The Class War was alive and well in Sefton during the January meeting of Sefton Council as councillors applauded and backed a motion accusing the government of wanting to wage ‘a relentless war’ on trade unions and workers. During the debate Southport Labour councillor, Sean Halsall (Kew), the mover of the motion described business owners and landlords as ‘leeches’ while other members referred to a historic battle between “capital “ and “labour”.
There was though a wide measure of agreement across the Council and between parties on the current cost of living crisis and on workers right to take strike action to prevent a sharp decline in their living standards. However, as Liberal Democrat, Iain Brodie Browne, pointed out the elephant in the room was the 6% shrinking of our economy following Brexit.
Cllr. John Pugh (Liberal Democrat) said , “ We stand behind no-one in our condemnation of the incompetence of this government and we tried to amend the motion in a consensual way. We wanted recognition that it wasn’t just ‘the workers’ affected ,but pensioners, children and businesses. Sadly that wasn’t accepted by the Sefton Labour administration who seemed to see everything through the prism of class war.”
Members debated whether everyone from premier league footballers to Amazon deliverers could these days simply be described collectively as ‘workers’, but Cllr Halsall, whose motion was unanimously backed by his colleagues, said he would support any strike by workers.
“ The public might be surprised,” claimed Cllr. Pugh that , “the council was debating political philosophy rather than potholes, but it opened up the fault lines between the parties. We Liberals simply do not buy into the inevitably of a class war and can’t understand how fellow Sefton councillors can support the idea that all business owners are “leeches”. It’s not real world stuff -especially as many of them outside the council chamber will be phoning the very same people to book their car in for repairs or fit their kitchen.”
The debate changed no minds, but I left reassured by the sanity of the traditional, historic Liberal position . No doubt the Labour councillors departed equally assured in their socialism.