Solidarity spoke to Henry Fowler, who stood as a Labour council candidate in Wandsworth, south London
Q.Why did you stand as a Labour councillor?
Labour may not run the country, but it does have control of a large amount of local authorities. I wanted to be a Labour councillor to offer an alternative to austerity and cuts, to defend local government.
Q. What did you hope to achieve?
I wanted to be part of a group of left councillors that opposed cuts to our services, build council houses, and stop academisation of our schools.
Q. What do you think left Labour councillors should do now individually or collectively?
Individually councillors should listen to local party members and constituents about what issues affect them. However, it is vital for councillors to show leadership and also ensure that they can win the argument in the chamber.
Collectively left councillors need to work within the borough, passing motions and voting against cuts to our services. Left councillors should work across the capital to plan a political strategy and offer an a clear alternative.
I would like to see councillors refusing to implement cuts.
What do you think Labour should do and say now about local cuts?
Firstly any movement to oppose cuts must be strong and start outside the council chamber.
A Labour council should oppose all cuts and not implement them. Only through needs-led funding and a budget that delivers quality services for all will Labour be a credible power in local government.
Too often in this campaign I heard from residents who told stories of neighbouring Labour councils cutting services. We must be clear we will not just administer austerity for Westminster.
Q. What do you think could have been done better in the local campaign?
The big thing missing from this local election campaign was a strong radical manifesto.
During the general election we had a manifesto to campaign for, ideas to discuss with people. During a local election you have to offer a strong alternative to Tory cuts. It is not enough to offer low council tax and weekly bin collections.
We should have been bolder about council housing building, investing in education and children’s services, refusing to implement cuts.