Leeds Labour debates cuts

Submitted by Matthew on 15 February, 2012 - 12:59

On Tuesday 7 February East Leeds and Elmet and Rothwell Labour Party held a public meeting with Owen Jones. They got an impressive 70 people on a very cold Tuesday night.

The speakers from the floor included local trade unionists, old Labour lefties and a few younger people who had joined Labour recently. Many of the contributions were on the money in blaming union leaders for supporting New Labour and not forcing Miliband to support the strikes.

There was talk about re-shaping the Labour Party and the union movement with rank-and-file control, and even from one contributor the need to re-assert the internationalism of the socialist movement against left little Englandism.

East Leeds Labour Party are doing some of the things a CLP should consider central but very few do. They have held large public meetings about the cuts, linked up closely with local trade union branches (particularly the GMB) and have leafleted in support of the 30 November strikes.

Despite this decent work, the Labour council is going to pass on £55 million of cuts this year on top of £90 million the year before. This included a cuts to social care, meals on wheels and rent rises as well as 400 jobs going. East Leeds radicalism does not extend to opposing the imposition of these cuts.

Contributions from left-wingers demanding a refusal to implement the cuts, even if it means a direct confrontation with the government, were well-received, albeit not by the councillors present.

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