Good reasons not to vote Labour

Steven David, who lives in Newham, looks at the local Labour council’s cutting budget and the challenge this poses to the left

NEWHAM council is exclusively Labour. Therefore the decisions made by this council are a taster of what is to come under a modernised Blairite Labour government and are a warning to all those leftist groups who use various varieties of the slogan, ‘Vote Labour, but with no illusions’.

The council plans to cut £5.2 million from its budget. This is despite the fact that it has £14 million in reserve in its bank account. A vote at a recent Labour group meeting (read the whole council) decided by a 2:1 majority not to use the reserves but to go ahead with the proposed cuts.

The local Unison branch has been fed a diet of disinformation. It has been told that children’s and old age homes are to close and that the local refuge for Asian women is under threat. This might be construed as an invitation to the union to launch a campaign and for the council then to ‘compromise’ by making ‘less vicious’ cuts in other areas, such as the voluntary sector. This would mean many job losses and the closing or running down of youth clubs in a severely deprived area which already has a high rate of youth crime.

Perhaps most worrying is the fact that shortly after these cuts are implemented an election is to be held in South ward due to the death of councillor Tom Jenkinson (a well known Freemason). The fascist BNP undoubtedly will stand a candidate to build on the support that it has received in South Newham. Labour’s bankruptcy could lead to a repeat of the Beackon scenario in the Isle of Dogs. Undoubtedly the left will once again rally to the Labour banner, completely ignoring the fact that people want an alternative to an openly capitalist and corrupt Labour Party.

We harbour no illusions in parliamentarianism, but by standing candidates we aim to spread propaganda and to organise workers.

I was pleased to hear this week that Vic Turner, a councillor in Newham, has become a supporter of the CPGB. I hope he will be a voice for the class on a council otherwise committed, it seems, to attacking workers.