Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

Posted on 17 February 2014 at 17:28 GMT

Save Kent Children’s Centres campaign march, Canterbury, Saturday 15th February 2014, photo Pete Fry

Save Kent Children’s Centres campaign march, Canterbury, Saturday 15th February 2014, photo Pete Fry   (Click to enlarge)

Marching to save children's centres in Canterbury

Dave Semple, East Kent Socialist Party

Kent socialists, trade unionists and parents from the Save Kent Children's Centres campaign staged a 70-strong march through the centre of Canterbury on Saturday 15th February in protest at the closure of 12 children's centres by the Tory county council.

Following two previous demonstrations and thousands of names on a petition, Kent county council retreated from its initial proposal of closing 23 children's centres. The protests of parents, underpinned and organised by socialists in the trade unions, forced a backtrack on 11 centres.

In the last week, however, up to 300 staff at the children's centres have been told that they will have to re-apply for their jobs, as opening hours of centres are reduced and the council seeks to strip out resources. These resources include fully qualified teachers at each centre.

Save Kent Children’s Centre campaign march, Canterbury on Saturday 15th February , photo Pete Fry

Save Kent Children’s Centre campaign march, Canterbury on Saturday 15th February , photo Pete Fry   (Click to enlarge)

Rally speeches

Saturday's march culminated in a rally addressed by David Lloyd from the Unison branch responsible for the workers in these centres. He slammed Kent county council for ignoring its own procedures and failing to heed a parents' petition to refer the decisions on closures back to the full council. Parents and workers are under no illusion that the full council would decide differently, but it would give more space to build the campaign against all closures.

During the rally, local library campaigners from Strood and Whitstable spoke about the need to link up the campaigns. Support was voiced from every quarter of the room for a campaign against all cuts. Mike Sargent from the RMT executive and Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) steering committee received hearty applause when he demanded election candidates who are accountable, unlike any of the main parties.

Unison plans

Though Unison is to debate holding an indicative ballot for strike action in the coming months, the Tories have now pushed through this year's budget. Managers have been bullying staff to keep them from taking leaflets when going to work, let alone getting involved in the campaign.

Former Socialist Party councillor Ian Page speaking at the rally, Save Kent Children’s Centres campaign, Canterbury, Saturday 15th February 2014

Former Socialist Party councillor Ian Page speaking at the rally, Save Kent Children’s Centres campaign, Canterbury, Saturday 15th February 2014   (Click to enlarge)

The Unison branch committee, working with the NUT and ATL, who represent teachers working in the centres, have restricted themselves to lobbying. To win a ballot, they would have to lay out a detailed plan of action to defend the 600 jobs at risk over the next three years and link up with other unions county wide.

Members of the Socialist Party have been pushing exactly this option - and it would be rendered even more powerful by coupling it to running election candidates who will vote against all cuts. Virtually everyone who addressed the rally - far beyond the Socialist Party members or known TUSC supporters present - said something similar about backing anti-cuts candidates.

Although there were a few Labour Party activists and a smattering of Greens present, it was clear that neither the Greens nor Labour had mobilised their members. In Canterbury alone, Labour has 400 members. A Green candidate was heard boasting that the Greens have several hundred also. The most either could muster was to describe the emailing of Sure Start redundancies as "insensitive".

TUSC had by far the most visible presence on the demonstration and it was clear from the rally that it correctly articulated the demands of the local activists. The mood is there for a political alternative to austerity, even in the heartlands of Tory Britain. It is our responsibility to consistently provide the answers for which they are searching, and to build their confidence in TUSC.

Saturday's demonstration in Canterbury was a strong step in this direction.

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 17 February 2014 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

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

Related links:


triangleCanterbury pride

triangleCanterbury Socialist Party attends 'I, Daniel Blake' film night

triangleEast Kent Socialist Party: Britain & Europe after the referendum


triangleEnd Tory war on poor

triangleTeachers strike in Sheffield

triangleGlenfield victory shows people power can save our NHS

triangleVictory: Glenfield Children's Heart Centre saved!


triangleRough sleeping crisis: make homes, not arrests

triangleLabour council Blairites deselected

triangleNew ebook: Liverpool A City That Dared To Fight


triangleTUSC conference to debate 2018 elections

triangle TUSC conference


trianglePlans to launch no-cuts campaign at Kirklees College


triangleAnti-DOO lobby of Liverpool's transport committee

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Anti-DOO lobby of Liverpool's transport committee



Unite protest against blacklisting


Donald Trump

Mobilise to stop bigoted billionaire Donald Trump's state visit to Britain



Arriva bus strikers stand firm



BT pensions review - oppose the attacks on the pension schemes



Driving examiners walkout hits first day of new test



School staff strike against privatisation



Brutal rail privateer Abellio takes over Midlands rail services



PCS Left Unity celebrates 40th anniversary at annual conference


North Yorkshire

Court maintains injunction against fracking protesters


Waltham Forest

Waltham Forest Universal Credit protest



Coventry Socialist sales hit 1,000



TUSC conference to debate 2018 elections



Liverpool John Moores Uni landslide for Socialist Students



Plans to launch no-cuts campaign at Kirklees College

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

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

triangle8 Dec Local government pay: fight for the full 5% claim

triangle6 Dec Strikers rally in Liverpool

triangle6 Dec Corbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

triangle5 Dec Victory at Glenfield shows people power can save our NHS

triangle5 Dec Labour council Blairites deselected

triangle30 Nov Victory: Glenfield Children's Heart Centre saved!

triangle30 Nov Dramatic retelling of Grunwick strike

More ...

triangle12 Dec Birmingham South East Socialist Party: Can the Labour Party be changed?

triangle12 Dec Liverpool Socialist Party: Fighting council cuts

triangle13 Dec Caerphilly Socialist Party: Are we heading for an era of war?

triangle14 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Universal Credit - the Tories' latest assault on the poor

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



December 2017

November 2017

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