Earlier this week, in less than 30 minutes, Leicester’s Labour City Councillors all agreed to support Sir Peter Soulsby’s latest budget of cuts — a budget which will, as Soulsby admitted, when moving the budget motion, continue to bring misery to the people of Leicester and wreak havoc on the services that they depend on, “all of which have been savagely reduced over recent years”.
Soulsby also acknowledged “that despite all the cuts we have already made, we could well have anything up to £50 million a year of further cuts enforced upon us in the immediate years ahead.” But, of course, no one is forcing our Labour Council to implement such cuts, they could choose to fight all Tory cuts if they chose to (for a socialist alternative that was covered in this week’s Leicester Mercury click here).
Disturbingly, among the city’s 52 Labour Councillors only two chose to comment on the cuts they all voted in support of. The first speaker, Cllr Lucy Chaplin — who will not be standing as a councillor in May – said absolutely nothing critical about the fact that the Labour Council were unnecessarily carrying through Tory cuts. Astonishingly she even managed to explain how those managing budgets have to bear in mind that we have “to cut our cloth according to what we have”.
Cllr Baljit Singh then described Labour’s spineless budget of cuts as a “responsible, carefully put together budget”. He said it was a “legal budget” that was put together “with conviction, and with conviction, and with commitment.”
One seriously has to wonder why not a single Labour councillor could even vocalise one critical word about the devastating budget. This is especially the case for Labour councillors, like Chaplin, who had not been reselected to stand as councillors in the May elections.
Ordinary members of the Labour Party must therefore continue to fight for the reintroduction of mandatory reselection of all councillors, so they can replace spineless councillors who refuse to fight against cuts with genuine class fighters who will fight tooth and nail to resist Tory austerity.