Save Coventry Libraries campaigner speaks as Cheylesmore library set for closure

Save Coventry Libraries campaigner speaks as Cheylesmore library set for closure

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Protesters outside Earlsdon Library

We have been sent the following article by Save Coventry Libraries campaigner Sarah Smith.

Cheylesmore Library will be closing on 10/8/2017.  Okay, so it’s earmarked to be re-opening as a community run Library on 4th September; why all the fuss you ask?

First of all, that is a whole three weeks and four days that a community will be without a library; just when it needs it the most, due to it being the summer holidays.

The government and local councils have NOT done a full investigation into the impact of community/volunteer solely ran libraries, however, they do know this, the average life span for a community/volunteer solely ran library is 18 months, where there has been only a handful of exceptions. Therefore when this happens it appears like they aren’t responsible for the closure of the libraries but the community/volunteers are.

Not only do they give up the responsibility to run these libraries, but they also give up responsibility for the safety of you. These volunteers are not CRB checked.  They will not be trained to deal with medical or other emergencies that occur, such as safe guarding issues, etc.

They are not even obliged to even open up the library as in if volunteers don’t turn up to open it then the library just doesn’t open.

Finally…

Council’s across the country do not have to impose the cut backs imposed by central government, they could spend reserves and form a campaign against central government for more money; better still, they could say no, if they wanted to and if our local councillors & MP’s refuse to do this, then maybe it’s time to elect those who will stand up for the people of Coventry.

Join the protest outside Cheylesmore Library on Thursday August 10th at 6pm!

Successful day of campaigning for Save Coventry Libraries

Successful day of campaigning for Save Coventry Libraries

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Outside Coundon Library – photo by Tara Rutledge

Saturday saw a successful day of action for the Save Coventry Libraries campaign. The “Big Library Sell Off Tour” visited the five libraries that Coventry City Council are planning to close. The Council say that unless volunteers/community groups come forward to run these vital public facilities then they will have no choice but to close them. Campaigners categorically reject this false choice put forward by the Labour Council – particularly when they have £84 million in reserves, and have increased these reserves. In fact they have doubled over the last 5 years!

The Socialist Party asks why don’t councillors use some of the reserves to offset these cuts and work with the people of Coventry to mount a campaign to force the Tory government to properly fund essential local services?

Labour should be opposing these cuts here in Coventry – not voting them through in the Council Chamber. Jeremy Corbyn opposes austerity but the majority of local Labour cllrs spend more time fighting him than they do the Tories!

The campaign visited the following libraries – Coundon, Earlsdon, Finham, Cheylesmore and Caludon Castle.

At each of the five libraries library users were angry and upset that their library could close. We collected many more signatures for our petition and handed out nearly a 1000 leaflets encouraging people to get involved in the campaign. It sent a clear message to Coventry City Council – keep all the libraries council run and fully staffed, with no job losses!

To see more pictures from the “Big Library Sell Off Tour” and to get more information about the campaign visit the Facebook page of Save Coventry Libraries

Former Labour councillor in Cheylesmore defects to UKIP

Former Labour councillor in Cheylesmore defects to UKIP

Former Labour councillor with his new UKIP colleagues. Picture from website of Coventry Telegraph

Former Labour councillor with his new UKIP colleagues. Picture from website of Coventry Telegraph

News came out today that Harjinder Singh Sehmi a former Labour Party councillor in Cheylesmore ward has joined Ukip. Whilst hardly on the scale of recent defections from the Tory Party, it once again raises the question of how best to combat Ukip. Below we reproduce an article from a recent issue of ‘The Socialist’ newspaper including comment from Dave Nellist, that outlines what we believe to be the best way to not only fight Ukip, but all of the austerity parties. If you agree, why not join us? Click here

Tories and Labour in crisis after Ukip win

By Claire Laker-Mansfield

Cameron and Miliband woke up on 10 October with a common sense of dread. Both their parties have been left reeling at the results of byelections in which Ukip has dealt them a hefty blow to the face. Both party leaders are now facing calls from some of their MPs to stand down before the 2015 general election.

