Published: 29th Sep 2011

With public services being increasingly marketised, a group of local authorities is looking to the co-op model to ensure the interests of local people are protected. Clare Goff reports At the inaugural Co-operative Councils conference in mid-September the biggest cheer of the day came when Rochdale Council leader Colin Lambert read out clause IV in response to earlier claims made by the leader of Manchester’s Council, Richard Leese, that co-operatives were not essentially socialist. ‘Co-operatives are the modern equivalent of clause IV,’ Lambert said, citing Sydney Webb’s 1917 statement that the Labour movement be based on the ‘common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange’. Taking place in the People’s History Museum in Manchester, with its backdrop of banners chronicling the long struggles for union recognition and for people’s rights, the conference at times reignited the spirit of struggle and solidarity that runs through the history of the … (To read the full article, subscribe below)