Bristol Green Party Logo

Monday, 11th Sep 2017

Councillor Cleo Lake speaks at Saturday's march against austerity

Below is the full transcript of Green Councillor for Cotham Cleo Lake's barnstorming speech at Saturday's anti-austerity March.

The speech is also available to watch online on BGP's Facebook.

___

We gather here today in our city of Bristol a city always at the forefront of trade and industry and
currently dubbed the best city in the uk to live in. Figures suggest that the various taxes and
contributions that Bristol makes into the national purse does not equal anything like the amount of money that we receive in return. We have had soundings of retaining our business rates but that has been muted of late. It is hard to see this attack of austerity as anything other than an attack on the poorest in our society going hand in hand as it does with welfare reform. As our party co leader Caroline Lucas said back in 2014, “It wasn't the poor who caused the economic crisis. It wasn't people on Jobseeker's Allowance who brought down the banks. It wasn't people with disabilities who wasted billions speculating on risky financial markets. So that's why we're here to say: stop punishing the poor."

The 2008 financial crisis led the UK government to bail out British banks at an estimated cost of
£141bn. However this is not unprecedented this state intervention was undertaken to prevent a
collapse of the British banking system in many ways similar to the only other major government
bailout in British history which occurred in the 1830s when the British tax payer without choice paid millions in compensation to the slave owners following abolition and as we all know the enslaved who were freed got nothing.

It disturbs me that we are the one of the richest countries in the world yet we are facing a situation that because of reckless mismanagement, greed and quite simply callous disregard, essential services are being reduced to nothing and other givens such as parks and libraries will likely close unless volunteers fill the void. It's almost surreal. Austerity isn't a necessity it's a choice. Where is the tax Justice? Where is the right to life for us as citizens?

It's a bleak picture which can only go in one of a few directions.

The Green Party is for the common good and believe me we are pushing ahead to make people
know that we stand for them and that they need to stand with us. We will be out with new plans
and efforts under the banner of Grass Roots Greens spearheaded by myself because the truth is
whilst we must demand what we are owed, we can no longer rely on any of these so called leaders propping up as they do the final dirty dregs of neo colonialism and self centered extortion.

The government will be continuing to cut money to Bristol and other core cities forcing them to be more commercial and enterprising which could easily mean that all public buildings will be sold that's your library your park your community Centre, frontline services will collapse, back room departments will collapse, people will leave work on long term sick and so on.

We are being told to do more with less with an unprecedented expectation on volunteers. Well that's all very well coming from those earning 30, 40, 50, 100, 200 grand a year who perhaps
can afford to give some hours or who simply aren't having to carry the stress of providing housing and food with no despots able income or on a zero hours contracts, but me personally I'm tired of the idea doing more for nothing. We are active citizens that's why we are here today's it's one thing being a doer but another paying to be a doer and that's what's on the table if Westminster keeps cutting and if council tax continues to rise without delivering anything for the money.

Pay more get less seems to be the formula.

I'm not down for their big society I'm all in for creating an alternative one. Where human beings are no longer commodities, where we don't have gated communities gentrifying areas, where we support ourselves and cut out the middle men as Grenfell has shown when push comes to shove poor people are pretty much on their on own anyway. A society that values workers with respect, one that pays public service workers adequately in recognition of the reality that society would not function without them, one that does not pay life changing bonuses to bankers, one that doesn't endorse tax avoidance by corporations and the super rich, one that doesn't sell arms and fuels conflict and creates refugees. We must plot our moves to another way. We must take climate change seriously and we must invest in the Green economy and green jobs - we cannot support growth for growth sake without an eye on the future impacts of various industries. Yes we need jobs and opportunities but we must also ask why we need certain jobs what purpose do they serve and this will become more necessary when we move to automation and many roles will become redundant and a universal basic income will have to be a reality.

