn't going to come across the boardroom table, from Labour councillors.

What is needed in 2013, as the Conservatives push blindly forward with their failing programme of austerity and the economy shows no signs of revival, is a determined and integrated programme of resistance from the unions, communities etc, on a local and a national level.

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