What a day, Up to half a million people marching through the capital on a sunny spring day. Men. women and children of all classes, races and backgrounds marching against the cuts but more importantly FOR an alternative.
The day went brilliantly with a carnival atmosphere and far more people than were anticipated either by the unions or the Police.
The numbers as ever are disputed as to exactly how many were marching. It was initially reported 100,000 were marching, this based on TUC estimated numbers who would turn up. This went up to around 250,000 by 2pm. In the evening the BBC reported half a million marching through London, but by the late night news this had returned to the 250,000 + figure and the Police “would not comment”.
So why were they marching?? The following videos give just a brief window on how the cuts will affect our society.
The news coverage was interesting to see. The Miliband speech was shown for some of the time by the BBC on a split screen showing a balaclava clad group who had split from the main demonstration intent on causing trouble. Not quite what Mr Miliband would have liked!
The very sad but inevitable consequence of the media coverage was the over emphasis on the break away group some of whom (in their tens) caused trouble trying to commit violence.
I noticed on Twitter the usual suspects pouncing on the sight of people in balaclava’s and trying to smear the entire demonstration, notably the fairly despicable Tim Montgomerie. Last week trying to gain political capital out of the Libyan conflict and today trying to discredit half a million peaceful and concerned protesters fighting for their own communities.
Nevertheless, the majority of the coverage was on the good natured aspect of the demonstration.
The right wing and coalition commentators in the media were trying to portray this as a fringe extreme movement of unions. The stereotypical way in which the coalition sees our society is quite bizare. Unions who are democratic organisations, representing ordinary (hard working) individuals who would be classed as the ever talked about hard working families in political speak.
Of course far fewer of them will be “hard working”, when they have been made unemployed. Many of course were anything but union members. Whole families of people from students to pensioners marched to show their discontent with the status quo of politics and the lack of fairness in our society.
The whole of our “Big” society is being attacked by the short term interests of a few while being cloaked in the faltering BIG SOCIETY by FLASHMAN DAVE.
Ed Miliband finally decided to speak at the demonstration. Sadly, he does not represent the “alternative”. As yet the Labour party does not have a coherent alternative to the failures of the past, clinging on to the old economic orthodoxy that got us into this mess.
The real message from today’s overwhelming showing of support for an alternative is that any government who simply dismisses the concerns of the public will be dealt a dramatic blow at the ballot box.
This is one alternative put forward:
The Blair administration did not realise what happens if you ignore the masses. The 1 million that turned out against the Iraq war were resoundingly ignored not by one party but by Parliament. The coalition risk major political fallout if they ignore another mass show of discontent with a path taken by the government.
Labour lost 4 million votes on the back of the disaster that was Iraq. This coalition cannot afford to lose even half that.
To ignore the masses would be folly but I believe that is exactly what the coalition will do. They have chosen a course, both LibDems and Conservatives, together the CONDEMS will pursue an agenda with the overriding objective to get to the next general election in tact and hope for an economic recovery. At the expense of the many while the few get away with tax avoidance, squireling away money to UK encouraged tax havens and Banks carry on business as usual.
I heard a Tory commentator today stating that this is an unusual situation and they have “no choice” but to enact the cuts as described so that in future we do not have to cut public services again in the future. The strange thing is that every time the conservative party get into power they always do the same thing.
In the early 80′s they blamed Labour, in the 1990′s they did it again while still talking about the “winter of discontent”!, which is why they so resoundingly wiped out at bthe election in 1997. They couldn’t blame Labour that time.
Now they are doing it again. The agenda is always the same, mass privatisations and public service cuts while demonising sectors of society. Is this a trend or am I just believing this evil deficit denying lefty rhetoric??
The course is set and it is one we have seen many times before over the past 30 years. Lets hope that communities that exist today still do so after the next 4 years, unlike in the 1980′s.