Sleep-outs and Deadly Council Budgets
Here in Leicester Mothers Day descended upon us with sub-zero
temperatures and a dusting of snow. For those who can afford to heat
their homes such biting weather can be kept at bay, but for increasing
numbers of people this is simply not possible.
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Rent rises combined with the incoming brutal bedroom tax,
heaped on top of cuts to public services, pay freezes, and a blizzard
of attacks on the working class, now means that such icy weather is the
harbinger of personal tragedy — with the cold providing the final straw
to break many peoples backs.
Members of homeless action group Streetlife
know better than most the personal devastation caused by the chilling
winds of such political change. Providing a beacon of inspiration, they
are standing firm in opposition to such attacks. This is why they spent
last night enduring the cold to draw public attention to the Leicester
City Council's brutal onslaught on the entire working class and on homeless service provision in particular: with sickening proposals afoot that will see the homelessness budget slashed by a third over the next two years.
The night-long protest held on the steps of the Town Hall meant a
sleepless night for many (something that the homeless are all too
familiar with), but showed the raw grit and determination of the people
of Leicester to oppose the Labour Council's cowardly and totally
unnecessary decision to implement the Con-Dem's cuts. Vibrant
discussions went on into the early hours of the morning, with hearts
warmed by the knowledge that we were making a stand against a bankrupt
Council whose policies are literally killing people.
The bustle and good humour of the sleep-out made it a night to
remember, with new friendships forged amid vigorous discussions with
passers-by, merry drunks, and supporters alike. But such protests are
not going away any time soon, and the sleep-out has simply served to
bolster Streetlife's morale, and swelled their numbers for future
People are dying because of a crisis caused by the rich. The Labour
Party should stand with the working class and refuse to make the poorest
and most vulnerable in society pay with their lives but of course this
is not going to happen. So while the Labour Party may, at a push, make
piecemeal 'adjustments' to their deadly budgets, they are clearly no
longer a Party of the working class, and are quite intent on serving
their 'new' ruling class masters well.
Individual Labour Councillors with any backbone would do well to
publicly oppose their Party's ridiculous kow-towing to political elites,
but sadly they face expulsion from a Party that brooks no dissent. Yet
demonstrate, there are Labour Councillors who are willing to stand for
what is right: and when expunged from Labour, they have quickly linked
up to other groups opposing the cuts. The Socialist Party is aiming to