Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Challenging times for the left and the unions

I'm racing to finish a piece of work and haven't time to say much about anything right now - and the world keeps on turning?! I'm posting here the comment I made to an article in the Times series. In it Lynne Hillan says that she would review the relationship of her Tory group with the local Lib Dem Group, in the light of the coalition at the top of their two parties.

Barnet Tories and Lib Dems work more closely together. Hollow laughter all round, I would think. Joking apart, it does raise interesting questions.

On a question like sheltered housing warden cuts, Labour nationally didn't have a line but said it was up to local councils to do what they liked on this, and they made it possible for the cuts to be made.

Locally, some Lib Dem and Tory councils have gone for axing the wardens - and some haven't. It seems to be up to local party groups what stance they take. So in Barnet Lib Dem group was against warden cuts.

I don't know about the inner workings of the Lib Dems - how much autonomy do local groups have? Will they be forced to work closer with Tory groups on councils? (Shudder!)

I agree that Lib Dems are to the left of Labour on some (too many!) policies, and they have forced some good concessions from the Tories in this coalition deal. But my basic take on this is that all 3 parties (their leaderships, at least) were promising massive public sector cuts, whereas I don't believe that public services should be forced to pay for a crisis we did not create.

And Lib Dems have talked about banning public sector strikes, which is something the Tories would like to do as well. Let's see whether that is something this strengthened centre-right brings forward quickly? Challenging times to say the least, for the left and the trade unions. Gulp!

Vicki from Barnet trades council


Duncan Macdonald said...

The Lib Dems are a federal party so the local parties have a good deal of autonomy when deciding local policy. The Lib Dem council group has always voted on the merits of the individual issue and if you look at the voting record over the last four years we have probably sided with both the administration and the opposition in equal measure, despite what Cllr Hilian might think.

Chapple Hammond Crewman said...

How right you are on Britain's political lovers, there are more than challenging times up ahead. Sadly, I don't see a Scargill anywhere to confront those challenges head on.