Greenwich cuts tonight: It’s all about the priorities

In just over an hour, Greenwich’s councillors will meet and rubber-stamp millions of pounds in cuts to local services, probably the steepest package of cuts since the borough was formed in the mid-1960s.

The only thing that’s clear is that the cuts will be passed – with only two parties on the council, and no public shows of dissent from within the ruling Labour group tolerated (no rebels like these in Hackney) it’s likely to go through amid an unedifying display of finger-pointing and buck-passing.

The great uncertainty is what will happen outside the town hall and in the public gallery – scenes like Monday’s in Camden, where demonstrators blocked the Euston Road for more than an hour, aren’t likely. But there’s a risk proceedings may be interrupted by protests, and could end in the decision being made behind closed doors.

The council’s leadership has shown one set of its priorities, judging by the copy of its weekly newspaper I found flying around the windswept streets of Charlton just now. Even as zero hour approaches, news of the cuts is still being spun as a freeze in council tax.

Across Charlton, outside Thorntree primary school, pupils have made posters pleading for the future of Maryon Wilson animal park, due to lose funding under the cuts. Some cheeky scamps have pointed out the sums spent on last year’s mayoral inauguration bash are nearly enough to save the park. Kids today, eh? They’ll never get anywhere in local politics with disrespect like that.

I’ll be tweeting from the town hall – @darryl1974 – if you want to find out what’s going on. Or if we get thrown out…

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