DAVID CONNOLLY calls for Ed Miliband to join the protest masses at the TUC’s march next month.
Great Ayton is a small, pleasant middle class village just south of Middlesbrough where four weeks ago 600 people crammed into the village hall to protest against the closure of the local library. Another 100 or so couldn’t get in.
According to a report in The Northern Echo there was a vigorous debate between those who asked, “Why us and not the less used library in rural Bedale?” and those who could see the dangers of such a parochial approach to the widepread closures in North Yorkshire. They will not be the only ones to have that argument.
It’s examples like this which give an even greater significance to the TUC’s national anti-cuts demonstration to be held in London on 26 March. In an age of horizontal, leaderless, social media organised protest movements an event first advertised several months ago by the old cart horse itself may seem somewhat dated – but it isn’t.
On the contrary, it is vitally important that there is a big turnout to show a broad based and vigorous opposition to what the Conservative-led government is doing, and will do even more if it can get away with it. The TUC’s strategy of building alliances with a range of community and voluntary groups is to be commended, though given the reduced state of the traditional Labour movement these days it has little choice.
But it is also critical that the Labour Party leadership publically endorses the march and takes part in it, something which to my knowledge they have yet to do. A repeat of last October’s confusion when Ed Miliband failed to support the TUC’s ultra respectable lobby of Parliament is not acceptable.
Of course, we don’t imagine the leadership is going to support any and every form of opposition to the cuts but as a starting point they have to engage with this event and in doing so re-inforce the Party’s public legitimacy. If Miliband is serious about wanting to build “a movement for change” this is where it starts.
Click here for the anti-cuts website False Economy.
Click here for more information on the TUC’s March for the Alternative.