Labour councillor defies party over cuts

The Labour response to the Con Dem impoverishment of working people can be summarised as “not quite so many cuts, not quite so quickly.” The utter absence of a Labour opposition to the Con Dem programme has been startling outside the normal handful of MPs such as John Mc Donnell and Jeremy Corbyn.

One councillor in Barking and Dagenham has decided to buck the trend. George Barratt has written to his local paper saying that he is resigning the Labour whip in protest over the party’s unwillingness to oppose the cuts. We reprint his letter and a response from the Coalition of Resistance in the hope that other locally elected officials of the the Labour Party will have the political courage to follow his lead and begin to organise in active defence of working class people.

Dear Sir,

When Barking and Dagenham residents voted for Margaret Hodge MP in the May 2010 election to defeat Nick Griffin and the fascist British National Party, they also elected 51 local councillors under the Labour Party flag.

But while Margaret Hodge is campaigning to open the new Barking Hospital and to keep King George Hospital and the Broadway Theatre open for local people, the council is chopping £20 million off the budget, sacking local workers and outsourcing municipal services. This is in effect exporting Barking and Dagenham jobs to other parts of the country. 

 The excuse for all this is that the council tax has been frozen for local people. So in practice, schoolkids, the unemployed, the elderly and the infirm get worse services for the same price.
The council is dominated by a leadership clique who have been carrying out the same bureaucratic routine for too long. This clique is much too fond of a quick fix to solve immediate problems. But they should be considering the welfare of the people that elected them in one of the most deprived boroughs in the country.
In this borough, we did not vote for the Conservative-Liberal democrat coalition and their banker friends. We voted for the Labour Party. So why cannot these councillors behave like socialists rather than Tories?
I first joined the Labour Party in 1962, but I cannot support the actions of the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Labour Group, and I am therefore resigning the Labour Group whip.  
George Barratt,

Councillor, Mayesbrook Ward.——————————————————–

Dear Editor,
Barking and Dagenham PostFurther to your news story about Cllr George Barratt in the current issue of your newspaper, the Coalition of Resistance has issued the following statement:
The Coalition of Resistance supports Barking & Dagenham councillor George Barratt in making a stand against cuts of £20million being proposed by the Labour Party, and in registering his opposition by resigning the Labour whip. George was elected to represent the people of Mayesbrook ward and to defend public services in a deprived area of London. The Coalition of Resistance agrees with George that this means making a stand against the Tory-lead coalition government which is slashing £54million from the grants to Barking & Dagenham council. Local councillors cannot claim to be on the side of the people of that borough if they implement the Tory cuts. The Coalition of Resistance supports councillor George Barratt and all those individuals and organisation in the borough who want to campaign against the cuts and defend public services.Andrew Burgin, Secretary Coalition of Resistance
Romayne Phoenix, Chair Coalition of Resistance
Fred Leplat, Coalition of Resistance

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