Lobbies, marches and "calling the cops"

Submitted by Matthew on 23 February, 2011 - 3:17

Norfolk

250 people protested outside Norfolk County Council’s chamber, and dozens more protested inside it.

Tory Council leader Derek Murphy said: “People are rightly passionate about their county, their services and their jobs. But needs must, and those needs are very great indeed.”

Such is the financial logic of the ruling class that means a £60 million cut from council spending. Another £90 million worth of cuts is likely over the next few years.

Youth and children’s services, adoption and family intervention work are especially badly hit.

Unions need a campaign to build for strike action.

Bromley

Bromley Council in south east London is set to make massive cuts to children’s and youth centres, sheltered housing and library services.

Activists plan a protest outside the council meeting, outside the Civic Centre, at 6pm on Monday 28 February. Contact: bromleycuts@gmail.com

Barnet

On 14 February Barnet’s anti-cuts group lobbied the council cabinet meeting that adopted a cuts package of £54.4 million over three years.

We were joined by first-time protesters, including staff, parents and children from schools whose crossing patrols are being cut, and angry residents living in the Controlled Parking Zones, whose charges are going up by 130-400 per cent.

The cabinet were heckled throughout and adjourned for 45 minutes.

Waltham Forest

More than 200 people marched from Leyton to Walthamstow. The march was organised by the Waltham Forest Anti-Cuts Union.

The demo was broad, and emphasised youth services and the NHS. Less was said about elderly care — an area where the borough faces massive cuts.

Liverpool

Liverpool City Council led a march against the cuts on Sunday 20 February, but come Monday morning, they got back to making cuts.

More than 1,000 people turned out on a the demonstration.

The council intends to make cuts totalling £91 million this year with the loss of 1500 jobs . This is to be followed by a further £50 million in cuts next year.

The demonstration was publicised under the slogan “Fair Deal for Liverpool”. The argument being that the cut to Liverpool is disproportionate and if the cuts had been applied “evenly” across local authorities, then Liverpool would “only” be facing a cut of 9% and therefore be some £27 million better off.

The Labour group has formed a “coalition” to write this budget with the Lib Dems, the Liberal party, and the Greens. This “united front” is described by the [Liberal] Lord Mayor Hazel Williams as some kind of ‘blitz spirit’ effort.

In fact, at the last Liverpool Riverside Constituency Labour Party it was made clear by Councillor Paul Brant that this was being done order to protect the Labour councillors from attacks from the right.

Despite everything, people still see the Labour Party as the force that is going to protect them from the Tory attacks, but, as was made very clear by many people you spoke to, this is on the basis that they expect a fight.

Liverpool Trades Council has called a lobby of the council for its official budget setting on 2 March.

Islington

On Thursday 17 February Islington council unions organised a lobby of Islington’s council meeting where the Labour majority would be voting their cuts budget through (£100 million over four years).

The rally — supported by the trades council and anti-cuts campaign — wasn’t well attended, unfortunately. The rally was focussed on calling on the Labour Party not to vote through the cuts. Labour council leader Catherine West, who led the last demo against the cuts, was noticeable by her absence and later by her decision to have protestors removed by the police from the public gallery.

The main focus was simply to go into the public gallery and make things uncomfortable for the people who have until very recently been leading demos and speaking at public meetings against the cuts. We did this for the first hour of the meeting, including my favourite chant of the evening “Labour councils gone beserk, doing all the Tories’ work”. This shouting made it impossible for Labour to discuss, let alone vote, on their budget, and had a really good spirit and feel to it.

But to Labour’s shame the police were called on us as a “warning”. During a 10 minute break the police appeared with reinforcements. Now the police were much more physical, dragging people out and threatening them with arrest.

Once the police had cleared the pubic gallery, the council unanimously voted through the cuts budget.

• More: www.workersliberty.org/ node/16121

Hackney

On Saturday 19 February over five hundred marched from Stoke Newington to Hackney Town Hall in opposition to cuts.

The borough anti-cuts group, the Hackney Alliance, has split into ward groups to carry out the day-to-day campaigning work, while Hackney-wide fortnightly meetings organise the whole area. This will allow the campaign a high level of flexibility. Activists are mobilising local residents for a 2 March lobby.

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