Glasgow: Labour council passes £40m cuts budget – where is the resistance?

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Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! supporters joined parents and former users of St. Brides Primary swimming pool protesting outside Glasgow City Chambers today, Thursday 7 February. The pool is one of four currently facing closure, including special needs schools Abercorn and Ashcraig. Swimming pools were not the only concern.

Today’s budget, with £42mn worth of cutbacks, was passed by the majority Labour Council and supported by the SNP (bar a token budget amendment they proposed). To the people of Glasgow, walking and driving past the Chambers, unaware of the future misery being signed and sealed in their names, our message is clear and urgent; unite your communities and struggles and fight back against all cutbacks!

The cuts budget in Glasgow is clear in who is to suffer. It is targeting the most vulnerable, with plans to shutdown three disability day care centres in Maryhill, Summerston and Cardonald and reduce the number of teaching staff specially trained to provide support for pupils with additional learning needs (£2.4mn reduction). It is targeting the lives of the elderly by maintaining the increased costs of emergency alarms for older people. And it is targeting the lives of the young, with a 10% increase in council nursery charges and raised cost of primary schools meals (doubling the price of breakfasts to £1 and lunches to £1.50 from their current £1.15 by 2014).

Among the list of other measures to increase costs and lower living standards we see a 5% upping of the cost of Glasgow Life gyms, swimming pools and fitness classes for young and middle aged adults who are not club members (membership will be charged from March 2013).

As always, it will be the working class and poor who will bear the brunt of the cuts, those who cannot afford the luxuries of private healthcare and childcare; it is not the children of the middle class and elites who will have to worry about the rising cost of school meals.

Sadly most people in Glasgow will not become aware of these cuts until there affected by them. On that note we condemn the silencing of protest which took place today outside the Chambers. The Trade Unions which last week helped organise a mass protest on the very same spot, on the day of the budget sat on their hands and buttoned their lips, in order to allow their Labour party chums to pass their budget without disturbance. The innumerable campaigns established by the opportunist left in the past two years – Coalition of Resistance, Unite the Resistance, Right to Work, Defend Glasgow Services etc etc – were exposed once more as so many empty words. It will be the people themselves who lead the fight, not those who hand themselves titles and represent nothing but their own narrow interests.

The hypocrisy of the unions and others in their empty promises of ‘action against the cuts’ is matched only by the hypocrisy of Glasgow’s Labour Council which has been boasting about the sports legacy that the 2014 Commonwealth Games will bring to Glasgow for the last 6 years.  With the passing of this budget the council have confirmed that this legacy will be reserved for those with money to burn. Glasgow’s poor will be side-lined from sport and instead ‘reserved’ a place in the ranks of the 15,000 strong unpaid volunteer army set up to help run the Games (what a legacy!).

The protests of the people being affected by the closures of day care centres and swimming pools are a small glimpse of the righteous anger building across this city. To use this anger we must unite it, to unite it we must oppose the age old tools of division, used by the upper classes, most prominently racism. As some of the parents of pupils who use the St. Brides pool stated ‘this is a community fight’ in a deprived and highly diverse area of the city, Govanhill, which is challenging racial as well as class discrimination. The long-time swimming instructor at the school noted that St. Brides ‘is an ideal pool in which children can learn to swim because of its depth and also because it is enclosed which makes it suitable for the members of our Asian community...it is the only school in Glasgow to have Asian girls competing in the swimming pool.’

 

Save St. Brides swimming pool!

No day centre closures!

Oppose All Cuts!

Unite and Fightback!

 

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Get in touch with your local Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! group:

Glasgow: glasgowfrfi@gmail.com

Tel: 078 2620 3476

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