spotArguments for socialism




spotAround the UK

All keywords

All People subcategories:


International figures

Labour Party figures




Other UK politicans

Socialist Party and CWI public figures

* Tory figures

Trade union figures


Writers and artists

Tory figures keywords:

Andy Coulson (16)

Boris Johnson (95)

David Cameron (115)

Edward Heath (2)

Eric Pickles (4)

George Osborne (61)

George Osborne (61)

Iain Duncan Smith (28)

Liam Fox (3)

Lord Ashcroft (4)

Margaret Thatcher (54)

Michael Gove (12)

Michael Howard (3)

Theresa May (50)

Winston Churchill (4)

WinstonChurchill (1)

David Cameron

Highlight keywords  |Print this articlePrint this article
From: The Socialist issue 613, 24 February 2010: NHS: not safe in their hands!

Search site for keywords: David Cameron - Council - Welfare - State


The Eton co-op won't work

HAS DAVID Cameron swapped his top hat for a cloth cap by calling for public sector workers to set up their own co-operatives?

Nancy Taaffe

The co-operative movements have their roots in the excesses and barbaric conditions that accompanied the development of early 19th century capitalism. They emerged as a response and played their part by working people attempting to implement a rudimentary system of welfare, healthcare and education. They also represent an early form of the idea of 'ethical' business.

They were part of a time when trade unions were being forged, Marxism was being debated in working class clubs, and state welfare provision as an idea, was gathering momentum.

Cameron's model

What David Cameron has in mind has nothing in common with the co-operative pioneers. His co-ops would be a backward step, a completely regressive idea.

Ever since the working class won state provision, big business has been looking at ways to cut the bill to maximise their profits. For a number of years now socialists have been arguing that the welfare model put forward by New Labour and the Tories is a pre-world war two model, fragmented, uncoordinated, poorly funded, privatised and based on pot luck provision.

It is a testimony to the legacy of the welfare state and the place it occupies in the working class psyche, that David Cameron has to borrow ideas and images from our history to try and confuse us with what is actually being proposed.

With a nearly 200 billion hole in the public finances Cameron's co-operatives would have little money, and too few workers. As a consequence the service users would probably have no proper service and no democratic control over the service.

If the last 12 years have taught us anything, it is beware any politician using the word "empower" who approaches with a huge scythe!

Council house sales?

It is telling that Tory spokespersons are hanging the popularity of their coops, as an election winner, on the memory of council house sales, which started under Margaret Thatcher. Although many council houses were badly designed and in a woeful state of disrepair, what was needed was more public investment not privatisation.

The loss of council housing is a huge loss to the next generation who are at the mercy of rotten landlords, or forced to share crowded accommodation or stay at home for longer than they should. Or face a life of indebtedness through massive mortgages.

The task of a socialist administration is to develop affordable accommodation, as the Militant-led (forerunner of the Socialist Party) council built in Liverpool in the mid 1980s. There, we built a campaign and mobilised people to fight for it. Our legacy is there in bricks and mortar.

Co-operatives based on a system of want and deprivation often fail, and out of the mouths of Tory politicians are destined to do so.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

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.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation


Your message: 


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041



Alphabetical listing

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020