On the 26th of March this country’s unions will parade the streets of the London, in solidarity, against the paralyzing cuts that this coalition government are making. The union’s claim that up to 500,000 people will attend, it will prove to be a momentous occasion; a potential beacon bringing in a new dawn of union activism. Labour leader Ed Miliband is expected to make a speech denouncing the coalitions cuts. I, for one, cannot wait to see what he has to say. Will he shed light on how he aims to counter the governments diabolical, systematic cuts programme? Will he call for greater tax on the bailed out banks, or just end up attacking them? Will he urge the unions to proceed in their planned strike action with caution?
Some may argue that Ed’s role as party leader has left much to be desired. His geeky mannerisms and polite exterior are a definite change from Gordon Brown’s haggardness. Yet, there is hope in ‘Red Ed’. His successes will be judged on how he manages to address the issue of the ‘squeezed middle’; certainly the British middle classes will be ostracised in the years to come. I suspect that the success of the “March for the Alternative” pivots on the campaign’s ability to integrate the middle classes into the countrywide protest.
The focus of the march is to bring to the public’s attention the real figures behind the planned cuts; in essence, to put a face to the statistics that will shape our futures. The Conservative led coalition government is fanatically dedicated to cutting the U.K’s budget deficit. Whether you listen to the Today programme or catch the odd minute of Question Time, Conservative and Lib-Dem MP’s are whipped into proclaiming that the rigorous cuts applied to the public services are only a consequence of the previous Government’s laissez-faire attitudes towards borrowing. But, and this is an important but, recent figures place the UK behind Spain, Italy and Germany as the European countries with the largest budget deficits. Why then must we suffer the hardest? Why is it that at the beginning of the 2012 academic year students will be faced with fees of up to £9,000 p/a, whilst in Germany a term costs as much as £500? It seems that future generations are going to be indebted longer than any other in history.
The government is clearly practising a policy of modesty with regards to public spending. And it seems slightly ironic that the government’s modesty also transpires to the issue of taxation of the banks, the institutions that so deftly helped to create this mess. What this march hopes to achieve is to relay to people the message that government cuts should not be looked at in isolation. Whether it is cuts in policing or cuts in benefits, lives will be changed for the worst, and Britain will become an unfairer, increasingly divided, bleaker society.
Therefore, the “March for the Alternative” can only be a success if, in solidarity, we take on the governments’ despotism and rally to bring about a fairer society for the majority and not the few. We need to reignite the flames of activism to send a potent, yet peaceful message to the MP’s in the House of Commons; the country will not be idle whilst you threaten the livelihoods of millions. So put the kettle on Mr. Cameron, we’re going to be protesting for a while.