This anti austerity agenda must unite all of us

Everyone should be asking the questions of where our money is going and we need more say in where it is spent instead of having no choice on their dictated priorities such as million pound upgrades to Buckingham Palace renewing Trident or DUP pay offs for example. Bristol gives way more than it gets and it's time to demand our receipt. It is also very hard to watch local authorities be the puppets in executing these cuts, bowing down and driving through this deadly agenda. This is a good day today but it's months too late as Greens we have lobbied for more action and until today we have to say to Labour who voted through these cuts on the fear of Westminster:

That in terms to standing up and defending us the people 'We ain't seen nothing yet'. In fact from Brixton to Bristol within your Labour led cities and boroughs all we see is raging inequalities and sell offs. Birmingham another Labour led core city has recently voted through a raft of redundancies to front line workers causing outrage and a strike on the ground by the refuse collectors.

Good luck with the green paper - sadly I have seen how playing by their rules has got us precisely nowhere. It is them and US. But I am now becoming clearer on the US and the THEM. In these desperate last days of neo colonialism they have succeeded in driving a huge wedge amongst the people. Reports of the rise of racism and arson in areas like Hartcliffe and Southmead - I ask that we reflect and remember our collective histories particularly as marginalized and oppressed people of all shades of skin colour. Whilst the press gang will no longer be out tonight to hit you over the head in the pub and drag you onto slave ships to administer the dirty work and whilst the whip and shackle are no longer in the physical, most of us remain subdued and dupped still being co opted on the grand plantation of capitalism and debt . So much chat about Colston and as a founder member of the campaign group 'Countering Colston' let me tell you this that until the young white citizens in areas like Hartcliffe and Southmead call for the statue to fall, then removing it means less to me because until a huge section of people wake up and smell the myths we cannot actually move on.

We are living in an emperors new clothes situation where the sell is that everything is important apart from each other and the planet. The planet being the ultimate elephant in the room  because without her we are no more. Climate change is real and it isn't any of us to blame, sure we can adjust our lifestyles here and there but no, capitalism is to blame, the war on want is to blame, the pillaging of land for capital gains is to blame, the over riding dismissal and continual genocide of First Nation people is to blame, the love of money above all else is to blame. We need a values overhaul and we need it fast.

Now is the time to choose our own clothes and wear them.
End austerity or else.
Stop the cuts or else.
Social justice now or else.

And I predict that the all else will have to be boycotts strikes and a return of the occupy movement.

I am a proud Bristolian honored by standing here today to say these words which you can take or leave. History is made by the brave and by the bold and the history that we want to write is in our hands.

Green Party Cabinet Member represents Bristol at COP23 climate conference

Green Party Cabinet Member represents Bristol at COP23 climate conference

Councillor Fi Hance today attended the annual COP23 climate conference in Bonn and spoke on behalf of Bristol. As Cabinet member for Energy, Cllr Hance was there to represent Bristol at the Climate event and was asked what action the city is taking on climate change.

Greens call on Council to support Robin Hood Tax to fund public services

Greens call on Council to support ‘Robin Hood Tax’ to fund public services

On the same week that Bristol hosts its annual Festival of Economics, Green Councillors in Bristol have put forward a motion for Tuesday’s Full Council supporting a Financial Transactions Tax, also known as a ‘Robin Hood Tax’ or ‘Tobin Tax’.

Greens challenge Mayor to protect Council Tax support until 2020  administration wont commit

Greens challenge Mayor to protect Council Tax support until 2020 -- administration won’t commit

At Cabinet today Green Councillors challenged the Labour administration to commit to protecting the Council Tax support scheme for the remainder of the Mayor’s term to 2020.

Council must call in external auditor to shed light on CEOs departure

Council must call in external auditor to shed light on CEO’s departure

In an unprecedented step, Bristol’s three opposition parties have united in calling on the Council’s External Auditor to step in and investigate the circumstances surrounding the controversial departure of the former Chief Executive, Anna Klonowski.

