26 Mar 2011

Spending cuts demo: Ed Miliband’s big gamble

I’m at Hyde Park where all is calm (if a bit wet).  I was standing in front of Ed Miliband as he spoke and you can see from this pic I took the banners he was looking out on: a row of NO CUTS banners, one “Capitalism Kills” and he was heckled by shouts of “sell-out” and other similar thoughts throughout his speech.

But it was a speech generally given a very warm reception. Not surprising when you consider that he was comparing today’s event with Civil Rights’ marchers in the American South and the anti-Apartheid marches of the past. There was no challenge to the deficit denial tendency, this was the we’re all wonderful and we will prevail type of speech you tend to end up giving if you accept an invitation to an event like this.

Elsewhere I hear that some unofficial protestors are charging into high street shops to make their point about corporate tax avoidance. The danger for Ed Miliband today is that whatever unfurls in unofficial and violent action becomes the story and he is portrayed by media that never liked him anyway as a rabble-rouser.

The prize for Ed Miliband is that anger against cuts multiplies in the years ahead and he gets the dividend of being seen as the man who led and connected with those from the start.

But this is the sort of event David Miliband would not have attended and that Tony Blair would have driven a long way to avoid.

Len McCluskey, the general secretary of Unite,  has told me he thinks turn-out is half a million.

In his speech (Ed M had left the Park, wisely) Len McCluskey repeated his call for the Met to “keep your sleazy hands off our kids” and said Labour MPs should come to “the barricades” and the country needed “coordinated industrial strike action” and more “direct action”.

Tweets by @garygibbonblog

11 reader comments

  1. Just Polis says:

    No one is denying the deficit – but what mainstream media (including C4, sadly) obscures is the extent to which deficits are engineered. The political ‘wisdom’ since 1979 is that tax cuts (individual and corporate) are an unquestionable good, a position that endorses the shift of wealth from the poor to the rich and prioritizes the enrichment of the few over humane social provision for everyone. Tax cuts create deficits, so this is not a surprise, nor was it unforeseeable. What is surprising is that trade unions, public sector workers, and electors concerned for our social fabric failed either to force the Labour Party to change direction or after 1997 to leave it and build an alternative party of labour and social representation — literally a new labour party, like the Left Party in Germany. I suspect this will prove to have been a catastrophic mistake, because at the end of the day Miliband and Balls are also going to impose cuts in defense of corporate profits and the wealth of a minority. Its not enough to say there is an alternative — you actually have to put one in place.

  2. vigilanteteen says:

    2 views on todays protesters:

    view 1: these people are fighting for their jobs and local services, there not to blame here so why are they the ones to feel the pain? these cuts can’t be justified and good on these brave people for making their voices heard.

    view 2: load of self serving public sector workers who want their jobs and pay safe at the expense of future generations who will be smothered with debt. the country couldn’t afford most of these jobs when the last government brought them in on borrowed cash and we certainly can’t afford them now. tough times equals tough measures, you want a decent job then get inventing and innovating and prove your worth.

    which do you agree with???

  3. Sacco says:

    Its interesting how the media reports protests in Uk compared with Egypt, libya etc. are they on the side of protests for human justice or not? The Egyptian/Libian/Yemeni etc state & their media called the protesters ‘criminals’, ‘trouble makers’ ‘looters’ etc. Is it different in the UK?
    I guess these protesters are the same everywhere – people who are very angry about being treated like s**t by their leaders.

  4. Barbara Robertson says:

    On days like this I cannot help but think of Japan and all that they have to contend with at this time.

    No doubt my concerns will surface at a later date,but I sent a donation to the earthquake appeal on this day.

  5. rouser says:

    yesterday,s cuts demo was hi jacked by about a
    3 hundred group of anarchists. i saw on both 24
    hr news channels just as ed milliband was making
    his speach.in hyde park.both channels broke into twin screens showing the rioters and the speach
    simultaineously,to link the shadow prime miister
    with the anarchists,is guilt by false association
    and was bad media practise

  6. Al says:

    What is the alternative to recouping the unbridled expenditures of the last government? The demonstrators and Ed Milliband do not say. I would have thought that at least the the leader of the opposition would have had a plan to offer.

  7. Al says:

    Of course the protesters have a right to protest but they do not suggest how to recoupe the unbridled expenditures of the last government, The demonstrators and Ed Milliband do not have an answer. I would have thought that at least the the leader of the opposition would have had a plan to offer.

  8. Peter Horne says:

    The TUC should have made their apologies before the march rather than the insincere remarks made today. Are they so naive to think that the march would have been peaceful. Their suggestions that the Police are somehow to blame and should have know beforehand applies to the TUC also.

  9. Saltaire Sam says:

    I find it interesting how the government accuses any of us of debt denial who think that the cuts could at least be smaller if we tackled tax avoidance, taxed unearned income from land, got rid of nuclear weapons and stopped trying to police the world as though we owned it.

    Yet in their own way they are part of an even bigger denial – denying that it was banks and speculators who caused the problem, two groups who are now immune from suffering its effects.

    Nothing will change in our society until we address the fact that the capitalist system that always favours the few over the many, has got completely out of control. Take just one example: the massive increase in the gap between the top earners and the people who work for them.

    Soon the government will be criticising unions who call strikes in protest. But why is it wrong for a worker to withold his/her labour but right for the wealthy to withold their taxes?

  10. rouser says:

    london,s mayor of mayhem went over the top again
    in his statement in the london evening standard.
    that ed miliband was quietly satisfied at the
    scenes of violence during anti-cuts demo.
    for any member of a party who tries to make political capital,from the scenes of anarchist
    rioters should be severly repremanded,at least.
    oh boris!boris!

  11. Saltaire Sam says:

    It’s just occurred to me that when Cameron, Osborne and Boris used to don fancy dress, drink champagne and rampage through Oxford breaking windows, it was youthful high spirits.

    When frustrated teenagers break windows because they are appalled by student fees, the antics of tax dodgers and bankers and other actions that threaten to make them the first generation for some time who will have a lower standard of living than their parents, they are criminals.

    Funny old world.

Comments are closed.