Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/531/4056
"Why I am standing against Labour"
PHIL JORDAN, South West Regional chair of the FBU (Fire Brigades Union) and Gloucester trades council president, is standing in Tuffley for the Gloucester city elections on 1 May as an independent. London Region FBU has backed Phil financially.
Phil told CHRIS MOORE why he is standing.
"THE FIREFIGHTERS went on strike in 2002/3 for fair pay. I was disgusted by the treatment FBU members got from the Labour government. We were even called murderers simply for standing up and fighting for better pay and conditions.
As we walked out on strike I tore up my Labour Party membership. I didn't subscribe to the notion that you had to be in the Labour Party to influence change because we had no influence over the government during our strike.
I devoted myself to being a union official and became angry with politics. I became more distanced from the Labour Party because of their treatment of working-class people, especially the nurses.
When the Tories were in power, Labour couldn't criticise PFIs (Private Finance Initiatives) enough, now they've brought in more than the Tories. They promised us a different approach to politics, with honesty and no sleaze.
It's so difficult to differentiate between Labour and the Conservatives these days. I would have expected a Labour government to be as supportive to public services as the Tories were to big business, but sadly that's not the case. The postal dispute again showed how the Labour Party turned on working-class people.
Now the government is closing our post offices. The local Labour MP Parmjit Dhanda one day was campaigning to keep local ones open, the next was voting to close them.
The main reason I'm standing locally was the support the MP gave to the moving of Emergency Fire Control from Gloucester to Taunton. We're going from seven control rooms around the South West to one with 120 fewer staff.
I'm trying to engage local working class people with politics and to look at how we can achieve that nationally. I would be prepared to be involved in a movement towards a new workers' party and I would encourage other FBU members and trade unionists to consider standing against Labour."
In The Socialist 30 April 2008:
Socialist Party campaigns
Socialist Party election campaigns
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news