Bristols Green MEP responds to ParadisePapers leak

Bristol's Green MEP responds to #ParadisePapers leak

Bristol's Green MEP, Molly Scott Cato, who is also a member of the European Parliament’s Panama Papers committee, comments on the latest big tax leak, the Paradise Papers saying: "These leaks offer another disturbing glimpse into the murky world of offshore finance, used by wealthy individuals and big business for tax evasion and tax avoidance".

Investigate Bristol links to alleged illegal spending by LeaveEU campaign says MEP

Investigate Bristol links to alleged illegal spending by Leave.EU campaign says MEP

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset should investigate alleged illegal spending in the lead up to the 2016 EU referendum, claims Molly Scott Cato, Bristol's Green MEP.

Going green Bristol City Council smashes carbon targets

Going green: Bristol City Council smashes carbon targets

Green Councillor and Bristol City Cabinet member responsible for energy policy, Fi Hance, has today welcomed the news that Bristol City Council is ahead of its targets for reducing its carbon emissions.

Opinion Why we need an Ad Free Bristol

Opinion: Why we need an 'Ad Free Bristol'

Writing in Bristol 24/7, Cllr Stephen Clarke explains why he thinks we need an 'Ad Free Bristol' arguing he "prefers a visual environment which reflects the unique identity of our city, the values of local communities, and the local economy".

Bristols MEP demands to see official findings of investigation into Brexit Leave campaign

Bristol's MEP demands to see official findings of investigation into Brexit Leave campaign

Bristol's Green MEP, Molly Scott Cato, is demanding the Electoral Commission reveal the extent to which they have investigated alleged illegal spending intended to influence the 2016 EU referendum result. She has written to the Commission asking if their enquiries are now complete and, if so, asking it to publish the findings.

Green MEP to Theresa May support an EUwide suspension of arms exports to Saudi Arabia

Green MEP to Theresa May "support an EU-wide suspension of arms exports to Saudi Arabia"

Following calls from leaders of four political groups in the European Parliament urging the EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, for an EU-wide ban of arms sales to Saudi Arabia, Green parliamentarians including Bristol's Green MEP Molly Scott Cato have written to the UK Prime Minister urging her to “immediately suspend all arms exports to Saudi Arabia until the human rights of the people of Yemen can be fully guaranteed”.

Green MEP defends Bristols universities against challenge to academic freedom

Green MEP defends Bristol's universities against ‘challenge to academic freedom’

Molly Scott Cato MEP, has made clear she will stand by universities in Bristol that refuse to respond to the request made by Conservative MP Chris Heaton-Harris, asking them for details of names of those ‘teaching European Affairs, with particular reference to Brexit’. The letter also asks for ‘the syllabus and links to the online lectures which relate to this area’.

Green councillor presses Mayor over continued payout secrecy

Green councillor presses Mayor over continued payout secrecy

Green Councillor Paula O’Rourke has twice pressed the Mayor to establish the full truth behind the payment made to departed CEO Anna Klonowski.

Green Councillor asks Mayor to justify payment to former Chief Exec

Green Councillor asks Mayor to justify payment to former Chief Exec

Councillor Paula O'Rourke, Green Party Councillor for Clifton and member of the Council's HR Committee, has contacted the Mayor to raise concerns and request more information over a payment made to the former Chief Executive Anna Klonowski following her resignation.

Greens successfully lobby for transparent planning

Greens successfully lobby for transparent planning

After successful lobbying by Green councillors, Bristol City Council is to make its planning process more transparent.

Video Caroline Lucas on Mayor Marvin Rees uturn on Council Tax Reduction Scheme

Video: Caroline Lucas on Mayor Marvin Rees u-turn on Council Tax Reduction Scheme

In a short video Caroline Lucas MP, responds to the news that the Mayor will not cut the Council Tax Reduction Scheme in Bristol, for this year. Caroline she says she is "delighted" the Mayor backed down on his plans but it "beggars belief that a Labour administration was even contemplating hitting the poorest families hardest".

