Standing up to Glasgow Labour's cuts - and the SNP's
Jaime Cocozza, Shettleston TUSC Glasgow, photo by Shettleston TUSC
The by-election under way in Glasgow city council's Shettleston ward (with polling day on December 5th) saw a recent hustings debate hosted by Save The Accord Centre campaigners in Shettleston Community Centre.
The Scottish Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidate, underground driver and Unite member Jaime Cocozza, reports on what happened:
"Only three of a potential twelve candidates turned up. Labour, having already voted to shut down the Accord Centre to make way for a car park for the Commonwealth games, showed exactly what they thought of the campaign by sending their candidate to a meeting with local police instead!
"It was clear from the outset that the Scottish National Party, whose candidate did turn up, had intended on packing out the meeting; three councillors were in attendance in a room of around thirty people, one being the deputy leader of the SNP opposition group on the council.
"I made clear from the outset that I am standing on a socialist programme and called clearly for a 'needs budget', noting that Glasgow city council has huge reserves and borrowing powers and should use these to protect the services, jobs and pay of the people of Glasgow and Shettleston. I used the example of the 'rebel two' Labour councillors in Southampton who, having taken a principled stance against cuts, have found themselves expelled from the Labour party, but continue to fight tooth and nail for a 'needs budget' to be adopted by the ruling Labour group. I also sketched the example of the socialist Labour council in Liverpool - the Liverpool 47 - who from 1983-87 mobilised Merseyside against Thatcher's government, winning ¬£60m in the process and launching a mass programme of building council houses, parks, nurseries and other facilities.
"Almost immediately the SNP launched an attack from the floor. Their line of attack was that I was 're-writing history'. Unfortunately, the only people re-writing history in the room were the SNP, with the deputy leader of the SNP group trying to link me in with Deputy Leader of the Liverpool council at the time, Derek Hatton, claiming he was jailed during the Liverpool struggle (he wasn't). He then claimed that in 2012-13 the SNP had come up with an 'alternative budget' which would protect jobs and services, neglecting to mention that in reality it was an 'alternative cuts budget' worked out in alliance with the Tories and Liberals, adding an extra ¬£2m worth of cuts to council workers' livelihoods!
"In summing up, I made the point that, regardless of the outcome of the election, I will still be campaigning in the area against the cuts, against the bedroom tax, supporting campaigns like the Save The Accord Centre, and for the SNP to change Section 16 of the housing act to legislate against any evictions for bedroom tax".
As the final weekend approaches before polling day, is there anything you can do to assist TUSC in getting the biggest possible show of support for a political voice for the working class people of Shettleston? Contact Matt Dobson on 07927342060.