Green Party campaigners outside London's King's Cross station, photo Paul Mattsson

Green Party campaigners outside London’s King’s Cross station, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

The “anti-austerity” Green Party has once again lined up with Blairite cutters in Bristol.

May’s elections ousted the incumbent ‘independent’ mayor George Ferguson – who Green councillors were happy to work with to make cuts – in favour of Labour’s Marvin Rees. The Greens’ own candidate, Tony Dyer, then defended Rees’s cuts programme in the 10 May Bristol Post.

In the article, Dyer warns of a shortfall of £80 million facing the city council. He offers the option of privatising housing services as one way of making out the cuts, and calls on people to support Rees as he carries it out.

Tom Baldwin stood as mayoral candidate for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) against all cuts and privatisation. Tom said:

“It’s funny that these warnings have been made after the election – and not during it, when the Greens were seeking people’s votes and posing as opponents of austerity.

TUSC was the only party to consistently warn of the scale of budget cuts Bristol must face up to in the coming years. That’s because we were the only party with a plan to fight those cuts, and stick up for jobs and services in this city.

We called for a budget based on what Bristol needs – and building a mass campaign to push back the Tory government, and reverse the swingeing cuts it’s made.

Claims that this would be illegal are wrong. The council could use reserves to balance the budget in the first instance, protecting services while an anti-cuts campaign is built.

The election results showed a huge desire for change. This needs to be a genuine change of direction, not just a new leader following the same old policies. Unfortunately, during the campaign, Labour’s Marvin Rees talked of the need to “pick our battles” rather than challenge the cuts.

The Greens’ Tony Dyer has now echoed this approach, saying: “What I think Marvin needs is people to support him and not expect too much.”

TUSC does not say one thing in elections then act differently after. We will continue to oppose austerity and stick up for ordinary people, and the jobs and services we need, no matter what.

It’s still possible for the new mayor to change direction, reverse the cuts made by George Ferguson, and refuse to make more. We call on Marvin Rees to do this and we will support any genuine efforts to stop the cuts.”