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From The Socialist newspaper, 11 March 2020

Is there an anti-cuts rebellion in Scotland?

End austerity now, photo Paul Mattsson

End austerity now, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Matt Dobson, Socialist Party Scotland

In Scotland, both Scottish National Party (SNP) and Labour councillors continue to be complicit in implementing cuts.

In a welcome change of approach, three Labour councillors affiliated with the Campaign for Socialism, have this year refused to vote for cuts budgets for the first time. All three broke Labour group discipline, having previously voted for cuts budgets.

Gordon Munro in Edinburgh abstained on the SNP/Labour cuts budget. In North Lanarkshire, Angela Feeney "with a heavy heart" refused to support her party's proposals.

Glasgow councillor Matt Kerr walked out of the council chamber in opposition to the various cuts budgets on offer, including Labour's alternative budget. He said: "I refuse to be an administrator for any more cuts".

Socialist Party Scotland welcomes political opposition to cuts budgets from councillors and we would oppose any witch-hunt of councillors who refuse to vote for cuts. But we would go further and call on these councillors to advocate an alternative no-cuts budget for their councils.

So far this has not happened. Individual protests by councillors are not a substitute for a strategy of building a mass campaign against cuts.

Unions and campaigns

Why did these left councillors not link up with council workers and communities and put forward the alternative, legal, no-cuts budget strategy that has been demanded consistently and for several years by the joint trade unions in Glasgow for example?

This is also the official position of the UK local government committees of Unison, Unite and GMB unions, and Unison Scotland. Councils could stop cuts and council tax rises by utilising financial mechanisms such as borrowing, debt management, reserves and cancellation of PFI privatisation.

They then could launch mass campaigns uniting with trade unions and communities to demand more funding from Holyrood. The Scottish government should do the same and use its income tax powers on the wealthy to fund public services.

Historically, the socialist Liverpool council in the 1980s was able to win more funding from the Thatcher government by refusing to implement cuts. Why not follow this road if enough is really enough?

Many trade unionists, workers and community activists in Glasgow are also pointing out that despite this recent protest, Matt Kerr was part of the previous Labour administration that carried out several hundred million in cuts. He was also on the wrong side of bitter strikes in social work and over the privatisation of ICT services in Glasgow.

Angela Feeney voted to increase council tax - in reality another austerity attack on the working class - something the Socialist Party opposes.

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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 11 March 2020:


Coronavirus

Coronavirus: Full NHS funding now

Coronavirus infects the world economy

Flybe collapse: nationalise to save jobs threatened by Covid-19 and downturn

Coronavirus: international cooperation needed, not capitalist competition

Supermarkets are ruled by profit - unions should control supply limits

For full pay during isolation: for public health as well as workers' wallets

Self-isolation patients speak: NHS facilities and advice not up to it

Italy on lockdown: lack of resources and democracy causes panic

South Korea shows capitalism has money to respond to coronavirus

Coronavirus news in brief


News

Domestic Violence bill: We still need to fight to save our services

News in brief


Workplace news

Postal workers mobilise to win strike reballot

Homerton Hospital workers fight for sick pay

Fighting to transform the union in my warehouse

Argos workers in Sainsbury's stores threatened with losing collective bargaining

Homeless charity workers to strike against intransigent management

Southampton trade unionists say "defend the right to strike!"

Strong support for PCS Broad Left Network

East London uni and bin worker strikes


US election

How can Trump be ousted from the White House?


Campaigns and party news

Salford 'no-cuts' budget includes cuts and tax rises

Stoke council unions beat pay cuts - now let's stop all cuts

Is there an anti-cuts rebellion in Scotland?

Socialist Party joins International Women's Day protests

Housing workers explain reality to idiot Boris Johnson

Swansea: Ask anyone about state of services, you will hear the real story

Camarthenshire: Councillors' 'walk of shame'

Student occupation in support of striking workers

Selling the Socialist

Socialist Party executive committee positions


International news

Greece-Turkey border refugee crisis


Women's and trans rights

Women's rights, trans rights and the labour movement


Readers' opinion

Film: Greed directed by Michael Winterbottom

Childcare - costly, inadequate and hard work

Book: Why you should be a trade unionist by Unite general secretary Len McCluskey

The Socialist Inbox


 

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Related links:

Scotland:

triangle'Roses are red, violets are blue, BP and Shell - we're coming for you'

triangleWest London Socialist Party: Scotland - is the stage set for a new independence struggle?

triangleRobert Burns: of the people, for the people

triangleMassive Scottish independence demo marks new stage in struggle

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Cuts:

triangleNewham campaign set up against council cuts and tax hikes

triangleCouncils must break austerity rules

triangleBook: Why you should be a trade unionist by Unite general secretary Len McCluskey

triangleCamarthenshire: Councillors' 'walk of shame'

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triangleUnite regional committee votes to support anti-cuts Enfield councillor

triangleUnison conference: Socialist Party members call for anti-cuts fight and build left challenge

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triangleLabour must resist 'Covid coalition'

triangleNottingham Socialist Party: After the Labour leadership result - Do we need a new workers' party?

Councillors:

triangleLabour councils miss opportunity to stop Tory cuts

Council:

triangleGoing viral - Socialist letters and comments on the coronavirus crisis

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