Showing posts with label local councils. Show all posts
Showing posts with label local councils. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

All Change for the Council Elections

Capitalism is well past its sell-by date, and can now be replaced by its alternative: a wageless, moneyless, classless world community based on production for human need, not profit. This change can only come about once the majority understand it and want it. It won't come about by following leaders or voting for someone else to do it.

The world can now easily produce wealth sufficient to adequately house, feed, care for and educate the global population. Instead, we see hunger, disease and homelessness around the world despite the concerns of governments, charities and show-biz stars. Closer to home, in a "developed" nation like the UK, we see child poverty and an increasing gulf between rich and poor. Rates of depression and anxiety are becoming epidemic.

Capitalism is failing: it now acts as a barrier, preventing production being geared to human need. Rather than keep trying to tinker with this system we should start looking beyond it to an alternative: a wageless, moneyless, classless world community based on production for human need, not profit. This social change can only come about once the majority understand it and want it. It won't come about by following leaders or voting for someone else to do it.The candidates contesting this election (whether openly pro-capitalist or avowedly socialist) are asking you to believe that they can run this society a little bit better. We argue that history shows that the money system actually ends up running them. Their manifesto promises usually amount to nothing - it only encourages the idea that capitalism can be made better. So don't vote for them.

The one good thing about the Labour Party these days is that it no longer pretends to have anything to do with socialism. Perhaps they realise that if they did people wouldn't believe them anyway. They are not even the left-of-centre "labour" party they once were, but have stolen all the Tories's clothes. Not that "Old Labour" was any better when in government, imposing wage freezes, cutting benefits, opposing strikes just like all governments of capitalism as an economic system that imposes that profits must come before people. Socialism meant, and still means, the common ownership and democratic control of the means of production, where goods and services are produced directly for use and not for profit and where every member of society has access as of right to the things they need to live and enjoy life. Nobody who wants such a society would dream of voting for the Labour Party, so don't.

The so-called "Scottish Socialist Party" (or the newly created Scottish Anti-cuts Alliance coalition) claim to stand for "socialism". In fact, the SSP stand for is a system under which all industry would be nationalised. They follow Lenin and Trotsky in thinking that workers cannot understand socialism, but must be led there by a vanguard party offering attractive reforms of capitalism (take a look at the SSP wish-list). Nationalisation and rule by a vanguard party is not of course socialism, but something called "state capitalism". It's a travesty of the word where production is to satisfy people's needs and would be on the basis of "from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs". The Socialist Party are accused of "splitting the Left". We are not a part of this "Left". We are opposed to measures which tinker with and attempt to reform capitalism with palliatives. It has been a "Leftist" tactic in the past to hypocritically ask workers to vote for a "workers'" party to get reforms which they know they cannot obtain, on the parliamentary road which they dont support, to "socialism", which is not socialism. The Socialist Party is opposed to such trickery of workers and this cynical political opportunism. Simply, the "Left" are not socialists. Far from splitting the "Left", we oppose the "Left" for its political cowardice, (being unable or unwilling to describe socialism to workers and nail their true colours to the socialist mast), of opportunism, (interference in workers struggles and grass-roots movements to recruit and subvert them to their cause), and for its pretensions, (of assuming to know what socialism is, and presenting itself as a leadership to-wards it). If you want state capitalism, vote for the SSP. But if you want real socialism - don't cast a vote for them.

 In Scotland, the Socialist Party has not had the resources to stand any candidates and contest these local council elections. We suggest that you express your preference with a "write-in vote" for the Socialist Party as a statement that you think another world is possible. If you have confidence that humans can live and work co-operatively without need of the wages system, then write Socialist Party of Great Britain (or SPGB) across your ballot paper. And then get in touch with us to do something about changing the world.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Local Issues or Class Issues

 When Scotland goes to the polls next week in the 2012 local council elections, voters may be confused about whether they are deciding on local or national issues. In some cases the electorate is being asked to vote on manifesto promises that can’t in fact be delivered locally declares the Public Finance web-site. Each of the political party manifestos for the local elections contain a mix of local pledges (not unexpected in local elections) but also pledges that can, in fact, only be made by a national government.  The most extreme example of this is a pledge to cut VAT – clearly a reserved matter with no powers in Scotland at any government level to do so.

What is important to recognise is that those so-called “local” issues that are high on the agenda of many in the local elections (such as the NHS, local housing and transport) are pressing issues everywhere else. But these are not really local issues after all. Its just that many people (and all of our opponents) think the solution is usually a local one, so there is no point looking elsewhere for the answer. In fact the problem under-pinning most of the supposed “local” issues is usually much broader.

 Its not just specific local problems (like poor quality consultation documents, or ill thought through proposals). The whole issue of provision of essential services such as health care and fire emergency cover is dictated by the level of resources allocated . And whether it is Linlithgow or Largs, the same picture emerges: social services are stretched. Public sector workers are under pressure to work harder, for less money. The capitalist class don’t want to pay any more than they have to; they don’t want public services that will be able to do anything more than the bare minimum. The reason? Ultimately,  these costs come off the profits of UK Capitalism PLC. Let’s be in no doubt, despite the politicians platitudes, the reality is that profit does come before public health and and peoples' general welfare. Somewhere in the local authority, there is an accountant doing a cost-benefit analysis. They are working out how small a public sector department can be maintained, and at what point the cost savings from this are outweighed by the costs of the human suffering, which will surely follow.

