Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Joe Talks The Talk, But Will He Walk The Walk?

Lenin isn't much quoted these days (well, it was a while back & his utterances pertained to a different country & century), but he did have what would now be viewed as a pithy soundbite for those who complain about poverty & deprivation, yet won't do anything to challenge the system that creates it: labour lieutenants of capital.
It's a phrase that came to mind when Joe "Tea & Sympathy" Anderson wrote to David Cameron last week, complaining about the effect of the ConDem cuts on cities like Liverpool (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-20716881 ):
"Mr Anderson said he feared the council would not be able to help vulnerable and desperate people in 'some of the most deprived communities, not just in Liverpool, but the country'.
"He wrote: 'I believe community cohesion is being seriously threatened by the lack of funding to our city and others.'
"Mr Anderson added: 'I believe that the so-called "summer of discontent" will happen again if we do not address this issue.' "
Strong stuff, eh? So what is Joe prepared to do about the cuts that, as he rightly says, will cause so much damage to the city? Well, he'll call a "cuts summit" (http://www.liverpoolconfidential.co.uk/News-and-Comment/Mayor-and-Bishop-to-host-cuts-summit ).
The LC article reports that Anderson & James Jones will invite the leaders of the councils representing Birmingham, Bristol, Newcastle & Sheffield to to the meeting at the Arena & Convention Centre on January 18th, at which they'll "demand changes to what they say is the Government's unfair distribution of local authority funding."
Certainly, the need to highlight the issue is unarguable. Liverpool faces a 52% funding cut between now & 2017/18.
However, awareness of the situation is, or should be just the starting point. Anderson, unfortunately, seems not to realise this:
" 'We are demanding the Government listen and take notice of the dire situation faced by local authorities, and we will be highlighting how their policies are jeopardising the services we provide.' "
All very well, But what if Cameron & Co. take time out from their busy schedules, smile pityingly at this civic cri-de-coeur & continue apace with the cuts? What then?
Well, the answer is nothing. Joe "Tea & Sympathy" Anderson, along with the rest of the current Labour Party would never countenance a strategy of disobedience or Militant illegality.
That unwillingness to go down the road of rebellion is the real issue here, not Anderson's doubtful claim that the civil disturbances of August 2011 will be repeated (apart from a handful of scally-orchestrated incidents, mainly around Smithdown Road, Liverpool didn't burn that summer; Toxteth '81 it wasn't).
So I'm afraid it will be a case of cometh the hour, cometh the cuts, administered by a whimpering Joe & Co.
Of course, it doesn't have to be that way, not when the disdain & hostility of the ConDem cutters is evident to all (http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/against-george-osbornes-war-on-the-poor-and-the-vile-stupidity-of-his-workers-vs-shirkers-narrative-8397330.html & when, moreover, the class warfare of the cuts is being explained to a US audience (http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/johncassidy/2012/12/george-osbornes-journey-from-austerity-to-cruelty.html ).
The BBC report on Anderson's letter to Cameron was accompanied by a comment from the BBC's North West political editor Arif Ansari, who observed:
"David Cameron did want strong, outspoken city mayors. He has found one in Joe Anderson."
A "strong, outspoken" city mayor wouldn't complain about the cuts, yet meekly implement them. However, that is precisely what Joe "Tea & Sympathy" Anderson will do.

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