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From The Socialist newspaper, 8 January 2014

Energy Bills: Labour's 'supermarket special offer'

Richard Worth, Bristol South Socialist Party

Labour is targeting Kingswood constituency in Bristol for the 2015 general election, using its promise to 'freeze energy bills' to gain support for Jo McCarron, the newly selected prospective parliamentary candidate.

The original candidate stood down after not paying over £2,000 of parking fines! Both were chosen over the trade union candidate.

After speaking with McCarron by phone I was invited to meet her and Labour's shadow energy secretary, Caroline Flint MP, at a supermarket café.

I went with another Socialist Party member, expecting a big event. Instead we found around a dozen Labour Party members plus 'party officials' in a corner of the large cafe that was still open for the public.

When Flint started speaking we had to contend with the noise of people ordering teas, coffees and cakes and chatting about the weather! Also there were announcements of Asda special offers over the speaker system!

Labour's 'special offer' was, if elected, to make energy companies freeze bills until 2017. They would also 'warn' energy companies against raising prices before the freeze came into effect.

This proposal had clearly energised some Labour Party members present who genuinely wanted to make things better for working people.

Flint vaguely said how a future Labour government would replace weak energy industry regulator Ofgem with 'something better', make switching energy supplier easier and give some financial support to small community-based green energy production.

I pointed out these modest proposals had been met with widespread public support, but opinion polls had shown over 70% want energy companies taken into public ownership.

My words were met with enthusiastic applause from both the younger and older Labour Party members, far to the left of the Labour Party leadership and officials.

Their response showed how socialist ideas can win support from wide sections of the working class to fight back and take over the commanding heights of the economy to improve everyone's lives.

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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.

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In The Socialist 8 January 2014:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Axe austerity in 2014

Another year of mass struggles beckons

Unite all workers to end bosses' race to the bottom

Truth revealed about Thatcher's war against the miners

Privatisation Act lies behind the A&E crisis

Greedy landlords create housing hell

Them & Us


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Stop cruel care cuts

Birmingham Labour 'consults' over £87 million cuts


International socialist news and analysis

South Africa: Numsa's bold and historic decision to cut ties with the ANC

Why capitalism mourned Mandela

US: Fight for $15 minimum wage heats up in Seattle


Socialist Party workplace news

CWU Royal Mail agreement: Defend our right to strike!

Hampshire Unison success shows potential for fightback

UPS workers' victory

Every job matters on London Underground

Two PCS strikes on both sides of New Year


Socialist Party comments and reviews

Is UK car building back in Top Gear?

Class injustice at Dickensian court

Time for a new workers' party

Energy Bills: Labour's 'supermarket special offer'


 

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