UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Clydebank debate – is there an alternative to public service cuts

UNISON Scotland Convener Mike Kirby joined Labour MP Gemma Doyle, and West Dunbartonshire Council leader SNP’s Ronnie McColl to debate the Government’s cuts agenda on 23 September.

Mike opened with the movement’s alternative policies of tackling the tax evasion of the super rich and big business, scrapping Trident replacement, taxing financial transactions, and boosting demand in the economy.

While the local politicians were generally supportive of the trade union position in that they were against the cuts, there was little sign of how they would tackle government policy. Rather blaming the other party and managing the cuts, rather than mobilising people against them.

The response from the 70 plus audience was passionate and indeed uplifting. The call from the floor was one of defiance and for a fight back against the assault on their jobs, services and pensions.

A number of themes arose from discussion.

1. The need for a simple leaflet on the extent of the cuts and impact on services.

2. Creating a movement of trade unions and communities capable of exerting mass pressure on politicians to resist the cuts.

3. Recognising that without a mass movement any council setting an illegal budget would leave it isolated and open to attack.

However the possibility exists that an alliance of unions, communities and local politicians could build this mass movement of defiance, creating a political crisis for government, leaving their strategy of making the working class pay for the bankers created recession, in disarray.