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Bristol MPs fail to answer young workers' anger at PCS debate
On 30 September PCS civil service union young members in the South West held a question time event about cuts in the public sector as part of a young workers' week. We contacted the Labour Party, Liberal Democrats, Conservative Party, Youth Fight for Jobs and the Green Party, along with John McInally, PCS vice president.
Mike Wheeler, PCS young members' network (personal capacity)
The first to confirm was the Conservative Party. Tory MP for Kingswood, near Bristol, Chris Skidmore said he would love to come along. The Labour Party sent Roger Berry, former MP for Kingswood. Nick Foster attended for the Greens and Tom Baldwin for Youth Fight for Jobs. The Lib Dems declined our invitation.
The meeting was well attended with about 70 members of various trade unions present. The first question was on the privatisation of Royal Mail and the universal service. This helped to set the mood of the meeting with the Tories on the back foot trying desperately to tell us that, although the cuts will devastate services to the public, they were necessary.
John McInally explained the PCS alternative to cuts. John said that £130 billion remains uncollected in taxes each year from big business and the rich and this is how the budget deficit should be reduced rather than creating mass unemployment and removing services from the most needy in society. There were no answers given by the Tories and the Labour Party agreed with PCS for once.
The meeting proved that the cuts are ideological. Subsequent questions made it clear that there are very few differences between the Tories and Labour. Tom Baldwin commented on how the only difference between the new and old governments on making schools into academies run by unelected businesses and groups is the speed they will be implemented and the number of schools to go.
Tory Skidmore summed up with a statement that in five years there will be more jobs and the economy will be in a better state, or else we can vote him out. There was a clear shout of "you won't last five years" from the audience.
The arrogance of the government and contempt for the voters was shown with no attempt to listen; it was just a weak attempt to try to get us to accept an attack on our way of life. The members of the panel will be invited to a second event after the spending review.
In The Socialist 6 October 2010:
Defend Child Benefits
Socialist Party editorial
Socialist Party workplace news
Health and Safety
Europe: fighting the cuts
International socialist analysis
Socialist Party review