Wirral Council's consultation exercise "What Really Matters" is an
expensive sham. The budget options outlined are based on an initial
consultation which attracted responses from less than 3% of the
electorate. It is designed to provide an appearance of public approval
for Council decisions where no such approval exists. The views of such a
low sample cannot be taken as representative of the Wirral public as a
whole, much less as providing any kind of democratic support for Council
actions. The public has been rightly suspicious of the exercise from the
start and has demonstrated its distrust by ignoring it.
People do not want to be given a choice of what kind of pain to inflict
on themselves and their neighbours while nothing is being done to
address the gross unfairness in society.
The government's programme of austerity, of which council cuts are part,
bears down harshly on the low-paid, the unemployed and disabled while
wealthy tax dodgers continue to prosper. As well as being viciously
unfair, the Coalition's economic policies are failing
miserably--Government austerity in a recession has, as widely predicted,
only prolonged the economic suffering, ensuring growth only for food banks.
Budget deficits will begin to fall when the government reverses its cuts
agenda and invests in the green economy, not as it cuts more. The answer
is certainly not to further impoverish the already disadvantaged. Given
Labour's abject failure both locally and nationally to oppose austerity,
this leaves the Greens as the only party to articulate and campaign
vigorously for an alternative.