Wednesday 27 April 2011

Labour and ConDems run away from debate on public services in Brighton

This is really quite shameful - on the part of Labour especially.

The civil service union PCS had organised a hustings for council candidates this Thursday on the theme of protecting public services.  This has now been cancelled.  PCS explains below.

The Public and Commercial Services Union in Brighton has called off an organised 'hustings' for
candidates at the local elections as Labour, Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives have all
declined invitations to attend. The debate was due to take place on Thursday at the Friends meeting house in Ship Street

PCS has run a successful campaign over a number of years called 'Make your vote count' which
encourages people to use their vote in elections, to support public services and to oppose the far
right. However, in Brighton only the Green Party and the Trade union and Socialist Candidate were prepared to face the electorate and public sector workers. Both also have supported the Unions pledges in supporting public services.

Kevin Dale, Make your Vote Count Co-ordinator in Brighton said " We organised the hustings, as we have up and down the country , because we believe voters are entitled to hear what politicians think and we also felt it was an opportunity for parties to say what they stand for. All credit to TUSC and the Greens for being prepared to speak up for what they believe in but it seems Labour, the Lib Dems and Tories are running scared of the people they want to represent. Labour and the Lib Dems both declined invitations to attend and attempts to get a Conservative speaker also came to nothing. What are these parties scared of? Are their policies not up to scrutiny?

We have taken the decision not to go ahead with the meeting due mainly to the failure of Labour to debate issues particularly the cuts and public services, and we ask voters to support candidates in Brighton who have publicly backed our campaign and signed the our unions 5 Pledges to support public services, those being TUSC and the Greens."

Jason KitKat, Green party Councillor, who was due to speak said "I am disappointed that the other parties are not up for open and fair debate around the issues that effect the electorate. The Greens are willing to debate with any party as there are issues that need to be addressed."

Phil Clarke of the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition which is standing against all cuts said " The
cuts in council services are so severe that councillors need to make them central to this election.
Refusing to even debate the issues shows how weak labours anti-cuts credentials are. The people of Brighton need to look elsewhere at Trade unionists and Socialist against the cuts candidates to find people who have pledged to take on the government and vote against all cuts."

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