My Speech at the Swansea Trades Council May Day Rally held in Castle Square, Swansea today

Good afternoon and thanks for being here.  It’s good to see so many people prepared to turn out on this cold and windy day.

When Ronnie invited me to speak here today he pointed out that the Conservatives and Lib-Dems were not invited.

I wasn’t sure about that approach, as part of me felt that the Lib-Dems ought to be dragged here and made to explain why they continue to serve as apologists for this viscous government with its cabinet of millionaires who are hell bent on ensuring that they and their friends can continue to make more millions and pay even less tax, while the rest of us cope with cuts in services, job losses and reduced benefits.

But we mustn’t forget that at the last General Election every UK-wide party save one went into it with a cuts agenda.

Only the Green Party argued that the cuts were totally unnecessary; that the financial crisis could be dealt with by dealing with tax avoidance, making sure the banks repaid all the money we gave them and scrapping Trident. There are some who will tell you that even the Greens are implementing the cuts in Brighton where we lead the Council.

Well here are some examples of the type of cuts that are happening in Brighton:

1. The Greens have introduced a Living Wage of a minimum of £7.19 for all council staff and are working with other employers to advocate that living wage across the city.

2. They have obtained over £6m of new external funding for major improvements to the city’s public transport infrastructure.

3. Greens have protected the Children’s & Adult Social care budgets for the next 2 years.

4. They are building the city’s first new council houses in decades, and bringing more empty properties back into use.

The Green administration’s budget will:

  • Double capital funding for transport and the public realm.
  • Build new non-academy school places.
  • Keep an in-house Youth Service, unlike almost every other council in England.
  • Protect Staff terms and conditions.
  • Keep all their branch libraries open.
  • Preventing homelessness funding is protected and domestic violence support increasing by £100,000.

None of these would have happened without Greens taking control of the city council in Brighton & Hove.

I hope our Labour colleagues, who might well be running Swansea Council by the end of next week, are taking note.  This is what can be achieved even in these difficulty financial times if a council has its priorities right.

Tony Benn, speaking here in Swansea some years ago, said that democracy has to be fought for in each generation.

If we relax our guard, even for a short time, then the forces of repression will move in and roll back the gains that we have made.

This was never more true than now.

Throughout this week Greens will be attending events like this all across the UK; standing alongside workers fighting against cuts to services and threats to their jobs; standing up to this government of posh boys and their banker friends.


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