More revealing correspondence with Councillor John Webster

Councillor John Webster (LibDem), Cheltenham Borough Council`s Cabinet Member for Finance, has deigned to respond to one of our number. As usual he manages to be both incoherent and incorrect. Look out for this bit, where he includes his own party in his criticism:

“None of the three main party’s (sic) have policies that address the reality of the situation we are in”

Despite his misgivings, when Webster recently announced that he will be retiring from politics next year, he made it clear that he will still be supporting the LibDems!:

“I will be involved in choosing my successor who will have a hard fight on their hands in 2012. St Marks is by no means a safe ward given the way that many voters have been alienated by the coalition. I will not give support to any candidate that I don’t believe will be up to it.”

We`ve also noticed that he seems to have had the word “tax” surgically removed from his vocabulary.

Dear John,

I am writing with regards to the responses you have provided to Andrew and Joe from Cheltenham Against Cuts.

Both Andrew and Joe have articulated to you well researched and reasoned arguments to demonstrate that the ‘Slash and Burn’ rhetoric which is being promoted by the Coalition is both economically wrong and morally unacceptable. Yet you belittle their efforts! Why?

Is it because you have allowed yourself to succumb to the traditional Tory mentality? That those privileged enough to buy themselves the best in life are our masters, whilst the silent majority are mere servants and as such we should effectively keep our mouths shut and not interfere in issues which we ‘apparently’ know nothing about.

Or is it simply the case that you are trying to tow the Party line?

To quote one of your previous responses, you have stated:

“Joe – you live in la la land. If you want to change the rules of the market I’m with you – where’s your army? You substitute politics with moralism.”

To confirm I am part of the ‘army’ you refer to, but the real question here is are you? If so can I assume that you will be joining us in London on 26th March for the demonstration organised by the TUC?

Personally I am strongly of the opinion that the best way to challenge the Coalition, would be on a collective basis. I believe that an old fashioned demonstration of working class solidarity such as a General Strike would be the best way of doing this. It would also help demonstrate to those ‘sitting on the fence’ that there maybe an ‘army’ after all. If you could confirm whether or not you would support such an action then that would great.




I don’t know you or what you represent and I won’t be supporting the demonstration. The reality is that we have an economic crisis caused by finance capitalism and locally we have to deal with that. I’m irritated by endless moralising because it becomes an exscuse to avoid doing what needs to be done. We simply live in different worlds. Armies need plans and alternatives. The onmly organisation I’ve heard with barely tenable alternaitves are the Greens.

Labour is actually part of the problem.

John Webster

Dear John

Apologies for the delay in my reply.

You have made reference to fact that armies need alternatives. I take it that you have not been keeping yourself updated with the alternatives that are being suggested by those who oppose the cuts such as the Trade Union Movement and UK Uncut to name but a few? So how about the following:

Make the bankers pay for their own crisis

Impose a Tobin (Robin Hood) Tax on financial transactions

Scrap Trident

Close Tax loopholes which are currently being exploited by the likes of Philip Green

Invest in green technology such as windfarms etc.

In turn this would create new jobs and assist in alleviating our dependence on fossil fuels. In addition there is a strong argument to suggest that rather than adding hundreds of thousands of public sector workers to the dole queue (although this number may yet prove to be higher), we would be better placed to leave them in employment. Particularly as the Private Sector has not delivered in the way that Cameron, Osborne and Co promised it would. By making such savage cuts ultimately this could make the whole situation worse as all the while people are employed they are contributing to the treasury via the taxes they pay and the economy at a local level via their disposable income. If they are unemployed then they will be reliant on the state, which could have the reverse effect to what I have previously highlighted.

To reinforce my argument I have pasted a link below from Richard Murphy, which you might like to read:

Additionally there is strong supporting evidence to indicate that this works. For example at the end of the Second World War the national debt as a percentage of GDP was significantly higher than it is now and we were still able to found the NHS and welfare state and create full employment. Doing so actually assisted in paying off the debt.

Of course doing the above would ultimately mean that we need to apply a sense of moral purpose to the way in which we conduct ourselves, which judging from your previous message you seem reluctant to do.

Not that I am actually suprised as according to your party’s 2010 manifesto, which I have pasted below your four main priorities entitled ‘4 Steps to a Fairer Britain were as follows:

1.) fair taxes that put money back in your pocket

Part of this pledge was that the Lib Dems were proposing to close loopholes that unfairly benefit the wealthy and polluters. It’s nice to see you have delivered on that one. Although in theory this does sit nicely alongside the proposals I have highlighted above.

2.) a fair future creating jobs by making Britain greener

Like point 1 this sits nicely alongside the above proposals.

3.) a fair chance for every child

A nice idea, but in reality this would now prove increasing difficult to do, seeing as you party along with your peers in the Coalition have abolished the EMA and replaced it with a ‘lesser’ alternative. I noticed that Sarah Tether was trying her hardest to justify this new system last night on Question Time. That’s quite bizarre really, as I am sure that I can recall numerous occasions prior to the 2010 Election where she has appeared on the very same program and explained that the Lib Dems would abolish Tuiton Fees if they were elected. I’m sure I can find footage of this on the BBC website if required to do so.

My personal favourite though is this one.

4.) a fair deal by cleaning up politics

Best of luck with this one John. It will prove a significant challenge for your party seeing as they have lowered themselves to the status of ‘Moral Degenerates’ in exchange for a ‘sniff’ of power.

And you say that Labour are actually part of the problem. That may well be the case, but I very much doubt that the solution are the Lib Dems.

Ultimately the solution to all of this, is elected MP’s who act in the interests of the millions rather than the millionaires!



I attach an article on public finances. Could I also suggest you read a bit of Lenin?

It is true that mass democratic action can change policies. The key issue is will the policies work.

None of the three main party’s have policies that address the reality of the situation we are in. They all rely on notions of growth that predicate themselves on unrestrained capitalism and the social relations that are based on this – particularly Ed Balls, who was an advocate of ‘light touch’ regulation in the City when he advised Brown.

John Webster


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