Anti-Cuts Protestors in Lewisham Town Hall

This is what democracy looks like in Lewisham
From BBC News:
Lewisham Town Hall protest broken up by riot police

Twitter photos

(photo above from GuidoTallman) – quote “This is what democracy looks like in Lewisham”.

“And the scene outside Lewisham Town Hall this evening … ” Sue Luxton (Green Party):
And the scene outside Lewisham Town Hall this evening ...

Councillor Jenni Clutten: “Guy Hanging from Projector”:

17 Comments

Filed under politics

17 responses to “Anti-Cuts Protestors in Lewisham Town Hall

  1. Love the picture in the council chamber!

  2. Cllr Mike Harris

    The only thing local Labour Councillors fear is the coalition cutting Lewisham Council’s budget by 29%.

    The protests will continue as people get angrier still at what is being done to public services.

    • Bullock = Labour. Labour voted for the cuts package. Remind me who the poor are supposed to vote for again, because I can’t see any political party standing up for them right now. Think I might remove your URL from your comment, it feels like link spam.

  3. Saltley Gates

    Labour the gutless Party
    Doing the Tories work, in fact the Con Dems cuts are built on Labours foundations,Darling promised Cuts that were harsher than Thatchers.The Con Dems NHS PRIVATISATIONS is also built on Labours previous Privatisations and break up of our NHS.

    We cannot trust or rely on the Lords,Sirs and Dames of Labour we have to fight for our services,our kids futures and for our jobs

  4. Jack

    The cuts are a necessary evil. Violent (or agressive) protest is not democracy in action, democracy is what happened in May when a government was voted in with a mandate for dealing with the horrific deficit left by Labour. Freedom of speech and right to peaceful protest are good things, but protesters are just expressing one view and it’s not mine, nor the majority of the British people’s judging by the election result. It’s easy to oppose the cuts as nobody wants to lose council services but the alternative (look at Greece, Ireland, etc) is the worse option.

  5. I think it time to launch occupations of town halls across the country. I salute all those who attended and defended in Lewisham.

  6. George Hallam

    Jack said:
    “It’s easy to oppose the cuts as nobody wants to lose council services”

    Nobody? You must be referring to the Treasury official who said

    “Anyone who thinks the spending review is just about saving money is missing the point. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the way that government works.”

  7. George Hallam

    Jack said:
    “The cuts are a necessary evil.”

    ‘Evil’ is an emotionally charged word.

    Cuts in government spending take money out of the economy. As a rule of thumb a 1 percent cut in spending will, over eighteen months, reduce total demand by 1 percent and GDP by 0.5 percent. In other words we tighten our belts, social services deteriorate, more people lose their jobs.

  8. George Hallam

    “but the alternative (look at Greece, Ireland, etc) is the worse option.”

    No. Greece and Ireland are not an alternative to cuts: they are prime examples of cutting.
    And you know what?
    These cuts have lowered economic activity, increased unemployment. As a result government are getting LESS in taxes and are having to pay out MORE in benefits. In other words it has made the financial position of those governments worse.

    The Gods of the Market Place are not happy with either Ireland or Greece.

  9. George Hallam

    Is anyone interested in an example of an alternative to cuts?

    If so, why not look at the experience of Argentina.

    As you may recall in the 1990’s Argentina used to be held up as a shining example of neo-liberal (free-market) policies (just like Ireland).

    They pegged their currency to the dollar (very like Ireland joining the Euro).

    Then about ten years ago it got into difficulties (just like Ireland).

    Initially the Argentine government, on IMF advice, pushed through a series of swinging cuts (just like Ireland).

    GDP fell by nearly 10 percent, unemployment soared (can you see a pattern here?).

    By the end of 2001 people had had enough and the government found that it was politically inconvenient to carry on cutting. So they changed course. They defaulted on their debt and un-pegged their currency from the dollar (thus allowing a devaluation).

    The IMF and ‘the markets’ were furious and for a while things got even worse. But then they started to get better. Growth restarted in the second half of the 2002. The economy started a boom that only stalled when the current crisis hit Argentina last year.

  10. Jack

    George Hallam – Well ‘necessary evil’ is a common enough phrase, I think you know what I mean.
    Re your ‘treasury official’ quote, well ok if that’s a real quotation then that’s one person. I can only speak for myself I suppose, and while I think public expenditure should always be scrutinised to ensure efficiency and value for money, I wouldn’t want to lose services such as libraries for example. I would imagine most people feel the same.
    BUT: Greece and Ireland’s cuts have not kicked in yet – the crisis there is due to fear that the governments there will NOT be able to cut, and live within their means which has lead to the downgrading of their credit ratings. If that happened here we would be in the proverbial poo, and would just have to suffer deeper cuts in the long run.

    • George Hallam

      “Well ‘necessary evil’ is a common enough phrase,”
      common enough phrases slip so easily off the tongue that we are hardly aware that we are using them, let alone the philosophical baggage that comes with them.

      “I think you know what I mean.”
      I don’t mean to rude but my point was that you don’t seem to have thought through what you are saying.

      I don’t want to people to dismiss the cuts on moral grounds, I want to understand them and, if the reject them, to do so on the basis of rational argument.

    • George Hallam

      “Re your ‘treasury official’ quote, well ok if that’s a real quotation”

      Yes, it is a real quote. Please don’t take my word for it: check the Daily Telegraph for 8 June this year. It was also in the Daily Mail on the same day, I’m surprised you didn’t see it.
      The original report was on the 7th June by Nigel Morris, the Deputy Political Editor of the Independent.

