electmartin1.blogspot.com The Socialist Alternative: May 2010

The Socialist Alternative

Lewisham politics and on occasions, some things a little more light hearted!

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Creches close in Lewisham

So the cuts have begun - and in the first instance in Lewisham to creche facilities. Unfortunately it also  seems that there isnt a voice to oppose them in the council chamber either.


Cllr Julia Fletcher of the Liberal Democrats, was quoted as saying that 'There’s a sense that these cuts are inevitable and a sign of things to come.' Clearly it is now hard for the Liberal Democrats to adopt a left face on any thing, now that they are part of a Tory Government. What happened to all that socially liberal agenda that the Lid dems used to come out with then prior to the election? Was it just posturing?

The Labour group wont offer any resistance either it has to be said. I will happily be proved wrong on this if that happens. But knowing how Lewisham Labour work they will simply pass on the cuts without any campaign or joining forces with the local population to oppose the cuts handed down by central government.

Monday, 24 May 2010

LEWISHAM: Mayor increases cabinet to make £60m cuts Wednesday 19th May 2010

From Mark Chandler at the NewsShopper

'HE NEEDS to make £60m worth of cuts but that has not stopped a mayor appointing two new cabinet members - each claiming an extra £15,298 a year. Mayor of Lewisham Sir Steve Bullock’s nominations for his new cabinet, which will increase in size from seven to nine people, the maximum allowed, will be confirmed at the AGM on May 26.

Among them are Councillors Damien Egan and Joan Millbank who take on the new roles of member for the Third Sector and member for Strategy and Communications respectively. Cabinet members get an allowance of £15,298 on top of their £9,812 basic rate. But Sir Steve dismissed the idea that the cabinet increase was insensitive at a time when £60m of council cuts are planned over the next three years.'

Full article here

What do you think?

Insensitive given the cuts that the Mayor is saying 'have to be made' - I wonder if the new cabinet holders will vote these cuts through? Or alternatively they could take a lead from the former Socialist Cllrs and vote against the cuts and with their large majority win a motion to take a policy of No Cuts back to central government.

Like our councillors did here http://www.socialism.org.uk/manifesto/liverpool.html

Ok I hear the cynics say - its easy for you to say that. Actually it is. I spent 7 years plus actually doing that along with Ian Page - voting against cuts time and time again in a principled stand. And like the Liverpool councillors we challenged the idea that 'there is no alternative.'

Unfortunately I cant see our Labour Councillors in Lewisham defending the community and fighting the cuts so we are going to have a bumpy ride in the next period! Prepare for a fight everyone!

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Green Socialist

Here's an interesting article by Nick at Green Socialist - offering an analysis of the local authority results in Lewisham. There is clearly space for a significant alternative party of the left in Lewisham. If 16,000 people or thereabout were prepared to vote for an alliance of socialists and anti cuts campaigners now, it gives an indication of whats achievable in the coming period

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Well done Gordon and Tony - you kept the seat warm for the real Tories (and their junior partner)

So we have a Tory government back in power. I think the news said it was only the 19th or 20th Etonian leader!

What will this mean for the economy and the public sector then? David C says we have some 'difficult choices' - make no mistake this is code for we are going to make massive cuts to public services and jobs - not we will close the tax loop holes for the super rich, make the top 100 rich list pay more taxes or avoid buying more nukes.

So it will be interesting to see whether the increased New Labour majority in Lewisham council resists these Tories cuts. Of course myself and Ian from our experience of sitting in that chamber, know they wont.

Equally of interest will be how the 'official opposition' in the council, the Liberal Democrats, will relate to New Labour in opposing the cuts given they are the junior partner in the new Tory national administration!

Monday, 10 May 2010

What now for ex cllrs Ian Page and Chris Flood?

Other smaller parties were also effected the same way in Lewisham, the Green Party lost 5 out of 6 councillors. The Lib Dems also lost seats when they were predicted to increase.

So it does mean that Ian and I wont be able to use our positions (which we no longer have!) to represent the various campaigns and issues - at least not in a formal capacity anyway. 

However we would very much like to continue to support all the individuals we have to date as well as the various campaigns.

Politics is very fluid at the moment (maybe thats an under statement even!) and it does seem that we are staggering from one crisis to another whether that be economic or political. We will see. Some how I think that one way or another we will be back in some capacity - maybe as campaigners? Maybe in future by-elections? Who knows? But we can be sure that the huge cuts of up to £60 million in Lewisham council over the next 4 years will really have a negative impact on the lives of many and I do think this will find a political expression in some way. That may be through us, that maybe through others. It could even be through you all!

So please keep in touch with us - we arent your cllrs anymore but we have built up relationships with you all that we would love to continue. We arent going anywhere and Lewisham isnt that big a place! You and us together have built up a lot of experience in how to work to improve our area and how to tackle the bureaucratic council which can sometimes be such a monster. That experience wont be wasted and I am sure we will all draw on our collective wisdom and experience in the future. One thing to think about is the 16,000 plus votes we got across Lewisham as part of the joint slate between the Lewisham People before Profit group and the Socialist Party. That's not a bad basis to organise ourselves on for the future! So its not all doom and gloom.


We didnt manage to hold our seats last week but Ian and are proud of our record of opposing cuts and privatisation and standing up for the community. Have a read of Our Record and let us know what you think!