Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/301/13798

From The Socialist newspaper, 24 May 2003

Coventry Labour Prefers Deals With The Tories

NEW LABOUR lost overall control on Coventry council in recent elections. Small parties - especially the Socialist Party - can effectively hold the balance of power.

Rob Windsor, Socialist councillor Coventry

Our Socialist Party group put some proposals - not a Socialist manifesto but basic policy changes to benefit working-class people (see the socialist 17 May) - to New Labour's potential council leader at the 13 May meeting.

If these had been granted, we would not have opposed them setting up an administration, although we'd have kept opposing New Labour policies that we disagreed with throughout the year. But the Labour group leader's reply was not satisfactory.

On housing there were no written commitments to our proposals. The same was true on our proposal for a community land bank where the council could buy up vacant land for community use rather than rich developers getting it.

But the biggest sticking point was our call for an end to all PFI proposals including ones for the local incinerator and sports centre. We argued for an investigation into publicly funded alternatives. The Labour leader' said "No" and claimed that he wouldn't let "political dogma" stop the city's "regeneration."

It appears that free-market "dogma" that calls PFI "the only show in town" is fine though! Handing public assets to private companies in exchange for badly built alternatives to be rented back to council tax payers at a profit for 30 years plus is OK by Labour.

So far locally New Labour's "regeneration" involves "Highland clearance" type proposals where working-class communities are replaced by luxury flats and tacky, glossy developments. Local people resent this - that's why they continue to vote against New Labour.

Blairite policies

THE COUNCIL leader said that in his opinion Coventry council already implements "socialist policies" but nothing could be further from the truth. It has been a test-bed for every Blairite prototype and proposal for years, hence Labour's decline. The difference between the "two Tory parties" becomes increasingly more blurred.

Before the council meeting New Labour did a deal with the Tories on the basis of Tories chairing some "Scrutiny Committees". Our proposals were not based on getting positions but getting tangible benefits for working class people.

The response we got was too little. Agreeing only to "look into" issues is a bit like accepting a cheque without a signature so the Socialist Group voted against New Labour forming an administration. The Tories abstained.

Labour then tried to stitch up the council's constitution to block opposition. They failed. The three Socialist councillors' votes were decisive - one proposal was to stop communities putting petitions to the council for six months after a Cabinet Member had made a decision on an issue. This was clearly meant to disrupt protests against school closures, cut-backs etc.

Tenants' meetings were eager to hear how New Labour's power has been eroded. If strong local community campaigns against cuts and decline are set up the council is now more susceptible to pressure. This message is not lost on local activists.

Like good shop stewards our councillors will use all means possible to improve working-class people's lives without compromising our principles.

Labour showed how little principle meant to them by sacking Heather Parker as cabinet member for "Community Well Being" following her opposition to the war. Another Cabinet member who marched against the war, Dave Chater, has also been sacked.

But New Labour's arrogance will be short lived and council meetings will certainly be more lively in future. Two Labour Councillors have split away to form an "Independent Labour Group" - how this develops in the coming months will be very interesting.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 24 May 2003:

Striking Back At Poverty Pay

Amicus, The Political Fund And New Labour

NATFHE conference: Defend Education Fight New Labour's Attacks

Capitalism Means War And Terror

Education: New Labour's triple crisis

Fees - Tories try to woo students

Nursery Nurses scent victory in pay battle

Coventry Labour Prefers Deals With The Tories

Iraq: The Chaos Of Imperialist Occupation

Raffarin government attacks pensions France's Workers Take To The Streets


 

Home   |   The Socialist 24 May 2003   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Coventry:

triangleThe Socialist: More than a newspaper

triangleCoventry: Socialist Students is back

triangleCoventry: scrap 'profit before people' hospital parking charges

triangleSchools... no going back until it's safe

triangleCoventry socialist candidate wins votes against austerity

Tories:

triangleTory Covid chaos

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: Tories in Crisis

triangleWhy I joined the Socialist Party: Tories and Blairites only care about corporate greed

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: Covid Schools + Tories = Chaos

Labour:

triangleWhy we joined the Socialist Party

triangleLiverpool Socialist Party: The Labour Party - what is its future?

triangleNon-fiction: Left Out - the inside story of Labour under Corbyn

Council:

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

triangleSussex: Hands off Peacehaven schools

Socialist:

triangleGrimsby Socialist Party: Solidarity with refugees - Oppose racism

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

23/9/20

The Socialist

The Socialist: More than a newspaper

23/9/20

Coventry

Coventry: Socialist Students is back

23/9/20

Liverpool

Liverpool Council must save care homes

23/9/20

Sussex

Sussex: Hands off Peacehaven schools

23/9/20

Fighting Fund

Fighting fund: One week to raise 3,444

23/9/20

Cardiff

Workplace news in brief

23/9/20

Schools

Dispatches from the front - chaotic schools are not safe!

16/9/20

The Socialist

Selling the Socialist

16/9/20

Socialist Party

Why I joined the Socialist Party: Tories and Blairites only care about corporate greed

16/9/20

Young people

Covid generation says 'fund our future'

16/9/20

Coventry

Coventry: scrap 'profit before people' hospital parking charges

16/9/20

National Shop Stewards Network

Lobbying for a lead from the TUC

16/9/20

NHS

Angry health workers demand 15% now!

16/9/20

Usdaw

Reinstate Richie Venton

16/9/20

Hull

Reinstate Tony Smith

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


September 2020

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999