For the Tory party, a landslide victory for their defector, Douglas Carswell (who won 60% of the vote), has no doubt left more backbenchers tempted to jump ship. But it’s perhaps Labour that has been the most visibly shocked. Ukip can no longer be written off as a ‘Tory problem’.

In Heywood and Middleton, a former Labour stronghold, Ukip came within inches of taking a seat. Just over 600 votes separated Farage’s party from a second (and potentially even more significant) victory.

These results have sent shivers down spines – including those of many ordinary workers and young people. But the three main parties all bear responsibility for the rising tide of the populist right. The trade union leaders who have held back from acting to build a new party have actually furthered this process. Five years of austerity have devastated the lives of already hard-pressed communities in Clacton and Heywood alike.

The cowardly ‘opposition’ of Miliband’s Labour offers nothing close to a coherent alternative, while competing with the Con-Dems over spending cuts.

Ukip enjoys playing on the fears of working class people – particularly those about immigration, while diverting blame over collapsing living standards from the bankers, big business and the super-rich. But underlying these fears is a deep sense of insecurity. It’s insecurity about jobs, stretched services, a race-to-the-bottom in pay and working conditions, and a dearth of (actually) affordable housing.

There is an overwhelming need for a new, mass party for the working class – a party which could offer people genuine hope.

Pro-cuts

This would be a party which, like 72% of Ukip’s voters, supports measures such as re-nationalising Britain’s railways. A party which, rather than aping the reactionary sentiments of ex-city slickers like Carswell, would offer an end to cuts and a minimum wage of £10 an hour; a party that would stand with workers as they fight to resist the onslaught and secure better wages and conditions.

The anti-establishment image that Ukip has worked so hard to adopt needs to be shattered. This is the same Ukip that helped organise a minuscule ‘pro-cuts’ rally designed to counter 2011’s trade union anti-austerity march, which attracted more than 500,000 people.

It’s the same Ukip whose deputy leader – Paul Nuttall – wrote in comments now deleted from his website that “the very existence of the NHS stifles competition”.

Ukip leader Nigel Farage may enjoy the odd pint but, as a privately educated ex-banker, his ordinary bloke act is pretty superficial. Ukip is a pro-cuts party for ‘the 1%’.

In the week following this humiliating by-election result for Labour, millions of workers were on strike against low pay. If Miliband had any backbone, he would respond to this electoral setback with bold support for the strikes, announce measures that would take some of the enormous wealth concentrated in the hands of the 0.1% super-rich and use it to fund wage increases, job creation and investment in our public services.

Instead of fighting for socialist policies to solve the economic and social crisis facing workers, Miliband and Labour continue to shift to the right and echo Ukip’s divide and rule, anti-immigrant agenda – the politics of despair.

Those who prefer the politics of hope should get involved with Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC – see below), and help build a vibrant, democratic, mass party based on struggle and the organisations of the working class – a real alternative.

‘We need a new party’

Dave Nellist

Dave Nellist

By Dave Nellist

In losing thousands of votes in the Heywood and Middleton byelection, Labour has nobody to blame but itself.

Labour has spent the last 20 years assuming working class voters had nowhere else to go, so their problems, and they themselves, could be safely ignored. That attitude lost Labour four million working class voters between 1997 and 2010.

Now Ukip is harnessing the anger of those who feel you can’t get a fag paper between the establishment parties, and that specifically Labour is part of the problem, not the solution.

But Ukip itself is not the answer. It’s run by a public school educated ex-banker, staffed by people who worship Mrs Thatcher, and funded by multimillionaires who think the Tories have gone soft.

We urgently need a new party, but one that is rooted in the communities and organisations of the working class, with a programme of socialist demands to answer working people’s problems.

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is helping to build such a new party. Visit http://www.tusc.org.uk