Croydon Communist Party Launches Campaign for May 2014 Local Elections

Media Release

Croydon’s Communist Party announced today that it will be fielding three candidates in the May 2014 local elections.

Launching the campaign, Ben Stevenson, Communist Party National Secretary and prospective local election candidate for Bensham Manor, said, “Croydon residents need a genuine alternative to the relentless austerity, public service cuts and total lack of accountability offered by the Tories. They also need more than the platitudes presented by Labour about more transparency in council meetings, more effective working with the voluntary sector and cleaner streets in Croydon. Frankly, the blather expressed recently by Tony Newman about these issues is a smokescreen. Of course, we support giving back as much influence as possible to local people and communities. But Labour in Croydon are offering the same cuts in services as the Tories, with a bit of window dressing to obscure their impact. For a start, if they were serious about restoring democracy in Croydon Council they would abolish cabinet government, which is anything but democratic, and re-empower councillors. And they would fight for properly funded public services provided directly by the council.”

Labour’s talk of ‘difficult choices’, ‘priorities’ and providing public services ‘differently’ misses the point. The dangers of going down the ‘cooperative council’ route pursued by Lambeth and other councils are well known. Residents are faced with an impossible choice. Either support the provision of vital local services such as children’s and youth facilities and libraries by volunteers, with all the impact that has on the quality of service delivery and the jobs of the staff themselves, or see them disappear.

Ben Stevenson said, “Croydon clearly needs decent local services which reflect local needs. We mustn’t fall into the trap of thinking we need offer a balanced budget within centrally determined funding constraints. The Con-Dem Government has made a political decision to use a crisis of capitalism as cover for permanent austerity and a wide-range assault on the welfare state and all the social gains made since 1945. Local government as we know it is set to disappear as totally unnecessary funding cuts result in the termination of discretionary services and even statutory services face a ‘death of the thousand cuts’. Why not consider the positive role of a ‘needs budget’ to resist Tory austerity politics. And simply say ‘no’ to the forced implementation of the cuts?”

John Eden, prospective local election candidate for Selhurst said, “Croydon Labour Party’s manifesto for the May 2014 elections provides a clear illustration of their failure to offer a vision for Croydon which presents a genuine alternative to endless austerity. Our community faces job losses, inadequate housing and all-out assault on local services. I look forward to the challenge presented by this election, taking the fight to the Tories and explaining to local people that there’s a future worth fighting for based on a socialist political and economic strategy.”

Notes to editors:
1. For enquiries phone 0208 686 1659 or e-mail croydon@communist-party.org.uk
2. Ben Stevenson is 29 years old and National Secretary of the Communist Party. Since moving to Croydon from his native Birmingham in 2005, he has been heavily involved in local labour movement politics through the Croydon Save Our Schools Campaign, the campaign against the Beddington Lane Incinerator and the Croydon Trades Union Council’s Executive Committee. He stood as a Communist Party candidate in the 2012 Croydon North by-election.
3. John Eden is 64 years old and a carpenter and joiner. He is a member of Croydon Trades Union Council’s Executive Committee and has lived in Selhurst for 27 years.
4. Dr Peter Latham is the prospective candidate for Broad Green. A former lecturer, he has lived in the area for many years. He is the author of ‘The State and Local Government: Towards a new basis for local democracy and the defeat of big business control’ and a longstanding member of Croydon Trades Union Council’s Executive Committee.
5. Croydon Communists recently published a well-received pamphlet on housing issues in the borough, ‘Decent Homes for All – End Croydon’s Housing Crisis Now’, which is available on the website or by contacting us direct.
6. The Communist Party was founded in 1920 and is part of an international movement involving millions of people in more than 100 countries across the globe.

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