25 March 2011

Marching for an alternative and decision time for Southwark Lib Dems

Tomorrow tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people will be marching in central London to show their opposition to the Tory-Lib Dem government's ideological attack on public services. I'm proud to be joining them, along with hundreds of colleagues from Southwark Labour Party and, I'm sure, thousands of residents from our local area.

The havoc caused by the depth and speed of the cuts is already having a direct impact on the quality of life of many people living in Peckham Rye. Victoria, Renata and I are receiving lots of casework from people who are losing out on services, support and help because the cuts have been so deep, and so disproportionately targeted on inner city areas such as Southwark.

So Southwark Labour's position on the cuts is clear, but the same can't be said of the Lib Dems.

Of course, not all Liberal Democrats in the UK are in favour of the cuts. At least some have signed a public letter to voice their opposition to the Government's approach. Others have even marched with Labour Councillors through their own city centres. But it is very noticeable that Lib Dems in Peckham Rye and Southwark have failed to join them. If they were really interested in standing up for our area, surely they'd be joining us in supporting the march tomorrow.

So it's decision time for Lib Dems in Southwark. When it comes to the crunch, who do they really represent? Is it their own sectional interests in Westminster, or are they prepared to join the march for an alternative? Will they back a different approach to deficit reduction which prioritises jobs, growth and social justice and which is backed by the vast majority of people in this ward and this borough? Or will they do what Nick Clegg wants them to do? We shall wait and see.

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