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‘Aspiring’ leader

“Quite often we talked about handouts and how we would help people rather than providing that broad positive vision for the future.”

This was Rebecca Long-Bailey talking about the Labour’s 2019 general election manifesto in a BBC interview. She said Labour should have delivered positive messages about its manifesto, while “talking about aspiration”.

Long-Bailey was hailed as the ‘continuity Corbyn’ candidate, though no one seems to mention Corbyn at all any more. She is also the ‘socialist’ candidate.

What she said could just as easily have come from any neoliberal or pro-austerity politician.

The policies in the manifesto were popular. What was lacking, among other things, was trust in Corbyn and a Labour government to implement them, given that Labour councils have carried out cuts for years.

For the potential left leader of the Labour Party to refer to measures to address low pay, precarious work, poverty, housing and homelessness, education and healthcare and all the other policies proposed in the manifesto as “handouts” is deeply worrying. The idea that these policies prevent “aspiration” shows a complete lack of understanding of working-class people’s lives. Without addressing inequality in society there can be no ‘aspiration’ for the majority of the population.

It is disappointing that Long-Bailey attacked her own party manifesto at the moment when it was revealed by Time magazine that 2,153 billionaires have more wealth than 4.6 billion people on earth. Clearly, the 4.6 billion are suffering providing handouts so the billionaires and the rich get richer.

The leadership election finishes on 2 April. There is little chance of ‘continuity Corbyn’ if even Long-Bailey cannot speak to the working class or support the 2019 manifesto as policies to end austerity and improve lives, especially if Labour councils continue to make cuts.

Clare Wilkins, Nottingham
'No cuts', photo JB

‘No cuts’, photo JB   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Cuts crime

On BBC Question Time, 23 January, in answer to a question on knife crime, the former Durham police chief constable Mike Barton replied: “We are never going to arrest our way out of this problem. Of course the police have got a role to play, of course we’ve got to investigate crime… but the cuts since 2010 have had an impact. There’s got to be a grown-up debate about drugs. So what’s the answer? The answer has got to be youth and social provision… Sadly, the cuts to policing are a mere shadow of the cuts to local authority budgets over the last ten years.”

Yet what has been the response of MPs and councillors? More austerity and more cuts!

As the Socialist Party has consistently argued, we need a mass campaign to mobilise working-class people to reverse austerity and to fight for the necessary resources to rebuild our communities.

Chris Newby , Hackney

Fight cuts

Liverpool’s mayor Joe Anderson and the Labour group have carried out the cuts for the Tories over many years, without any serious attempt to organise a mass campaign to recover the resources stolen by them.

The city has lost over £460 million in the last ten years with the consequent reduction in service provision, which has had a devastating impact on our communities.

The lack of any organised fightback has only emboldened the Tories to step up these attacks, as we can see with the communities secretary Robert Jenrick scrapping the excellent landlord licensing scheme to protect tenants; and the public health budget is to be cut by more than £2 million pounds!

This will affect some very vulnerable people with alcohol problems and other addictions, sexual health issues, and some dental provision will also los be lost.

The council intends to raise council tax by the maximum allowed – 4% – yet again, to compensate for these government cuts in funding. Yes, another £30 million pounds of cuts for 2020-21!

No amount of pleading by Anderson will have any impact on the Tories. They just see this as weakness; they will only respond if the council is prepared to mount a mass campaign to recover the funds we need to sustain our services.

If you fight, you can win. If you don’t fight, you never win. French workers have shown us how we can win and they have forced Macron to retreat over the retirement age and pensions’ issues.

No more cuts! Fight for the resources that we need for a decent life.

Frank Bowen, Liverpool