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From The Socialist newspaper, 13 December 2007

Sefton's first citizen "cheating the system"

JUST OVER two years ago, New Labour's rulers in Sefton on Merseyside victimised six Unison activists for protesting against privatising the borough's housing stock. Trumped-up charges involving intimidation and violence were brought against them, even though police officers on duty during the protest reported no illegal behaviour, nor did CCTV video footage justify the allegations.

Merseyside Socialist Party

A key witness at the hearings was the then mayor of Sefton, John Walker. When Unison representatives challenged his evidence, the management "prosecutor" haughtily asked whether activists were suggesting that the borough's first citizen was telling lies. Clearly he was, and that is not all he lied about. On 3 December he was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court to 15 months imprisonment for benefit fraud! His wife was sentenced to eight months imprisonment.

In the trial judge's words: "As the two of you were posturing in your civic finery and were being chauffeured around in your publicly-funded limousine you were cheating the system."

The trial generated great interest on Merseyside. Evidence from the borough's chief executive implied that the mayor got drunk at civic functions and then rang in the next day cancelling engagements. Even the local priest gave evidence of the sprightly way the mayor went down the aisle to take mass, despite claiming to be unable to walk without assistance!

The fraud amounted to 38,000 and the money was used to send their daughter to a private school! So a New Labour councillor was content to preside over cuts in the borough's education system, as long as his own daughter did not suffer from them.

Sefton includes working-class areas like Bootle and Litherland, where poverty is rife. No wonder Socialist Party member Pete Glover gets the highest vote of any left candidate on Merseyside when he regularly comes second to New Labour in municipal elections there.

This sordid incident gives a glimpse of the extent of corruption in New Labour, showing that the bottom is no different from the top, where the sleaze of illegal funding has recently undermined the Brown government's credibility.

The Campaign for a New Workers Party and the Socialist Party offer workers an alternative to right-wing corruption, cuts and junkets. Who can sincerely say that this alternative is not necessary?

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In The Socialist 13 December 2007:


Scotland

Defend Tommy Sheridan: End Murdoch's witch-hunt

Tommy Sheridan: End Murdoch's vendetta

Tommy Sheridan perjury charge


Socialist Party NHS campaign

Warning: NHS cuts seriously damage your health

Manchester: Karen Reissmann sacked - and cuts still loom


Post Office dispute

Fight to save post offices


What we think

Interest rate cut will bring no reprieve

Charity begins at the bank

Every fiddle helps

Government's lying statistics


Global Warming

Thousands march against climate change


Socialist Party news and analysis

Sefton's first citizen "cheating the system"

Unite Cardiff schools campaigns

Your new police terror chief


Socialist Students

National Union of Students: Right wing force through undemocratic changes

Leicester students debate tuition fees


International socialist news and analysis

Beijing Olympics under a cloud

China: Mass protests erupt in Shenyang

Extraordinary tape destruction at CIA torture camp


Workplace news and analysis

DWP strike: Fighting the pay cuts

Birmingham city council: Workers boo 'lead balloon' councillors

Action can beat Cadbury closure threat

Newham council sack Unison chair


 

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