Greens welcome Mayors uturn on council tax scheme

Greens welcome Mayor's u-turn on council tax scheme

Greens welcome Mayor's u-turn on council tax scheme

Green MEP challenges Bristol  South West MPs back a ban on Nuclear Weapons

Green MEP challenges Bristol & South West MPs; "back a ban on Nuclear Weapons"

Bristol's Green MEP, Molly Scott Cato, has today thrown down a challenge to the region’s sitting MPs to back a ban on Nuclear Weapons. The challenge comes after none of the regions MPs backed an Early Day Motion (EDM) tabled by Green Party Co-Leader, Caroline Lucas MP [1].

We must Stop Brexit says Bristols Green MEP

We must "Stop Brexit" says Bristol's Green MEP

Molly Scott Cato, Bristol's Green MEP and Green Party speaker on Brexit, has reaffirmed a commitment to a ratification referendum at the Party’s conference in Harrogate and has told members it is the best way to reverse the decision to leave the EU.

New figures show unsafe and illegal air pollution getting worse in Bristol

New figures show unsafe and illegal air pollution “getting worse” in Bristol

New official government figures submitted to the European Commission, show that the government has failed to make any significant progress in tackling air pollution since a court ordered it to 18 months ago.

Council refusing to explain legal basis for its council tax consultation

Council refusing to explain legal basis for its council tax consultation

Bristol’s Green councillors today called on the council to provide evidence to support its decision to continue with a controversial consultation on cuts to council tax support.

Green Cllr raises concerns over Council and Home Office targeting of migrants

Green Cllr raises concerns over Council and Home Office targeting of migrants

Green Councillor Cleo Lake has raised concerns at new funding received by Bristol City Council which she fears could be used to further marginalise vulnerable and homeless migrants, betraying Bristol’s status as a ‘Sanctuary City’.

Bristols Green MEP condemns deplorable violence against LGBT community

Bristol's Green MEP condemns ‘deplorable’ violence against LGBT community

Bristol's Green MEP condemns ‘deplorable’ violence against LGBT community in Azerbaijan

Government running scared of its own Brexit impact studies

Government running scared of its own Brexit impact studies

Molly Scott Cato, Bristol's Green MEP, who has been challenging ministers to release secret government studies into the impacts of Brexit, has accused the government of running scared of its own findings.

Tell the Council to protect citys poorest say Greens

Tell the Council to protect city's poorest, say Greens

Tell the Council to protect city's poorest, say Greens

Election Candidates for Bristol West

Election Candidates for Bristol West

We're getting prepared for future elections - Local and National, starting with selecting candidates for Bristol West

Wind power is cheaper than nuclear

Wind power is cheaper than nuclear

MEP challenges South West MPs to unite against Hinkley and embrace a new ‘Green Industrial Revolution’

Councillor Cleo Lake speaks at Saturdays march against austerity

Councillor Cleo Lake speaks at Saturday's march against austerity

"End austerity now, or else. Stop the cuts now, or else. Social justice now, or else. And I predict that the ‘all else’ will be boycotts, strikes, and a return to the Occupy movement."

Decision on Broadmead redevelopment delayed following opposition from Green councillors

Decision on Broadmead redevelopment delayed following opposition from Green councillors

After local campaigners and Green Party councillors successfully highlighted the air pollution and traffic impacts of the proposed development plan, a City Hall planning committee rejected the proposed car park and its access through Brunswick Square.

Join us in protest against austerity an open letter to the People of Bristol

Join us in protest against austerity: an open letter to the People of Bristol

On Saturday 9th September, Green party members will be joining Bristolians from many different organisations and none, to stand up for our city and call for an end to austerity.

Council to go ahead with controversial Council Tax consultation

Council to go ahead with controversial Council Tax consultation

Almost three weeks after Bristol Green Councillors raised the possibility of the Council’s consultation on cuts to the council tax reduction scheme potentially being illegal, the Council has responded.

We use cookies on our website to improve your experience, by using our website you accept the use of these cookies. Read More Close