Spent this evening at a powerful meeting forming the Central London Right to Work group. There was broad representation from trade unions in the borough, including Unison, FBU, PCS, Unite, and UCL Lecturers’ Union, and several people who had attended the recent Manchester Right to Work conference.
Issues covered included the ongoing PCSU strike at the National Gallery, the actions resisting redundancies and cutbacks at UCL and King’s College, resistance to the threatened cutbacks at Whittington Hospital (A&E and maternity services) to the proposed UKCRMI in Somers Town, and more. The feeling was a powerful push back against the cuts agenda is building.
The Right to Work group, as that name suggests, will be aiming to work on not just the obvious employment and unemployment issues, but also housing, privatisation, marketisation – all of the inter-related hyper economic liberalism that still seems to be ploughing through on the ground, despite its clear and absolute moral and intellectual bankruptcy.
I was reminded of that amazing persistence in the face of abject failure when I came home to read that Gordon Brown wants to “develop ‘brands’ of schools that parents can trust”. So do you want to send your children to the Coca-Cola school or Fanta one? Or do you just want a good local school that’s democratically accountable to elected local government?