The dishonesty of the Tories in Harborne


It’s fair to say that MSB are not always entirely uncritical of our local council. I often wish they would do more to challenge the austerity narrative relentlessly, especially as we now have all these new Party members, but sadly I do not believe enough of those local members are thinking along those lines at the moment. We are where we are and I and others in MSB will continue to argue for a radical and democratic Labour Party, both nationally and locally.

The Labour group are implementing huge cuts (£78 million this year and nearly £600 million since 2010/2011) because of massive Tory government cuts to local government funding and there will continue to be big reductions over the coming years. We should never lose sight of that. If services are being cut, it is the Tories who are chiefly responsible. What they are doing is immoral, ideological (they are clearly taking advantage of the financial crisis to try and wipe away any last trace of municipal socialism from our towns and cities) unnecessary and completely destructive of the services that so many residents rely upon and use in so many different ways.

On a personal level I am frightened for our local swimming pools. I use them most days and learnt to swim properly in them many years ago. The idea that they will be closed, and the opportunity I had to find a lifelong hobby that has brought me so much pleasure will be denied to generations who follow me, unless they can afford to pay extortionate private memberships and travel miles, fills me with dread.

So it was interesting, to put it mildly, that without a trace of irony the Harborne Tories (and there weren’t many of them) were giving the above leaflet about library services out at their stall on the High Street on Saturday. They decided to plonk their table right next to the Labour one.

Lord Whitby was in fine form, although I think the patter that may have been convincing a few years ago is wearing a little thin and he looked like he was trying too hard. Not impressive. Clearly they are giving out peerages like confetti these days.

Anyway, the leaflet is cheeky and disingenuous on two levels:

  • The aforementioned Tory government cuts
  • Harborne Library isn’t under threat of closure at the moment.

Reading through the leaflet the Tories don’t claim that it is, but the headline suggests otherwise. Kelvin MacKenzie would be very proud, Mike.

Clearly library services are bearing the brunt of local cuts and there is a big debate about how necessary the cuts are. Edgbaston libraries, for one reason or another, have largely been spared from that.

But this leaflet shows how dishonest (and feeble) our local Tory Party are. We need our Labour council as the alternative is horrendous.

Momentum South Birmingham might like that Labour council to be behaving a bit differently, but we need our Labour council.


3 thoughts on “The dishonesty of the Tories in Harborne

  1. Elenor Carroll

    It’s not true to say that Edgbaston Libraries have been saved from the cuts. I work in Quinton. Both Quinton and Harborne are facing cuts in hours and staff. May not be as harsh as say Bartley Green (which is on the edge of the Edgbaston district) but is still facing them. I agree the Tory leaflet is misleading though as Harborne library is not facing being closed and I doubt very much that it will. You can see the criteria that was used to rank all of the libraries over Birmingham here:


    1. Peter bloomer

      Agree elenor there is a complexity to the cuts, intentional, all library services are being cut, some are being closed, some are to be run by volunteers (unfunded).
      I think the Friends of the Libraries of Birmingham and the council workers union UNISON are aware.
      The broader strokes are that there has to be resistance mounted and attempt made to stop these cuts or we will have a decimated library service, without a sufficient mass to provide a real library service.
      Some are saying that we haven’t seen anything yet. The just announced cuts to other services are even greater. But I don’t believe as socialists we can agree to any of these cuts. They are all unnecessary and vindictive cuts against services that are needed by working class people in Birmingham.
      Would you like a park or would you like a school. Will you cut funding for homeless services or cut them for elderly services. These are not choices socialists can make.
      We want properly funded services for all those that need those services. I think the only way forward us to try and win BCC and the labour councillors to a public campaign for more funding. For the Labour movement to mobilise behind this campaign and make it a real issue.
      We need a United front against Tory government cuts and we need the labour councillors and the BCC to be part of it.


  2. Peter b

    Agree, these are Tory cuts and it’s clever of them to force Labour Councils to make cuts, which they then blame Labour for making.
    Our response should be from within the Labour Movement. Momentum, trades council, CLPs, wards, anti cuts groups should demand the Labour councillors and BCC join with us in demanding the Tory government gives proper funding to Birmingham.
    This would dramatically expose who is making the cuts ( that’s important) and it is a campaign that if strongly supported could win more resources for Birmingham.
    This should be our approach a united front against Tory funding cuts to local services. Going quiet about it is not an option IMO


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