Labour has announced an e-petition to oppose cuts to the police — its biggest opposition to any of the Tory/Liberal cuts since losing the election.
The leadership want to force a parliamentary debate on the issue in the aftermath of the riots which started in Tottenham following the police killing of Mark Duggan. Ed Miliband has used the riots primarily to argue against the cuts to the police: “The events of the last few days have been a stark reminder to us all that police on our streets make our communities safer and make the public feel safer”.
He does not mention the massive cuts to the public sector, infinitely more damaging to young working-class people, or the heavy handed and racist policing that blights many inner city communities.
We face a cut of 60% capital spending in education, a £20 billion cut to NHS funding and an estimated 163,000 jobs threatened in local authorities. According to the Labour Representation Committee, Haringey Council in March, “Approved cuts of £84 million from a total budget of £273 million. There was a savage 75% cut to the Youth Service budget, including: closing the youth centres; connexions careers advice service for young people reduced by 75%... Haringey has one of the highest numbers of children living in severe poverty, and unemployment in the borough is among the highest in the UK. In London as a whole, youth unemployment is at 23%.”
These are the savage cuts Labour should be fighting. Instead they are protecting the police.
We must pressure Council Labour Groups, especially where they hold power, to support resistance against cuts by refusing to implement them. And we must demand resistance from the Labour Party nationally too.
We should demand that Labour supports striking workers instead of condemning them, and stops championing the unaccountable and racist police force, who are used regularly to disrupt working class lives by attacking strikes and protests, protecting fascists, and harassing working-class youth on the streets.