As the Leicester Mercury (September 27) reported, in 2010/11 the Leicester City Council…
“…received £289.2 million from Whitehall towards its day-to-day running costs. Now that has fallen to £185.8 million and is expected to drop to £165.7 million by 2019/20, which will be a cut of £123.5 million.”
Tory austerity is literally destroying the heart of Leicester, and Sir Peter Soulsby says further cuts “will have to come from… street cleaning, libraries, parks, highways maintenance, children’s centres and youth services.” (Mercury, 27 September) But Mr Soulsby is wrong, there is a choice, and money does not have to be cut from these services.
Mr Soulsby and his fellow councillors were elected to represent the Labour Party, not the Tories, and when the cuts first began they could have helped to build a popular campaign to refuse to let the Tories disembowel our city’s public services. Regretfully, Mr Soulsby categorically failed in this simple task.
Although Leicester is a proud Labour city, their monumental failure at last year’s General Election was positive proof that the moribund right wing politics of New Labour had to be ditched. Indeed, the Tories only received the votes of a quarter of eligible voters (the smallest mandate since the introduction of Universal Suffrage) and New Labour still managed to lose!
Labour Party members and trade union members across the country then demonstrated their resounding rejection of New Labour’s undemocratic legacy by electing Jeremy Corbyn, a principled socialist, as their new party leader. But here in Leicester, Mr Soulsby, evidently angered by Corbyn’s ongoing and much maligned attempts to reclaim the Labour Party for the working-class, opposes such socialist sentiments and just a few months ago he even went so far as to publicly call for Corbyn’s resignation!
But contrary to Mr Soulsby’s hopes, Corbyn has gone from strength-to-strength.
Labour supporters, council employees, and community activists in Leicester have stomached enough Soulsby-cuts to our services. Pressure must now be brought to bear upon our city council: they can either join Leicester’s fight against Tory austerity and cuts, or they can step aside.
Leicester deserves better, and there are surely hundreds of people who would be willing and capable of acting as Labour councillors in a way that met the demands of our local communities instead of the brutal dictates of the Tories. Leicester needs determination and resistance, not capitulation and resignation!
Sign the petition to save Belgrave library here – https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-belgrave-library?bucket
Join the lobby of Leicester City Council on Thursday (October 6) at 4.30pm outside the Town Hall – https://www.facebook.com/events/1642609692695590/