Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/17866
Bristol: Parents and children protest to save play park
A fantastic campaign has sprung up to save Hengrove Play Park in Bristol. This is one of the many services threatened by the mayor's massive £90 million cuts budget. He plans to remove supervision at the adventure playground and skate park which campaigners rightly fear could lead to its closure.
The park is one of the few free family days out in the city and the campaign was started by local parents. Within just a couple of days, 10,000 people had signed up on Facebook. Last Saturday 150 people joined a protest and march around the park, including many of the children who use it.
Local councillors for Labour, the Lib-Dems and even a Tory turned up to voice their opposition to this cut but they were completely silent about the cuts to other services including care homes, libraries and public toilets.
Local teacher and Socialist Party member Sheila Caffrey reminded them that these were all needed by the community and they should be fighting to defend them too.
Unfortunately with all three parties (and the Greens) in the mayor's cabinet they will be signing their names to the cuts.
One Lib-Dem councillor accused anti-cuts activists of diluting this campaign but local parents were clear they didn't want their park being played off against other resources.
This demo was only the beginning of the campaign. Sustained pressure can save the park but the mayor insists that everything saved must be paid for by a cut elsewhere. The Bristol and District Anti-Cuts Alliance has helped start the Save Our City campaign to challenge this and oppose all the council cuts.
A demonstration is now planned before the budget meeting next February. If last year's budget vote is anything to go by the public anger outside won't be matched by any opposition in the council chamber. Socialist Party members will be standing as part of a Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts slate for every seat in the city next May to provide a real political alternative.