Sunday, 27 March 2011

March for the Alternative today

So today over 250,000 marched against the budget and related plans of the coalition government.

Brendan Barber, the general secretary of the TUC on LeftFootForward explains why “The March for the Alternative has come at just the right time”:
“On Wednesday we had what was proclaimed as a budget for growth which the chancellor’s own advisers in the Office for Budget Responsibility promptly said was no such thing, and most people seem to have already forgotten. It is now much harder to dismiss the warnings we made last year that these deep cuts will harm the economy by hitting consumer and business confidence.

Even the boss of Sainsbury’s is blaming poor results on what the Daily Mail calls “uncertain employment prospects and government spending cuts.

Next week, as the financial year starts, the cuts will really start to bite. Local councils and community groups will start closing services and sacking staff in their thousands.

The NHS reforms seem to run into more difficulties every week as first the Lib Dems and even Conservative backbenchers get increasingly assertive in their opposition.

The government is losing the argument. Big majorities now say the cuts are unfair and that they are damaging the economy.......”

There are examples here of how cuts are affecting people:

Despite this a challenge remains - even if the depth of cuts is accepted (ie. it’s not just the ‘undeserving poor’/‘scroungers’ being affected), for some people it is still a necessary evil which the shining knight Tories are, with regret, having to perform. For these people, the need for the proposed cuts is down to Labour mismanagement (see almost any edition of the Daily Mail). Each further example of pain is seen (and sometimes relished almost) as further proof of what a hard job the Tories have. Labour are going to have to clarify their message around these areas and articulate the credible other choices for reducing the deficit. This difficult for any opposition party, especially if you are still regrouping and having policy reviews.

street theatre on the march
I’ve not seen much on the local blogs - there’s Transpontine’s post on the SE London contingent on the march (with great photographs) and e-shootershill on the local effect of cuts. Jenny Jones at The Londonist explains why she was marching today. Jenny Jones is a member of the London Assembly and was recently nominated as the Green candidate for London Mayor.

Apart from the political issues involved, the violence by a small minority dominated the media today at the expense of more good-natured scenes - all that will be debated ad naseum no doubt, I've run out of steam now. As I write, the police are still dealing with about 200-300 protesters, some out to cause trouble, in Trafalgar Square in central London - I don't envy individual police for having to deal with these situations.

I leave you with a collage of tweets from the day:

TheMichaelMoran RT @mashythetictac: GUARDIAN: "Protesters in good spirits as hundreds of thousands march in London"...DAILY MAIL: "ANARCHISTS THREATEN TO UNLEASH HELL" #march26

Just after 3pm, according to @SteveCurran, “Hyde Park. Like a massive village fete. Brass bands, pensioners &Tony Robinson.”

GuardianEdu GuardianEducation
Nurses, lawyers, students, teachers: the faces of the anti-cuts protest

sueluxton Sue Luxton
Finally marched into Hyde Park at 4.45pm - lots still behind us. Definitely the biggest demo I've been on since the big anti-war one.

jon_trickett jon trickett
by ns_mehdihasan
ActIons by 150 gets wall to wall BBC coverage. Half million on demo now being ignored.Balanced Editorial Priorities?

riprap007 Nicholas Ripley
RT @sturdyAlex: #BBC coverage of the demonstration is disgraceful. 10 minutes of bonfires followed by 2 minutes on the huge #march26.

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