In reality, the councils, and at a national level, governments, are in control of the economy the same way a duck bobbing around on the ocean is in control of the tides. You don’t need to be told not to place too much faith in whichever politician gets elected  - history has shown that promises made before the election are quickly discarded when the pressure of trying to run the profit system in the interests of humanity proves too difficult.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Snouts in the trough

One-third of Scotland’s “double-jobbing” MSPs are continuing to collect salaries from council jobs, four months after being elected to £58,000-a-year posts at Holyrood.

Unions have criticised those still collecting the salaries, which comes at a time of unprecedented redundancies and reductions in workers’ terms and conditions.

Martin Doran, who heads the GMB union in Glasgow, said: “...my feeling is that this is an obscenity. If these people had any decency they would stand down.”

Thursday, January 13, 2011

that's clever!

Inverclyde Council spent £650,000 in order to make savings of just £250,000.

Four senior local government officials, all of whom receive salaries of between £75,000 and £105,000, have been suspended after paying consultants hundreds of thousands of pounds to deliver savings that failed to materialise.

Meanwhile, in Edinburgh the city’s new chief executive has said the disaster-hit trams project must go ahead because too much money has been spent to cancel it.

Monday, April 07, 2008

election address

What’s the alternative to the profit system?

That's the issue in this election, says THE SOCIALIST PARTY candidate in Lambeth and Southwark Danny Lambert.

On 1 May, you will have your occasional ration of democracy with the opportunity to vote for the Mayor of London and the Greater London Assembly.

It's all very well having a vote but are you normally given any real choice? Let's face it, if it wasn't mentioned on the front of the election leaflet, could you tell which party was which?

It's tempting – in the absence of any real alternative – to get drawn into the phoney war that is political debate today. Whether Labour, Tory, Lib Dem, Greens or the others, they all spout empty promises. And it all amounts to the same thing – vote, vote for us and we’ll do this, this or this for you. As if they could.

None of them offer any alternative to the present way of running society. That’s why they always fail to deliver. The profit system requires them to put profits before people, to put saving money above meeting people’s needs.

Do you really think who wins an election makes any difference to how you live?

And do politicians actually have much real power anyway?

Can they control world market and financial forces or do they have to adjust and trim their policies to fit in with these?

Reality Check
Do any of the political parties address any of the real issues:
 Why can money always been found to fight a war while hospitals, schools and local services are always strapped for cash?
 Why do some people get stressed working long hours while others get stressed from the boredom of unemployment?
 Why are there homeless people in the streets and empty houses with "for sale" signs?
 Why is there still child poverty even in Britain?
 Why is there no world agreement to limit carbon emissions when scientists say this must be done to avert the threat of global warming?
 Why is there world hunger in a world that can grow enough for all?

So what's the alternative?

This time, in this constituency, you have a real choice. We in THE SOCIALIST PARTY are standing to put forward an alternative to capitalism and the madness of the market – a society of common ownership and democratic control. We call it socialism.

But real socialism. Not the elite-run dictatorships that collapsed some years ago in Russia and East Europe. And not the various schemes for state control put forward by the old Labour Party. For us socialism means something better than that. We're talking about:
A world community without any frontiers where the Earth’s resources would be the common heritage of all.
 Wealth being produced to meet people's needs and not for sale on a market or for profit
 Everyone having access to what they require to satisfy their needs, without the rationing system that is money.
 A society where people freely contribute their skills and experience to produce what is needed, without the compulsion of a wage or salary.

If you agree If you don't like present-day society ... if you are fed up with the way you are forced to live ... if you think the root cause of most social problems is the profit system, then your ideas echo closely with ours.

We are not promising to deliver socialism to you. We are not putting ourselves forward as leaders. This new society can only be achieved if you join together to strive for it. If you want it, then it is something you have to bring about yourselves. Nobody can do it for you.

If you agree with what we say, you can show this by voting for THE SOCIALIST PARTY candidate, DANNY LAMBERT.And if you want to know more about us, call in at our election office at 52 Clapham High Street, SW4 or return the reply coupon on the last page (no stamp required). You can also.phone or email us or visit our website at www.worldsocialism.org/spgb.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Council Leaders Fat Cats

The number of "fat cat" council bosses being paid more than £100,000 a year has risen by 25%, new figures show.

A town hall "rich list" revealed that 818 local authority bosses now earn more than £100,000. In 2005-06 it was 645.

The average pay package for those on the list was more than £120,000 - nearly five times the starting wage of a police constable. Fourteen earned more than the prime minister's £188,000 annual salary, while six received more than £200,000 from the public purse.

Despite Gordon Brown's demand for an inflation-guarding 2% cap on public sector wage settlements, top council bosses enjoyed an average rise of 4.6% - more than double that of last year.

"Too often, council executives are rewarded handsomely even when they fail," said the chief executive of the pressure group TaxPayers' Alliance .

The top 10 best-paid council officials, 2006-07
1. Northamptonshire: Peter Gould, chief executive, £215,000
2. City of Kingston-upon-Hull: Kim Ryley, chief executive, £213,162
3. Kensington and Chelsea: Derek Myers, town clerk and chief executive, £205,000
4. Northampton: Mairi Mclean, chief executive, £205,000
5. Bexley: Nick Johnson, chief executive, £203,000
6. Hertfordshire: Caroline Tapster, chief executive, £201,485
7. Ealing: Darra Singh, chief executive, £195,456
8. Surrey: Dr Richard Shaw, chief executive, £195,330
9. Cambridgeshire: Ian Stewart, chief executive, £195,000
10. Westminster: Peter Rogers, chief executive, £195,000

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