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Sheffield Labour Left  - For Socialism

A bulletin for Labour Party Members who supported the direction the party moved towards under Jeremy Corbyn & John McDonnell.
Opposing racism, antisemitism and political Zionism.
Opposing all expulsions/exclusions targeting the left.

SLL E-Bulletin #33 -  2 October 2020

Privatisation and more cuts

- where’s our debate in Labour?


Two aspects of the Tory Government’s response to the COVID 19 crisis have been their complete contempt for any Parliamentary accountability and the cover it has given them to privatise whole swathes of Government services.
The Government bonanza for private firms first hit the headlines when companies with no track record were awarded mouth-watering sums of public money to buy PPE equipment. 
Huffington Post reported in  August : “PPE contracts worth £186m, the second largest amount spent with any PPE supplier, went to UK logistics firm Uniserve Limited, whose multi-millionaire owner is listed as a speaker for the influential pro-Brexit lobby group Prosperity UK. Other speakers listed on the site include chancellor Rishi Sunak and cabinet minister Michael Gove.”
They went to report “Another two large PPE contracts worth £49m in total went to a company, Initia Ventures Ltd, with assets of only £100. Companies House records list it as dormant.”
 The subsequent failures in PPE provision, the millions wasted on underused Nightingale hospitals and the even bigger scandal of the track and trace contracts for an app that never worked and a system that fails are also legendary.
But beneath all this unaccountable and corrupt practice is an even more worrying element – the systematic privatisation of public services with no opportunity for this to be publicly challenged. 
So where is Labour on this in Westminster? So far, a few statements of outrage and demands for an inquiry but very little public campaigning on such wholesale privatisation of public services.
And this seems to be the general thrust of Labour under Starmer. Don’t rock the boat for fear of upsetting Tory electors who might vote Labour at the next election.
The trouble with this electoral strategy is what Labour is left with when power is finally secured (and that is not guaranteed). 
And this ‘don’t rock the boat’ attitude seems to be a feature of local government too. Councils are facing a financial crisis to dwarf the last ten years of austerity. Salami slicing budgets to keep all services running is no longer an option.
Closure of whole functions is being forced on Labour councils and there has been no public acknowledgement so far in Sheffield. What is needed is an open debate within Sheffield Labour Party about the choices facing our elected representatives.
Should money be spent propping up John Lewis if it means more vital services for the homeless are cut? Is funding leisure venues across the city such as Ponds Forge a priority if the Council cannot pay for support for vulnerable children?
Labour councillors are elected to represent the Labour Party and these decisions need the widest possible discussion and debate before such unthinkable choices have to be made.

 


Labour Party NEC Elections - Vote Left
Please vote for the following in the NEC elections.
Two from the Labour Left Alliance (LLA)

Roger Silverman
Chaudhry Qamer Iqbal


Plus, despite our criticisms regarding the way the slate was chosen, the CLGA slate of six:

Gemma Bolton
Yasmine Dar

Laura Pidcock
Ann Henderson
Mish Rahman
Nadia Jama

It is unlikely that your vote will go beyond these 8, but if it does then please consider your 9th and 10th choices to be for the two other Labour Left Alliance candidates nominated in Sheffield:
Carol Taylor-Spedding
Ekua Bayunu

Acorn Sheffield
- Fighting alongside tenants!
 

It hardly needs stating that the pandemic has made many people's living situations precarious, and that's why community organisations like ACORN are needed more than ever.  Since lockdown began, in addition to regular Zoom meetings and phone canvassing we have been using WhatsApp to make sure that those in our communities who are self-isolating have been getting the supplies they need, running regular deliveries across Sheffield of food, medication and other essentials.  One recipient wrote to us saying “I was starving; your group are saving lives and I cannot thank you guys enough.”  


Government restrictions have not held us back from defending our members through direct action either.  When we recently picketed notorious letting agents Crapper & Haigh over one of their tenants being forced to live in squalor because of overdue repairs and handed a ridiculous £3500 accumulative fine for missing one rent arrears after changing jobs several years ago, our action was scheduled for the day the 'rule of six' came into force.  We did some rapid rethinking and organised a rolling all-day picket of shifts of six members changing every hour to keep up the pressure on Crapper & Haigh.  After just a few hours of this, they gave in and completely wrote off our member’s debt.


As our Branch Communications Officer, Jamie Sims, says: “The COVID crisis is one of the biggest challenges we've faced as a union which prides itself on going out into the community, doing face-to-face organising and taking direct action.  We rose to the challenge [and] whatever the circumstances we'll always find ways to stand up for our members and our communities.”  ACORN Sheffield is ready to help out those in our community who need us most, whatever this pandemic or the government throws at us.

Written by an Acorn Sheffield activist.

Sheffield Labour Left


Sheffield Labour Left (SLL) is a network to help co-ordinate the genuine Labour Party left across the six CLPs covered by Sheffield. 

We have a page on Facebook (www.facebook.com/SheffieldLabourLeft) and our own website (http://www.sheffieldlabourleft.org), where you can find an archive of our first 29 bulletins.

We are connected to no other group, but work alongside others whose aims we share to see elected a socialist-led government.  In July 2019 we affiliated to the Labour Left Alliance:  
https://labourleft.org

Want to get involved with SLL or become a member? Contact us at the email address below.

Local labour movement meetings and events in October:

 
Tuesday 6 October:  Better Buses Campaign.  Outside the Moor market. Noon until 1pm.

Tuesday 6 October:  South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group (SYMAAG) fortnightly meeting.  7.00pm start.  Zoom meeting.

Monday 12 October:  Protest outside Vulcan House.  Justice for Simba - Justice for Jimmy - End the Hostile Environment!
11am to 1pm.  Home Office, Vulcan House S3 8NU.
To find out more about Simba's story, and sign his petition, go to: 
www.change.org/JusticeForSimba

Tuesday 13 October:  Sheffield Labour Local Campaign Forum meeting.  7.00pm until 9.30pm.  Zoom meeting.

Tuesday 20 October:  South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group (SYMAAG) fortnightly meeting.  7.00pm start.  Zoom meeting.

Thursday 22 October:  Sheffield Central CLP meeting. Zoom meeting.

Thursday 22 October:  Sheffield Hallam CLP meeting.  7.30pm to 9.30pm.  Zoom meeting.

Friday 23 October:  Penistone & Stocksbridge CLP meeting.  Zoom meeting.

Thursday 29 October:  Sheffield Heeley CLP meeting.  Zoom meeting.

Thursday 5 November:  Sheffield Brightside & Hillsborough CLP monthly meeting.  Zoom meeting.
Our mailing address is:
info@sheffieldlabourleft.org
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