Latest post on Left Futures

Why I went on the anti-austerity march & regret Labour’s leaders weren’t there too

Austerity demoLast weekend I attended the huge anti-austerity march and rally organised by the People’s Assembly against Austerity in London. Estimates of the size of the rally varied between 70,000 and more than 150,000. But demonstrators poured into London from all over the country, the march was self-evidently huge and it was definitely a great deal bigger than last year’s event. Several thousand more protestors gathered in Glasgow’s George Square and there were other smaller demonstrations in cities like Liverpool and Bristol.

I was there in London speaking at the beginning of the march and walked the whole route. It was an exhilarating event, purposeful but disciplined. I left it much more hopeful about the future than i have been since the General Election. And I was definitely proud to be there.

But, at such a huge popular expression of public concern, the Labour Party was noticeable by its absence. There was a Labour bloc of marchers with their distinctive square red placards. But there were only a handful of Labour MPs including stalwarts like: Grahame Morris, Kelvin Hopkins and Clive Lewis. None of the leadership or deputy leadership candidates were there, with the shining exception of Jeremy Corbyn who gave a barnstorming speech to the crowds in Parliament Square at the end. And none of the other Labour candidates for London Mayor graced the event with their presence.

The question which arises is why the Labour Party wouldn’t want to pay a central role in such an important popular movement? One reason might be a squeamishness in the Labour Party about getting involved in a campaign, where key elements are left tendencies which are not actually in the Labour Party.

But the real problem is that the leadership of the Labour Party flatly refuses to challenge austerity. Any number of distinguished economists have exposed the bankruptcy of the thinking behind austerity. The Nobel prize winning Paul Krugman amongst others. It also seems clear that austerity has failed in its declared intention, both in Greece and elsewhere.

So why is the Labour Party so timid in questioning austerity? We were virtually wiped out in Scotland by a robustly anti-austerity party the SNP. You would think that fact would concentrate minds. But, rather than accept that reality, elements in the Westminster chattering classes prefer to assert that the Scottish working class were overwhelmed by a sentimental tartan and shortbread nationalism.

Some commentators argue that because the Conservatives have just won the General Election it is illegitimate to question austerity and the cuts. But we elected a government, not a one-party state. And we still have the right to protest. Furthermore the full impact of Tory cuts have yet to hit. And that is without the £12billion in welfare cuts, which George Osborne will announce next month. For the moment the voting public imagines that austerity affects other people, immigrants and the workshy. We will see how popular Tory austerity is when it is finally rolled out.

So I was glad to be on the anti-austerity march and happy to the anti-austerity candidate for London Mayor.

Image Copyright: memitina / 123RF Stock Photo

9 Comments

  1. Billericaydickie says:

    We thought that you were a Labour leader. You are rich, a liar and a hypocrite. Sounds like you could do the job.

  2. Gary Brooke says:

    And you rather come across like a Tory troll, I’m afraid to say. What she’s written seems fair enough to me.

    1. Matty says:

      Billericaydickie is a convicted racist with a particular hostility to people of Afro-Caribben heritage.

      1. Billericaydickie says:

        And your proof of this Matty?

  3. Mervyn Hyde says:

    Billericaydickie:

    Perhaps if you addressed the issues raised instead of slagging people off we might just listen to you, as it is you miss the whole point of what the comment page is for.

    The Leadership candidates that were absent writ large their continuation of the Neo-Liberal austerity programme, meaning they are clearly not worth voting for.

    1. Billericaydickie says:

      I am not a troll, as I understand that from my readings of Hans Christian Anderson and listening to Danny Kaye is that it a small gnome like figure that may or may not have lived at one time or another in parts of Scandinavia.

      I was born in what was The London Hospital before it became Royal and in Tower Hamlets when my part was the London Borough of Stepney.

      I went to school with Jews and Maltese people just off Cable Street as well as the newley, then ,arriving Somalis. I didn’t meet a Bangladeshi until I was I was about twelve.

      My parents, grandparents and most of the rest of the extended Irish family either were members of the Labour Party or voted Labour. They wouldn’t recognise it now populated as it is with wealthy middle class parasites like yourselves and millionaire white haters like Dianne Abbot who abuses you for the colour of your skin and laughs behind her back when you slavishly vote for her.

      You are all the reason why the Labour Party is doomes to years in the wilderness or extinction. I hope you are proud of yourselves. You have destroyed something that the working class built whilst you mocked and spat on them.

      I am on spanfoods@gmail.com for private chats and meetings.

      1. Mervyn Hyde says:

        “Matty

        June 28, 2015 at 6:48 pm

        Billericaydickie is a convicted racist with a particular hostility to people of Afro-Caribben heritage.”

        “They wouldn’t recognise it now populated as it is with wealthy middle class parasites like yourselves and millionaire white haters like Dianne Abbot who abuses you for the colour of your skin and laughs behind her back when you slavishly vote for her.”

        Do you see how Matty might have a point.

  4. Sue says:

    to the moderators ———- it would be great if we could get rid of the regular Troll on this site! I agree with Diane. It was a crying shame that on Jeremy Corbyn felt able to attend the march out of those standing for the leadership. The Labour Party should be front and centre of such anti austerity campaigns. What is Labour for if not to challenge the dreadful waste and cruelty of austerity. Well done Diane and well done Corbyn!

    1. Robert says:

      That is the problem is it not, we do not know what labour are for.

© 2021 Left Futures | Powered by WordPress | theme originated from PrimePress by Ravi Varma