Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/811/18619
The Socialist 14 May 2014 |
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Southampton: Showing what's possible
In 2012 two Labour councillors, Keith Morrell and Don Thomas, voted against the cuts in Labour-led Southampton council. For this they were expelled from the Labour Party. They joined the Socialist Party and this year Keith is up for re-election, supported by TUSC.
Don explains how they've used their positions to raise an anti-cuts message.
In Coxford, Southampton, we have an opportunity to elect a real alternative to the main parties. An opportunity to say enough is enough, it doesn't have to be like this.
The truth is, it is all about priorities. The victory over our local pool (Oaklands), with the support of myself and fellow anti-cuts councillor Keith Morrell, the community, and the council trade unions (Unison and Unite), shows what is possible. We were told by Labour: "It's closed, get used to it." Months later the campaign forced them to do a U-turn and they found £1.5 million to refurbish the pool.
Keith and I stood for election as Labour councillors on the promise we would keep the pool open. When Labour proposed to close it, we were simply never going to vote for that. We stood by our promises.
Labour stood for election in 2012 promising to protect jobs and services and betrayed their promises. We put an alternative budget forward that would protect all jobs and services, to show what could be done.
As socialist councillors we have a long track record of standing with our community to save services. We have saved local play centres and prevented the demolition of local sheltered housing. Along with the community we collected over 600 signatories to save a local bus route. When a local supermarket tried to close a much-used public pathway, we successfully fought to keep it.
TUSC has socialist candidates in place in every corner of Southampton who will give residents the opportunity to vote for a real alternative.
We are really lucky to have Keith, to pave the way and show what councillors can do. People here understand what is at stake. On 22 May they can re-elect a fighting councillor with a track record of standing by his word. All the big business parties are creating councillors who are programmed to vote for cuts.
People know Keith won't let them down, won't back down, and will put them first. Re-electing Keith on 22 May will show the support that exists for such a stand.