The mainstream media hardly tell you this, but there is resistance to the endless austerity proposed by the government, and it is building. Although councils spout the mantra that privatisation is the ‘Only Game in Town’ people are coming together to fight back. This is seen from disabled people taking over Parliament to fight the cuts, to massive demonstrations against Trident, to cleaners in Bootle Tax Office striking because their employer wants to make them pay for the introduction of the new minimum wage. More examples of a renewed unity can be seen from the groundswell of support for Corbyn, from the price increase protest at Anfield to the success of the Blacklist Group, the exposure of undercover police and the doctor’s strikes. From the sustained battle for justice from the Hillsborough Campaign, to the homes saved by residents in Granby and the Welsh Streets.
Big companies such as Peel Holdings are rubbing their hands with glee as they become part of the secret agreement on devolution signed by Merseyside Council. Supposedly this deal is to bring us greater democracy, but as they’re spinning us this tale, the reality is we will have less say, as council control of schools is passed to the Secretary of State, opening up these vital resources to the pirateers.
While Anderson can find money for businessmen to get here from London half-an-hour faster by train, rail unions are fighting the loss of guards. And as more homeless people live and sleep on our streets,* councillors’ ‘cry crocodile tears’ over making cuts. The helplessness of our ‘so-called’ leaders in the face of Tory policy is challenged by local movements to defend health and social care, to save the Women’s Hospital, libraries and public services.
The next issue of Nerve will have as its main themes the environment, nature and conservation. The following issue (Nerve 28) will have music as its main theme. Any ideas for features to be included in either of these issues would be very welcome. Meanwhile, on the local arts and culture scene, despite large cuts in these sectors, locally and nationally, there are a series of arts and music festivals to look forward to this summer, including Africa Oye, Liverpool Irish Festival, Liverpool Arts Biennial, Brouhaha and the Liverpool Arab Arts Festival. These events, as well as other local theatre, visual arts and music events, etc., will be covered by the Nerve website: www.catalystmedia.org.uk
A disturbing aspect in Liverpool, as is the case elsewhere throughout Britain, is the increase of homeless people living and sleeping on the streets. This was addressed in an outstanding series of articles published by the Guardian earlier this year.
The paper asked Sarah MacFadyen, policy manager with the homeless charity Crisis, for the reasons behind this new surge of rough sleepers.
She said a main reason is people’s inability to pay their rent – the loss of a private tenancy is now the number one cause of homelessness, together with cuts to housing benefit and the implementation of benefits sanctions, as well as reduced availability of mental health support services ‘have left the safety net in tatters.’ Grim times indeed.
How can people help when they see people sleeping rough?
Call Streetlink on 0300 500 0914 which helps connect homeless people to outreach services in their area www.streetlink.org.uk
A programme of free artistic interventions and public forums took place during the VENT! Liverpool Air Quality Festival earlier this year to raise awareness of Liverpool’s poor air quality – ‘an invisible public health emergency’, as described by the organisers EngageLiverpool.
Let’s hope there are more similar events organised by them to raise awareness of the dire state of the air we breathe.