Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/492/2539
Arise... Sir Stephen who?
THE 'BIRTHDAY honours list' is a big chance for the 'great and the good' to be given gongs. This year, celebs like "Beefy" Botham and Dame Edna Everage were honoured and Steve Bullock, the directly elected New Labour mayor of Lewisham was knighted for 'services to local government'.
Roger Shrives Lewisham Socialist Party
Steve who? Why has he become Sir Steve? He has none of Botham's sporting gifts apart from knocking local democracy for six. Bullock and his small handpicked cabinet can, in theory at least, over-rule all councillors' decisions - you can see why that would be popular with New Labour.
Did he make people laugh like Edna Everage? Well hilariously, in the five years Bullock has been Mayor, Lewisham has gone from being a safe Labour borough for 35 years to a hung council. But that's about it for comedy.
Bullock does not work voluntarily, he gets paid £73,000 a year. His almost one-man rule has sparked a campaign to abolish the post of directly elected mayor.
A motion calling for a new referendum on abolition was only beaten by Labour councillors being three-line-whipped and in some cases returned early from holidays abroad.
Lewisham used to be one of Blair's flagship councils. But Bullock's Blairite policies of budget cuts and closures, housing privatisation and education 'reforms' such as pushing Academy schools have been opposed by united campaigning action. Lewisham's Socialist Party councillors Ian Page and Chris Flood have spearheaded the opposition on the council.
So whether Bullock is known as Sir Stephen or some less respectful name based on mishearing, the real fight against Blairism, Brownism and Bullockism continues.
In The Socialist 21 June 2007:
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party news and analysis
War and terrorism
Socialist students and ISR
Workplace news and analysis
International socialist news