Letters to the Editor

Midlothian Against the Cuts Committee welcomed the resolution overwhelmingly passed by the Labour Representation Committee at their recent Resist the Cuts conference.

The resolution stated that: “...councillors have a clear political duty to resist these unprecedented attacks on working people. They cannot allow themselves to become the local agents of this anti-working class coalition Government.”

The resolution also called on councillors to: “...work with representatives of community groups, local authority workers and trade unions, trades councils, Labour party members and other political activists so that a national movement can be forged to defeat and bring down the coalition government.”

Midlothian Against the Cuts recognises that councils have been put in a difficult position by the Government. The Government wants our councils to act as their bailiffs, carrying out their attacks on welfare provision. We are confident that is not what Midlothian councillors wanted to do when they stood for election.

Many councillors believe they can mitigate the effects of the Government’s plans, but the scale and frequency of the attacks makes this impossible. Councils carrying through the cuts will have to cut front line services and make cuts that will be very difficult, if not impossible to reinstate.

There is an even more compelling argument for councillors to refuse to do the Government’s dirty work.

Doing so brings them into conflict with trade unionists and service users. Will councillors call in police to remove service users occupying libraries or other council facilities threatened with closure? Will they use anti-union legislation to defeat workers acting in solidarity to protect services? Or will they join the fight back?

Councillors can contribute greatly to the fight back against the cuts by refusing to do the Government’s bidding rather than by shielding the Government by doing its dirty work. We look forward to working with them to defeat these unprecedented attacks by the ConDem Government.

Rab Paterson

DeQuincy Road, Lasswade