A group of Labour councillors have signed the following undertaking:
We are pledged to vote against all cuts to services and jobs, increases in rents and charges, and increases in council tax.
This is an initiative of the Labour Representation Committee. This is an organisation that includes some important members – for instance there is the Communications Workers Union, an important Labour Party paymaster donating nearly £400,000 over the past year.
So far the Labour councillors who have signed include three from Hull, the labour group leader in Welwyn Hatfield and comrades from Basildon, Aberdeen, Cardiff and Broxstowe. There are also some ex Labour councillors.
But let us suppose that it takes off and a Labour council refused to implement any cuts? There is no longer a situation of councillors being surcharged – or penalised in any way. If they won't, or can't, agree a balanced budget then the bureaucrats simply do it for them.
In other words signing the LRC statement is pure gesture politics. It is a way for the councillors signing to salve their consciences yet carry on collecting their allowances and leave the work of decision making to the managers.
A more credible socialist protest would be support for a huge Council Tax increase – a way where spending cuts reall could be averted. That would, of course, mean taking the message for high spending to the residents during the resulting referendum campaign. Instead those signing have undertaken to vote against any Council Tax rise at all.