Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 14 September 2011

Bristol: Labour's short-lived valour

Robin Clapp

In May Bristol's ruling Liberal Democrats announced their intention to privatise the council's home care service. Labour councillors condemned the proposal and expressed solidarity with Unite and Unison unions representing the staff. Our anti-cuts alliance was told that the Labour group had become a valiant defender of public services.

When a by-election was called in a marginal Lib Dem seat on 8 September, Labour politicians told the unions that we could save home care. If Labour wooed the Tory group then the Lib Dems would be forced out and a new Labour/Tory coalition would run Bristol and provide a sunny future for its council workforce.

Unite officers invited the local Tory MP to a rally for jobs and services. 250 home care workers and anti-cuts protesters had to listen to this maverick Tory attacking the Lib Dems' specific proposal while singing a song of praise to privatisation.

But we judge Labour politicians by their actions, not their honeyed words. We see the three main parties really "are all in it together". An anti-cuts spokesperson addressed the council, condemning all sides for trying to make ordinary people pay for a crisis they didn't cause. The Labour benches cheered and the Tories said they would vote for Labour's motion.

Then the Lib Dem councillors dissected Labour's previous record. They said that Tony Blair introduced personal home care packages based on purchasing care from any provider, private or public, and that Bristol's Labour administration had dispensed already with up to 65% of Bristol's in-house service.

The Lib Dem leader then asked Labour to move a 'no confidence' motion and assume control of the council. The bench opposite turned to stone - they had been found out. The Tories then pulled their support from Labour's motion and the total privatisation of the core home care service was carried through.

Labour councillors think that cuts are necessary, but must be delivered more slowly and with sugar coating. They are easy prey for political critics who retort that the Blair/Brown years laid the foundations for all that is happening today.

Union officials too should beware trading deals with Tory MPs, instead of building campaigns among their members and going into local communities to defend jobs and services.

The Lib Dem leader had the measure of her Labour colleagues but was extremely rattled by the anti-cuts alliance's attacks, deriding us for "opposing everything that all of us in this chamber are trying to do." We happily accept that accolade!

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation


Your message: 


In The Socialist 14 September 2011:

Socialist Party features

We need a programme of action to fight back!

Austerity policies strangle growth

Socialist Party youth and students

Pampered politicians plan education massacre... STOP THEM!

Low pay and the housing crisis

Youth must join pensions struggle

EMA cuts: doors close on our future

Cuts hit young people hard in Hastings

Stop attacks on pensions

Hands off our pensions!

NHS pensions - Pay more, work longer and get less!

Socialist Party workplace news


Support Wyndeham workers

No to pay cuts in Carmarthenshire

Workplace news in brief

International socialist news and analysis

How can the national rights of Palestinians be achieved?

Socialist Party news and analysis

NSSN calls on TUC to open the floodgates of mass action

Nationalise the banking system!

Childcare costs push parents into hardship

Save our NHS

Fast news

Socialist Party review

Power and terror

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Save Surrey libraries!

Bristol: Labour's short-lived valour

Hundreds march against Dale Farm evictions

May Day protest case goes to Strasbourg


Home   |   The Socialist 14 September 2011   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleTV - Statue wars: one summer in Bristol

triangleExhibition: What next for the statue of slave trader, Edward Colston?

triangleBristol: Police to blame for protest violence

triangleBristol Socialist Party: Fight to save our NHS!

triangleNHS in crisis - 'It's time for action'


trianglePreparing for struggle in post-Covid Britain

triangleTerry Fields MP, Prisoner DV 3695 - The jailing of 'poll tax' rebel and Militant

triangleBook: The struggle for world socialism


triangleGovernment departments move to impose pay cuts: Fightback needed

triangleDagenham school workers strike against 'fire and rehire' pay cuts

triangleDerby academies closed by strikes against brutal cuts and changes


triangleStop Pimlico gentrification

triangleWe need councillors who will end housing crisis - vote TUSC in Staines on 22 July


triangleLondon - We need socialists into City Hall

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



New left NEC meets - Organise the fight back now



Public sector pay - NHS, teachers - Prepare for action!



Government departments move to impose pay cuts: Fightback needed



Football: Smash racism


Socialist Party

Why I joined the Socialist Party



Build a mass movement for LGBTQ+ liberation and socialism


Bin workers

Workplace round-up



St Mungo's strikers end 12-week strike



Telecoms workers angry at CWU deal with BT



GKN Birmingham workers rally against plant closure



We need councillors who will end housing crisis - vote TUSC in Staines on 22 July



Stop Pimlico gentrification


Socialist Party

Everyone can spot Socialist Party in Stoke


Socialist Party

Socialist Party meetings say: We're ready to go out and campaign


Youth Fight for Jobs

Youth Fight for Jobs is back

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 077 7221 5281

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 078 0983 9793



Alphabetical listing

July 2021

June 2021

May 2021

April 2021

March 2021

February 2021

January 2021