So word reaches me that Labour are campaigning locally to ‘stop the cuts’ that are affecting our great city.
Well I agree, we should fight unnecessary cuts (as most of them are) and campaign for the best deal possible for our city as the guillotine falls. This is exactly what Greens have been doing for a long time, whether it’s fighting privatisation, university closures or cuts to respite services. In fact almost the first thing I did on being elected in December 2007 was to have a run-in with Cllr Ken Norman over his plans to close the Vernon Gardens residential care home and day centre (which Tories steamrollered through).
Labour were never against the cuts the Tory/LibDem government are pushing through. They just wanted them next year instead of this year. A valid point if cuts must be made, as we don’t want a double-dip recession. But Greens campaigned on the fact that most of these cuts simply aren’t needed. With a rebalancing of government spending away from the military, ID cards and road building plus a reformed tax system, we could protect vital services whilst making our society fairer.
Indeed it was the Labour government, before they were turfed out, which began the cuts to our local educational institutions. As a result Sussex university want to close some degrees and fire staff, Brighton university are having to retrench losing the valued ARTHOUSE and associated staff contracts and City College Brighton, who a few years ago thought they were about to develop a gleaming new campus, are now cutting back after the funding they counted on just didn’t appear despite repeated government promises. Furthermore childcare facilities at both universities have been put at threat.
It was the Labour government that had been giving Brighton & Hove City Council some of the lowest block grants (a key source of funding) in the country, year after year. That the Tories have not spent this wisely is also true e.g. £100,000 on trimming verges more often.
Labour also presided over the skyrocketing of top civil service pay along with spiralling IT outsourcing contracts.
Labour created the regulatory system which allowed banks to get ‘too big to fail’ and it was Labour that chose to run up a huge deficit to bail them out. It was Labour who used PFI deals to push debt off the government books. International accountancy standards now require most of these to be, quite rightly, brought back into the government accounts and so we’ll see the government finances look even worse than the previous sanitised picture Brown and Darling painted.
So, yes, let’s stop the cuts. But until Labour renounce their policies which brought us here and began the cuts, they are opportunistic hypocrites of the first order to try to make political capital of their ‘opposition’ to said cuts.