London riots 2011, photo Paul Mattsson

London riots 2011, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

As part of its anniversary coverage of the 2011 summer unrest, The Guardian newspaper conducted a survey of council funding of youth services in the years since, looking at the five areas of the country where 49% of recorded crimes during the 2011 events took place.

All of the areas had seen a cut equal to or greater than the national average 73% reduction in youth services funding, which informed the article’s heading, ‘A tinderbox of tensions still in place, ten years after riots’.

As the national election agent of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), I wrote to The Guardian’s letter page pointing out that “all the councils are Labour-controlled and have been since 2011”.

Responding to the justification for cuts that some Labour councillors make when they say ‘there is nothing else we can do’ (which they never put on their election leaflets of course!) I argued that they were wrong: “councils can refuse to implement Tory austerity and we need councillors who will do so”.

That really would “give a voice to the voiceless and provide hope that 2011 won’t be repeated” the letter concluded. But it was never published.

That the Guardian shields right-wing Labour politicians’ complicity with Tory austerity will be less surprising to readers of The Socialist than news about bears’ toilet preferences. But there is no harm in recording yet another example.

Clive Heemskerk, TUSC National Election Agent