Dead Men Left

Friday, September 09, 2005


Sarah Ruiz, Labour councillor in Newham since 1993, has resigned the Labour whip and joined Respect. From her resignation letter:

This is not a decision I have taken lightly. When I joined the Labour Party it still stood for social justice, peace and fair treatment for all. Under Blair’s leadership the Party has abandoned all of its principles...

I am mindful that the Leadership of Newham Council, especially Sir Robin Wales, has supported every policy of New Labour.

Instead of speaking up for the people of Newham Sir Robin has put self interest and the interests of New Labour first. This is clearly illustrated by the Council’s failure to condemn the government for persistently short changing Newham on government funding. Despite eight years of a Labour Government, Newham is still being denied inner London status – but the Mayor has run a half hearted campaign because we must not antagonise the government.

The Council continues to show contempt for local democracy – our 19,000 tenants are having the management of their homes handed over to an Arms Length Management Organisation – the first step to privatisation – without giving tenants a vote.

New Labour have let down the people of Newham and that’s a key reason why I’ve joined Respect – a party that stands up for old Labour values such as peace, human rights and justice.

Word has it that Newham Mayor, Sir Robin Wales, also chair of the Local Government Association and a big cheese in local government circles, is busily positioning himself to be Labour candidate for Mayor of London when Livingstone steps down. It would be just terrible if his Blairite copy-book was blotted next year by Labour losing control of a council they've run for decades.