Why I wasn’t on the march against austerity

I wasn't exactly sure what it was about or what it hoped to achieve and maybe this is why it didn't receive much media coverage… but maybe I'm just cynical thinking that marches don’t change things.

At least with student demonstrations against tuition fees there was a very specific demand that protesters were making. While, it was unsuccessful there was a feeling that the government’s mind (or at-least the Liberal Democrat part of it) could be changed or the policy altered.  

However, we are in the final year of a Tory-led coalition, tens of thousand people marching through Parliament Square with ‘No Cuts’ placards is not going to change the direction of this government.
It’s an unrealistic demand in itself without a specific blueprint for an alternative. But when blurred with anti-NATO/Trident and Socialist Worker calls for strikes is it any wonder that these marches are ignored. There wasn't really an issue that could generate headlines or spark debate that the media could pick up on. Unlike the anti-‘Bedroom Tax’ rallies where the message and demand was clear and minsters at the Department for Work and Pension could be scrutinised.

The truth is holding signs demanding the ‘Tories Out’ won’t change anything. Russell Brand, a keynote speaker at the event, says it’s pointless to vote. However, only by voting in next year’s general election can people kick Cameron out of number ten.

I agree with the main thrust of the People’s Assemblies demands, we do need to address the growing inequality in our society and the deterioration of living standards. What’s more we shouldn't allow immigrants to be used as scape goats. But it’s no good preaching to the converted, get out and campaign! We need to speak to people on the doorstep if we want to spread a progressive agenda, get the Tories out and counter UKIP’s message of fear. That's what I'll be doing in my home town of Southend and Tory-Labour marginals in Essex like Basildon and Thurrock this year!

Like it or not Labour is the alternative. You might not think it’s a big change or radical enough regardless it’s better than five more years of Conservative rule.

March and shout as much as you like but the ballot box will be the only way to change things next year. 

2 comments:

  1. 50,000 people marched in Manchester last year about one thing, saving the NHS from privatisation. That got no coverage either. Do me a favour and wake up. Mainstream media would rather highlight tiny exremist groups such as EDL, than popular movements against the destruction of vital services. They don't even bother to ask people why they are marching, and neither do you - both arrogant.
    I've worked in the NHS for 19 years and I've seen the damage that your beloved Labour party did to it - internal market, PFI, privatisation and Foundation Trusts. Millburn was always a slimeball, look whose coin he is now taking. Miliband needs to get a lot more radical before he gets my vote, photographed with the Sun....poor judgment.

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  2. I agree that had this been a rally with tens of thousands of UKIP supporters/or members of far right parties this would be a bigger story... not sure why so little coverage, maybe bias maybe just doesn't appear noteworthy to them, interesting question?
    Don't get me wrong I support some of the campaigns people went out to march for...
    The question is was this the best way to advance these causes? personally I think not. It definitely won't change the minds of the government and is unlikely to significantly help remove them from power in 2015.
    It's more about disagreeing about how we conducted politics rather than a specific issue.

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