      I am confident that these reports are correct for two reason:
      a) This statement is both unusually frank and controversial. If the official had been misquoted or had been saying something that the Treasury didn’t agree with then strenuous efforts would have been made to disavow the report. This did not happen.
      b) The statement is in line the general outlook of the Treasury as indicated from my own sources.

      “ then that’s one person.”

      Yes, it’s only one person but that person happens to be an official in the single most important department of the British state. The Treasury controls government expenditure. Its officials have power and influence beyond the imagination of mere mortals such as ourselves. They are not called ‘mandarins’ for nothing.

      “As flies to wanton boys are we to th’ gods, They kill us for their sport”

    • George Hallam

      “I can only speak for myself I suppose, and while I think public expenditure should always be scrutinised to ensure efficiency and value for money, I wouldn’t want to lose services such as libraries for example. I would imagine most people feel the same.”

      This demonstrates the limitations of imagination.

      ‘Always’ is a very long time. We are currently facing the greatest economic crisis of our life time. Amongst those people who have given the matter some thought there is a view that we need all the public expenditure that we can get.

      Forget about ‘always’, as things stand now, public spending is the only thing this is preventing a massive collapse in the economy. Given the crisis, ANY public expenditure is good, provided it is spent in this country. That includes inefficient and downright wasteful spending.

      “If the Treasury were to fill old bottles with bank-notes, bury them at suitable depths in disused coal-mines which are then filled up to the surface with town rubbish, and leave it to private enterprise on well-tried principles of laissez-faire to dig the notes up again (the right to do so being obtained, of course, by tendering for leases of the note-bearing territory), there need be no more unemployment and, with the help of repercussions, the real income of the community, and its capital wealth, would probably become a good deal greater than it actually is.”

      John Maynard Keynes The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (London: Macmillan, 1936), p. 129

      I make these points not out of any personal animosity or because I think you are extraordinarily dense. On the contrary, I am taking the time to rely to you because you are expressing some widely help views that do not correspond to reality and are therefore extremely dangerous.

    • George Hallam

      Jack said:
      “BUT: Greece and Ireland’s cuts have not kicked in yet”

      Partially true –both countries have plans for spending cuts extending over several years.

      However, some measures have been taken already especially in Greece e.g. a tax on fuel, which is expected to raise €1bn (see FT February 3, 2010)

      Back in May the FT said “EU officials said there was agreement that any eurozone country drawing on the loans would have to adopt the same kind of rigorous budget deficit-cutting measures that Greece is starting to implement.” http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/74c3cd70-5bca-11df-85a3-00144feab49a.html#ixzz16r5cNHzP
      Jack said:
      “the crisis there is due to fear that the governments there will NOT be able to cut, and live within their means which has lead to the downgrading of their credit ratings.”

      False as regards Ireland. The Irish government’s difficulties have been caused by its guarantee to the banks not by massive public spending or the country ‘living beyond its means’. The problem is that the banks are insolvent and the attempt to prop them up is taking ever increasing amounts of money which can only be raised by borrowing.

      As the FT said on 23rd November:

      Standard & Poor’s cut Ireland’s long-and short-term sovereign ratings, citing concerns about government borrowing. “The lower ratings reflect our view that the Irish government looks set to borrow over and above our previous projections to fund further bank capital injections into Ireland’s troubled banking system,” S&P said.
      http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/62c33278-f733-11df-9b06-00144feab49a.html#ixzz16r3jSW6A

      Jack said:
      “If that [downgrading of credit ratings] happened here we would be in the proverbial poo, and would just have to suffer deeper cuts in the long run.”
      With all due respect this is nonsense. All the Irish government has to do is restructure their bank’s debts. British and German banks would lose a lot of money but the Irish would be laughing all the way to …
      Yes there would be some political repercussions but so what? Ireland is in a very strong position to tough it out.
      Unlike the UK, the Irish have an incredibly strong agricultural base. They also have quite a respectable manufacturing sector. There would be no need for any cuts.
      Despite our weak manufacturing base, I have no doubt that the UK could tough it out as well, if we chose to go down a similar route. We have enormous financial clout and, unlike Ireland 70 percent of our government borrowing is directly from UK residents.

      • begorrah

        Well you could have knocked me down with a shillelagh when I heard this
        There was an emergency mini-budget in Ireland in April 2009
        The government made cuts of €886 million in Gross Current Spending and €576 million in Gross Capital Spending ,‘saving’ of €1.5 billion.
        The cuts included
        Social Welfare
         Job seeker’s allowance for new claimants under 20 years old reduced to €100 per week i.e. halved. Yield is €12m in 2009 and €26m in full year.
         Removal of Christmas bonus payment in 2009. Yield of €156m in 2009 and €171m in full year.
         Changes to rent supplement eligibility, to yield €50m in 2009 and €78m in full year.
        Health and Children
         Early Childcare supplement halved to €41.50 per child a month, and will be abolished at end-2009. Yield is €105m in 2009 and €180m in 2010.
        Payroll and other Savings
         Early retirement scheme introduced in the public sector with no cost.
         Other departmental savings yielding €170m in 2009 and €174m in full year.
        Foreign Affairs
         Reduction in overseas aid to yield €100m in 2009 and in full year.
        Capital Expenditure
         €300m savings in transport, including a €150m reduction in investment in roads. Also, some deferrals of public transport projects.
         €200m savings in areas of Social Housing and Water.
         €54m savings in Education and Science, primarily in the Primary and Post-Primary school building programmes.
        http://www.finfacts.ie/irishfinancenews/article_1016400.shtml

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