Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/644/10507
Wave of protests against Con-Dem cuts
Three hundred students and trade unionists marched from Sheffield University on 23 October to swell the size of the Yorkshire and Humber TUC rally outside Sheffield town hall to 1,000 protesters, reports Alistair Tice.
The march included a lively and noisy Youth Fight for Jobs (YFJ) contingent. At the rally, a tightly controlled speakers list of Labour Party members and pro-Labour trade unionists lambasted the Con-Dem coalition and Sheffield's Lib Dem council for their savage cuts.
Sheffield MP and coalition deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, the not-so-local boy made bad, was singled out for the most withering attacks.
He was graphically depicted in a Unison advertisement as "Cleggzilla - bringing havoc to a city near you".
However, it was Socialist Party member and PCS union executive member Marion Lloyd who drew the greatest applause when she said: "I am pleased that the TUC has called a national demonstration against the cuts but we can't wait five months, we need it now to build confidence to prepare for a one-day public sector general strike."
Drawing on the example of France, Marion said that to build unity we must oppose all cuts. Marion applauded Sheffield Labour councillors for joining the protest, but called on them to "put your money where your mouths are".
After a by-election, Labour, with two Greens, now have more councillors than the Lib Dems, so Marion said: "Take control of the council, stop the Lib Dem cuts and start by reinstating the 95 jobs cut at Sheffield Futures" (the city's youth careers service).
About 30 people, including several local PCS members, attended the post-rally YFJ meeting to hear speakers from Socialist Students, PCS Young Members Network and YFJ.
Leigh Wilks reports from York where around 250 marchers took part in a demonstration on 23 October. Marching through Parliament Street and the main shopping thoroughfare of Coney Street, the demo attracted cheers and claps of support from shoppers obviously sympathetic to the cause.
Along with York MP Hugh Bayley and representatives from Unison, the PCS and the UCU, Leigh was invited to speak as the secretary of York Socialist Party.
Apart from speaking about the insane BBC 'tour' that asked ordinary voters what they would cut, Leigh reminded demonstrators of the amount of money wasted on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the lessons of the poll tax battle - the last time the British public faced down the blatant unfairness of a capitalist Tory government.
Around 200 workers and students marched through Lincoln against cuts in public services, in a protest called by Lincoln and district trades council, with Unison, PCS, UCU, GMB, NUS and RMT banners.
Hugh Caffrey reports from Manchester where 100 trade unionists and community campaigners rallied in St Peter's Square on 23 October, organised by the Shop Stewards Network.
Afterwards, a democratic discussion agreed to a day of protests on 8 December, when Manchester city council will hold its next full meeting.
50 people took part in a Wrexham demonstration organised by the North Wales National Shop Stewards Network, with contingents from the PCS and UCU unions, reports Keith Pattenden.
Demonstrations also took place on 20 October, the day of the comprehensive spending review. Around 1,000 workers and students marched to Downing Street in London. In Newcastle there was a protest of 500 people angry with the government plans to virtually destroy our public services.
500 public sector workers attended an evening rally in Leeds. Other 20 October protests included Southampton, Bolton, Basildon, Cardiff, Exeter and Huddersfield. In Nottingham, protests took place on 18, 20 and 21 October. See page 2 and www.socialistparty.org.uk for more protest reports.
In The Socialist 27 October 2010:
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news