Anti-cuts, public services

Questions and answers on the cuts

Q. The Lib/Tory coalition says that the government just has to make social cuts, in the same way as anyone who has "maxed out" their credit cards needs to cut back. Is that true? A. No. In the first place, there is nothing impossible about the government continuing with a large budget deficit for a while. Governments can't "run out of money" in the same way that households or businesses can. In the last analysis the question "where can the government get the money from?" can be answered simply: from the Bank of England printworks. There are limits on printing more cash, but the government is...

For a publicly-owned integrated transport system

The government decision to scrap the eastern sections of the HS2 high-speed rail project is unsurprising. Rumours that the Tories were looking for short cuts over the project alongside an apparent new “package” of upgrades had circulated for some time. But the government’s own claims that their new package of upgrades to existing lines adds some new capacity bear scrutiny. The section that would have connected Birmingham to Leeds will now end at the existing East Midlands Parkway station. A new high speed line between Manchester and Leeds has gone. Instead it will end in Marsden, West...

How to clean the stables of capitalism

Corruption. Conservatives. And the other big c-word here, really, is contracting-out. Contracting-out of public functions has expanded hugely over decades, since the 1980s. It generates lush and repeated profit-chances for those who can make the introductions, drop words in the right ears, or just give inside knowledge on the right notes to strike in applications. The squall about sleaze set off by the affair of paid-lobbying MP Owen Paterson comes on the back of two great contracting-out scandals which, somehow, so far, the Tories had managed to navigate with little punishment. The PPE...

Labour women's solidarity with domestic violence refuges

Lewes Labour Women have combined practical solidarity with political campaigning and policy discussion in taking on the issue of violence against women. Six months into lockdown, we asked Labour members in Lewes constituency to donate clothes, toys and other items for our local women’s refuge. We knew that lockdown had made domestic violence more common, leaving an abusive relationship more difficult, and refuges unable to meet demand. Driving round our patch of East Sussex collecting donations also meant talking with members about the need for political campaigning. We had no intention of...

Diary of a firefighter: Pumps off the run

P opens BOSS, an operation database. “What do we reckon then, gents?” It’s become a daily ritual – guess how many pumps (the frontline workhorse fire engine of the brigade) are off the run. The guesses come thick and fast, mostly between 25 and 40, although J, ever the optimist, plumps for 20. “33”, P informs us. It’s a shocking shortfall, but about average for recent months. And that’s just the pumps off the run, let alone pump ladders, aerials or any other specialist appliance. The brigade is chronically, woefully short staffed. At every change of watch, Resource Management Centre play a...

Sheffield Archaeology: a cut with a "global impact"

A student involved with the Sheffield University Save Archaeology Campaign spoke to us. Back in February, a few students were emailed, asking us to attend an “informal chat” with the Deputy Vice Chancellor. Only a few of us were chosen and around a dozen or more of us turned up. She asked us for negative views as well as positive views about the department – she only received positive views. At a follow-up meeting, the Deputy VC laid out the conclusions from this “consultation”: they would close the Department of Archaeology and move two of its “areas of strength” into other departments. These...

Three protests on 26 June

As the well-advertised, heavily union-backed People's Assembly (PA) march moved off on 26 June, I cycled from it to join the trans rights protest assembling at Wellington Arch. It was a good few thousand. It was smaller than the PA protest but not that much smaller. It was younger and livelier; and, as far as I could judge from literature sales and conversations, pretty much as left-wing on "average" but in a more positive, less addled, way. There were contingents (small contingents, but contingents) from a clump of National Education Union (NEU) branches (Haringey, Waltham Forest, Newham...

Join the 26 June protest

The People’s Assembly (PA), an anti-cuts group, has called a demonstration in London for 26 June, noon from Portland Place. The PA was formed in 2013, is financed by trade unions including Unite, and now has “Corbynite” former Labour shadow minister Laura Pidcock as its secretary. The small socialist group Counterfire is important in its backroom workings. The protest is supported by several unions besides Unite (NEU, PCS, RMT, FBU...), and by Extinction Rebellion, which plans additional protests of its own on the weekend 26-27 June. Awkwardly, the protest, planned months ago, has accumulated...

"This is about the kind of world we want to live in"

Ali Treacher is a care worker, Unite the Union activist and workplace rep, and Secretary of the Care and Support Workers Organise! network (CaSWO!) She is also a supporter of Anti-Capitalist Resistance. She spoke to us about care workers' fight. CaSWO! has been meeting throughout the last year, since the start of the pandemic, after a Unison-organised call which brought together care workers around issues like workplace health and safety and PPE. The initial focus was basically offering each other solidarity and advice and sharing information. Government guidelines were so vague that we had to...

Marching for Moulsecoomb

Hundreds of parents, kids, workers and supporters braved the rain to march from Moulsecoomb primary school to a rally at The Level in Brighton on Saturday 15 May, demanding that the school remain in local authority control.

Despite overwhelming opposition, the Department for Education is...

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