Will Leicester Remember Clay Cross?

Leicester’s Labour Council plead that their hands are tied by the Tory government, and that they must continue to vote to make apocalyptic cuts to local council services.

But when our Labour councillors meet later this month to vote on whether they should accept pay rises for themselves, I wonder whether their bound hands will, by some miracle, become free?

If our Council can summon the audacity to resist the government’s austerity agenda when it comes to their own pay-packets, surely they should be able to find the same resolve to stop our government stealing millions from our city (“Leicester mayor Peter Soulsby in line for £2,018 pay rise following independent review,” March 5, Leicester Mercury).

All we ask is that our councillors stand up to the Tories. That doesn’t seem like too much does it?

For a little fighting inspiration our Labour representatives might look to the historical legacy of the actions of the working-class councillors of the north east Derbyshire town of Clay Cross in 1972. In this small town there were more Labour councillors prepared to break the law and refuse to pass on Tory attacks, than exist in the whole of Britain at present.

One of the eleven Labour councillors who opposed the Tories in practice, not just in rhetoric, was Graham Skinner, who made it clear, that whatever the consequences “we are still determined that we are not carrying out Tory measures, we’re not going to become [Ted] Heath’s hatchet men!”

This letter was emailed to the Leicester Mercury mailbox on March 7.

Peter Soulsby and Clay Cross

For more on this read David Skinner and Julia Langdon’s classic The Story of Clay Cross (Spokesman Books, 1974).

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