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Liverpool's future: The first point of Tony Mulhearn's six-point plan is saving children's and youth services. Photograph: Don McPhee
In response to an imagined slight, Liverpool city council leader and mayoral candidate Joe Anderson shouted 'You are scum!' at people protesting outside the Echo arena, before swanning in to meet Tory cabinet member Francis Maude, at a meeting for conservative business leaders.
In the years since I was a part of the city council in the mid-1980s, Labour has clearly moved away from its traditional values. It is now is happy to court big business, to condemn working people taking strike action and to pass on every single council cut demanded by the ConDem coalition.
Liverpool is particularly affected – If Anderson and his government friends have their way, over £200m of cuts will be inflicted on this city. This already threatens our children's centres, our adult social services and many more jobs and essential services.
The Liverpool Labour council of 1983-87 took on Thatcher and won £60m for the city from that government. The coalition government is much weaker now than Thatcher was, and yet Joe Anderson's Labour council has not taken them on. Instead they have given Michael Hesletine, Thatcher's henchmen, the freedom of the city! Far from standing by the people of Liverpool, Anderson and his party have sided with the ConDem axe men.
In the light of the huge attacks on the services that are required for a civilized and humane society, and the complete lack of opposition from Labour, I have taken the decision to stand for mayor of Liverpool. The working class needs a political voice to add to the fight back. We should not be paying for a crisis, which in the words of the Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, was 'rooted in the financial sector.'
My six-point programme is unashamedly focused on protecting the working class of this city from the cuts to jobs and vital services that we rely on:
1. Save our children's and youth services.
2. Re-introduce £30 per week Education Maintenance Allowance for all 6th-form & college students.
3. Reverse cuts made by the council last year and this.
4. End privatisation. Bring outsourced and privatised services back in-house.
5. Defend our NHS. For a local referendum on the government's privatisation plans and a huge campaign to save our Health Service!
6. End marketisation of education.
The mainstream apparatus has consistently hammered people with a mantra that the cuts are necessary. I totally oppose this. When big business is raking in profits at the rate of around £1m-an-hour in the case of Shell, and the Public and Commercial Services union and leading tax expert Richard Murphy are estimating an annual 'tax gap' of £120bn/year, it is very clear that the money does exist in society to stop all the cuts.
I am proud to be standing as a Socialist Party member under the banner of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition for mayor of Liverpool. Alongside my campaign many leading trade unionists and socialists will be standing for the Greater London Assembly and council elections across the country. We are placing a marker to rally the young, the disaffected, the unemployed the workers and the pensioners to the fight back against the politicians, bankers and big businessmen who are attempting to dismantle all the hard fought for gains we have made post WW2.
George Galloway's recent success in Bradford West shows that Labour can no longer take the working class vote for granted when it is in battle with a strong left candidate.
I am prepared to publicly debate one on one with Joe Anderson on these issues- anytime, any place in Liverpool. Will he take the challenge or, like the Labour candidate in Bradford West, be too afraid to stand before the voters and justify his cutting of hundreds of millions from the city budget?
The Guardian Northerner is running pieces from all Liverpool's candidates during the election, and welcomes other related guest posts. You can read Labour's Joe Anderson here, the Lib Dem's Richard Kemp here and independent Liam Fogarty here. Others are still to come.