Socialist Worker

Islington councillors grilled at anti-cuts meeting

by Richard Plant
Issue No. 2222

Over 100 people packed into the Islington Hands Off Our Public Services (IHOOPS) launch meeting on Tuesday.

The mood was combative as residents, campaigners and community activists came together.

Speakers from the platform included MP Jeremy Corbyn, Professor Alex Callinicos, Dot Gibson of the National Pensioners Convention and Alasdair Smith, secretary of the local NUT.

Alistair introduced Carol, a local teacher who has received a redundancy notice from the Labour run Islington council.

“I and my team work with kids who are at risk of exclusion in our schools,' she said.

“But it seems like helping the poor in our society is no longer of value to the government. They say we are spending too much, and working too hard, to give kids and young mums a chance at a normal life.”

Labour councillors attending the meeting faced angry questions about how they could claim to be against the cuts while voting to pass a budget that sets out savage cuts.

Councillor Catherine West, leader of the council, claimed that the Labour group had no choice but to pass the measures laid out by central government, and that they were incapable of opposing the will of the ConDem regime.

Several speakers from the floor questioned the commitment of local Labour politicians to their constituents and suggested they look to the example of the Poplar councillors, who in the 1920s defied the law and refused to make cuts.

Debate was lively from the floor. Contributions expressed the anger that local people feel towards the ConDem government’s attempts to smash the lives of the working class community.

The meeting heard from the Save Sotheby Mews campaign, who presented a petition to the Labour councillors. The speaker made it clear that the day centre is in imminent danger of closure, and left the audience in no doubt that this will mean the deaths of elderly people who rely on its services.

The assembled activists resolved to continue and broaden the campaign, building for a lobby of the council on the 7 of October and to join the demonstration proposed by Camden Trades Council to Downing Street on the 20 of October.


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Thu 7 Oct 2010, 15:42 BST
Issue No. 2222
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