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Next month, Sheffield Council will join the slash and burn revolution. This revolution began with our leaders Dave and Nick, but even Ed is a cutmonger at heart. In their comfortable suits and padded lives, they haven't got a clue. You could call them ignorant, or products of their class, or a bit full of themselves, or misguided. I'll take a middle line and call them fascists. Now you might think that's a little harsh, what with the lack of gas chambers and stormtroopers beating people up on the corner, but fascists believe in the survival of the fittest; a chosen race that needs room to expand with a philosophy of 'might is right'. Our current leaders have cut help for the sick and disabled while giving tax breaks to the rich and powerful. They offer a life of servitude or unemployment, except for a chosen elite. They price poor families out of nice neighbourhoods, giving rich people room to expand. They are imposing an economic policy of shock and awe on a people who never voted for it; their might is right. As I said - fascists. There is a famous statement by Pastor Martin Niemoller about how the Nazis succeeded, about how they could be defeated. I'll paraphrase it here. "First they came for knowledge, and I didn't speak up because I didn't know any better. Then they came for the giving, and I didn't speak up because I had no time or money to give." The City Council is planning to turn libraries over to volunteers in the next four years. Thirty-three librarians will go this year, more the next. Museums will open on weekends and holidays only, and attractions like the National Coal Mining Museum might go entirely. Knowledge will be rationed. Dave and Nick want the Big Society to step in, but the cuts will hit the voluntary and community sector hardest. Funding and support will be cut across Sheffield, from park rangers to youth workers, from luncheon clubs to festivals. There will be no society left, let alone a big one. "Then they came for the sick and infirm, and I didn't speak up because I was not sick or infirm. Then they came for the children, and I didn't speak up because I had no child." Dave and Nick are scrapping or cutting every benefit received by people who are disabled. Just in case that doesn't do the job, the Council will also make the disabled pay more, take away access officers and cut care provision. Dave and Nick slashed funding for the care of children, so now the Council is looking at cutting 25 child social workers and decimating childcare in the city. As everyone knows, you can leave a child in an abusive mess of a home with no support or way out and they stay confident and happy. That or they torture your pets and jack your car. "Then they came for me, and by that time there was no-one left to speak up." On a plus side, the government is not about to start filling mass graves. They are just sacking thousands of public servants, from the police to citizen's advisers to care workers to nurses. Our neighbours will not cower as gloved hands hammer at our doors, yet people will be damaged and some will die - from the sick and infirm, to those under stress, to those who will suffer lives blighted by a lack of resources and a lack of hope. And it will affect you - it will affect everyone. Maybe Nick and Dave (and Ed) are just ignorant, or products of their class, or a bit full of themselves, or misguided. Whatever. The only way of stopping this de-civilisation of our society is to push back. If that burden feels too heavy, then remember you are not alone. Each bit of pressure - each letter, each penny donated, each step - we take together. They will not cut up our city if we take their own axe and swing it against them, against their charade of a Big Society. Against Cameron and Clegg, maybe even Ed. It's time they listened to the voices of those they say they serve, or be axed. Libraries & Museums Library Workers for a Better Future Rescue map of museum cuts Voluntary Sector NAVCA - How to Challenge Cuts Disabled Benefits Mental Health Action Group Sheffield The Broken of Britain Children's Services Sheffield University Occupation South Yorkshire Schools Against Cuts on Facebook You... Sheffield Anti-Cuts Alliance Coalition of Resistance UK Uncut )

Next article in issue 35

George Monbiot: Never one to shy away from a thorny issue

George Monbiot is an award-winning investigative journalist with a regular column in the Guardian, has published several books and a screenp…

George Monbiot is an award-winning investigative journalist with a regular column in the Guardian, has published several books and a screenp

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