Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/436/5152
Local elections 4 May -
A socialist alternative to privatisation
THE ASSERTION that the three main parties are 'all Tory parties' has been dramatically confirmed in Southwark, south London, where Socialist Party member Lois Austin is standing in the May elections.
The Liberal council, that promised to be so different to Labour, who ran the council before them, are selling three more council estates in Southwark. This is despite the Liberals proclaiming they supported the fourth option, which is supposed to mean maintaining council housing. New Labour and Tories both support these proposals, despite making some minor criticisms.
These three estates are on prime land close to the river Thames. They are not even selling them to a so called 'registered social landlord', but to a big development company, British Land, which has £14.6 billion worth of property holdings. Their shareholders must be rubbing their greedy hands with glee at the prospect of getting such valuable public land at what will be a knock down price.
Council tenants have been promised brand spanking new homes and gardens. But as with all council housing privatisations, promises such as these rarely materialise. It is more likely that the existing tenants will be squeezed on to a fraction of the land they currently occupy (some may not even get rehoused in that area), their rents will go up and their tenants' rights will be annihilated.
'Regeneration' in Southwark has meant luxury developments for the rich and a continued attempt to drive the working class out - 'social cleansing' by another name. Lois Austin is standing in this election to give local people a voice to stand up to the developers moving into our community.
Lois helped build the 'Save Peabody Homes' campaign. Like all social landlords in Southwark, Peabody Trust are cashing in on the land and property values brought about by big business regeneration. Peabody is market renting and selling flats, drastically reducing the amount of social housing in the Cathedrals ward. Local tenants have signed up to the campaign and are voting for Lois in the election.
Since coming to power in Southwark, the Liberals have acted no differently to the other main parties. They have cut staff from sheltered accommodation and home care services. They are bulldozing the huge Aylesbury estate and selling it, despite tenants voting to stay with the council.
Lois has rekindled support for socialism among some local people who haven't voted for years because they couldn't bring themselves to vote New Labour.
The main parties all support the privatisation of council housing and of public services. This time there is an alternative in Southwark on 4 May and in several other areas - it's the socialist alternative.
See Lois in a Socialist Party video campaigning for a new workers party to represent the working class:
In The Socialist 20 April 2006:
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party election campaign
Workplace news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis