York Green Party

Greens gather round the Bonfire of Austerity

7 November 2013

On Tuesday November 5th, anti-cuts campaigners in York turned the defunct fountain in Parliament Street into a Bonfire of Austerity. Green Party activists and councillors were there to support the action, which highlighted the unnecessary suffering caused by massive public sector spending cuts.

A David Cameron figure was wheeled around as passers-by were offered shares in a newly privitised guy. The symbolic fire was fanned by the contributions of members of the public who were invited to fill out paper flames with the things they would most like to see consigned to the fire.

Later on, speakers addressed the crowd in St Helen's Square. Denise Craghill, the chair of York Green Party and a regional candidate for the 2015 European Elections, was one of those to speak. She said:

"So many people are suffering from this Coalition Government's policies through cuts to local government services, job losses and low pay; attacks on welfare benefits both for people unable to work and large numbers of people in work; rising energy and food prices; reduced access to education and the added anxiety of a deteriorating health service as the Government presses on with privatisation.

"People are angry about this abysmal record of mis-government – but also very pleased to find people speaking out to say that there is an alternative and that it doesn't have to be like this. So much mis-information has been spread around by politicians and the media that many people think that bad as it is, the only option we have is to cut, cut, cut."

November 5th was a day of action nationwide against the international 'austerity' agenda: an opportunistic use of the "credit-crunch" global recession and the (historically unremarkable) national debt to justify massive cuts in public sector budgets and the privitisation of state-owned assets. The result has been a dismantling of the welfare system and an increasing divide between the haves and have-nots.

Since Ed Milliband accepted the chancellor's budget cuts for 2015-16, the Green Party is the only anti-austerity party in the UK parliament. As Green MP Caroline Lucas said: "The way to address the deficit is not by further cuts to public services, including tightening the financial stranglehold on local authorities, or failing to get people into work and arbitrarily capping welfare spending regardless of need.

"It is to invest in jobs – borrowing money based on record low interest rates – mount a serious crackdown on tax evasion and avoidance, and bring forward green quantitative easing to deliver investment directly into the infrastructure we urgently need for a more resilient, stable economy."

Read more about the event on the website of the York People's Assembly Against Austerity.







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