People are calling on Corbyn to intervene in a crisis that’s even seen pensioners arrested

Jeremy Corbyn Libraries
Support us and go ad-free

Thousands of people are calling on Jeremy Corybn to intervene in a crisis; one where police have arrested dozens of people, including pensioners. But campaigners may be in for a long wait. Because it’s a Labour council that people are growing increasingly angry at.

Our green and pleasant land?

As The Canary previously reported, Sheffield Tree Action Groups (STAG) is campaigning against the felling of trees around Sheffield. The city’s Labour-led council is undertaking a 25-year, £2bn highway maintenance programme which includes the felling of around 6,000 trees.

In 2012, the council gave outsourcing company Amey the contract for street maintenance; and therefore tree felling. But STAG claims that Amey has ignored 30 years of agreements on street trees. The council based the agreements on consultations with local communities. But STAG says:

Amey have a clear profit motive – if they blitz the city’s trees in the first five years of their 25-year contract, they can spend the next 20 years with much lower maintenance costs.

Subverting democracy, Labour-style

Since 2014, residents have been protesting about the planned felling of trees. STAG claims that the council has felled 3,800 trees so far, with more to follow. The group wants the council to stop felling trees until a proper consultation has taken place. But after a series of high-profile demonstrations, one which saw two pensioners arrested and 12 police officers present to protect the council’s work, the Labour-led authority took protesters to the High Court.

On 15 August, the judge in the case ordered that Green Party councillor Alison Teal and two campaigners, Calvin Payne and David Dillner, are barred from taking “unlawful direct action or from encouraging others to take direct action” against the tree felling.

After the ruling, the council said that anyone who tried to protest “inside a safety zone” around the tree felling area would be in contempt of court and face the risk of a fine or imprisonment.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

Better call Corbyn

So campaigners have launched a petition. It is calling on Corbyn to “mediate” the situation, saying:

Mr Corbyn is widely seen, even by his detractors, as a person of integrity and political principle. He is a committed parliamentarian whilst also a supporter of active citizenship. With these qualities he might command the respect of both parties in this dispute.

So far, the petition has got nearly 4,000 signatures. But, as yet, Corbyn hasn’t responded.

Pig-headed

In a statement, Bryan Lodge (the council’s cabinet member for the environment) said:

For more than a year we have worked tirelessly with Amey and the local community to find the right solution for Rustlings Road. [The Council has] written to every home, brought in a new survey process for the entire city and set up an independent tree panel. We have made a final decision to increase the number of trees on Rustlings Road by almost 30%. [The council] need to replace eight out of the 30 existing trees, but we will plant 17, which means the road is gaining an extra nine trees.

The situation in Sheffield appears symptomatic of the wider situation among Labour-led local authorities, generally. Many supposedly “democratic socialist” councils are displaying distinctly un-Corbyn-like behaviour – from Birmingham with its treatment of bin workers, to Durham and the ongoing dispute with teaching assistants. And while campaigners would welcome Corbyn’s intervention in Sheffield, the Labour leader needs to address a fundamental problem: that so many of his councils are behaving in a manner more associated with the Tories.

Get Involved!

– Follow STAG on Facebook and sign the petition.

Featured image via YouTube

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed