A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

On the march

I was very proud to be one of 4-500,000) peaceful, disciplined protesters today against the Government's draconian cuts to public services.

It was absolutely elating to be part of a big, popular movement defending services that people really need and care about.
Well done to the TUC for taking the lead on organising today, to all the individual unions, local Labour Parties and community groups who built for it, to Ed Miliband for having the political courage to show his support by speaking at the rally, and to the police for learning the lessons of the student protests and policing it in a friendly and non-confrontational way.

Shame on the handful of anarchist idiots who distracted attention from a march by perhaps half a million ordinary people, and on the media for giving them publicity they don't deserve.

Here's the massed ranks of Hackney Labour (including my son Jed, aged 5, with his "Children b4 Bankers" placard) at the start of the demo:


Anonymous Andrea said...

The stupidity of some peopole (often the same groups) is always greater that what you can think as possible

A big beautiful march can become a PR boomerang playing in the hands of the opposite side which will opportunistically link it with the violence

5:54 pm, March 26, 2011

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Assume you are using the inflated TUC figures,the media is reporting 250,000 on the march.

Whether its your number or the media's,the turnout is less than 10% of the total membership of the trade unions,why was the turnout so poor even though it was held at the weekend?

People realise the scale of the mess we are in and don't accept the no need for cuts Labour line or don't want to be associated with the thugs on the march?

9:41 pm, March 26, 2011

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There were a handful of idiots not connected with the March, and the criminal damage was mainly done away from it apart from the Ritz.

I don't see the point in breaking windows of these places as they get it fixed under their insurance premiums and this pushes up everyone else's insurance costs.

The March was fantastic and all the Marchers were excellently behaved, well done to all the Marchers!

1:30 pm, March 27, 2011

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't go on the march, billed as showing there is an alternative. I watch these things closely but failed to see what it is and, sadly, to the vast majority watching it will be the actions of the few that get most cut through.

So why didn't I march? Maybe it was because I am trying to raise money for my local school. As a governor I was surprised that the capitation budget is being slashed by 66 per cent by the Labour run authority. Luke will say predictably that this because the nasty condem government has cut funding and I am sure that is so. But 66 percent? If money is so short, the Labour authority may have sought to shave a few pounds off the £215k annual salary of the chief executive or some other pet projects.

Perhaps I didn't go because many of us locally we running a cake sale to support the local music group, something that has happened for years and is something of a jewel in the crown of local services, whoever has had control of the council. Long may that continue.

And maybe after a long week, seeing my own income shrink as my company changes pension arrangements to stave off an early acceleration of moving jobs off shore, I rather felt I'd had enough and would spend some time in the garden.

But back to the alternative. 'children b4 bankers'. What on earth does that mean? Is there a party out there campaigning for the opposite of that? Is it perhaps a condemnation of the last government's listening to the pleas of the global banks for light touch regulation, ably advocated by some of the world's biggest names in lobbying, including Weber Shandwick, where Luke works as a Director?

Or maybe it is a statement against having rescued banks such as Northern Rock, Rbs, Lloyds, for whom the next generation, our children, will surely be paying? But then there is pretty much universal agreement that that was and remains the right thing to do?

Or was it perhaps a nebulous political slogan, devoid of meaning, in no sense an alternative, but which makes people feel better in the short term nonetheless.

On balance I suspect my day was spent more productively.

2:27 pm, March 27, 2011

Anonymous Neil said...

@Anonymous (9.41), if that's actually your real name.

I think you're underestimating the difficulty in getting large numbers of people up to London for the weekend for an event like this. It's no easy task and has been months in the planning - transport and funds are not unlimited. Sneer if you like but even assuming 250,000 that's still a huge amount of people and not easy to dismiss. We had people in our group that hadn't been on a march in years, if ever. The last time one lady in my group had been on a march one of the slogans had involved the line "Ho Ho Ho Chi Min".

"Thugs on the march" - All I saw were ordinary people from all walks of life peacefully and good naturedly exercising their right to protest. The thugs were defintely not part of the main march.

Using your logic I'll start conflating the BNP and EDL in with the Tory Party - except it wouldn't be fair or accurate to do so. A few hundred fringe violent anarchists with no conncetion with the TUC behaving like violent anarchists isn't much of a story to my mind when compared with the scale of the peaceful march that took place.

The opportunism of some media outlets in pouncing on any act of violence and leading with that has been disgraceful. I expect it of the Mail but some others ought to have known better than to fall for the right wing agenda of using any means of trying to dismiss that upwards of 250,000 people gave up their weekened to come and protest against the level and speed of cuts that this government is imposing.

2:28 pm, March 27, 2011

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, in Islington a new chief executive is appointed on £160k a year, the floor which would have been another £50k lower if it wasn't for the fact that taking it to that level would cause some embarassment to the 40 or so earning more than £100k as well as the 100 or so in the £75k to £100k bracket.

Not one job loss has been managed among this lot. And yet kids, the old people and the bin-boys and girls get the cuts.

So much for all that guff about front-line services.

Just as a matter of interest, did I mention that the new CE just happened to be Labour councillor in Greenwich one-time, just happened to be the partner of the former CE of Newham (£160k a year) and lists her achievements on the Lewisham website as wars on counterfeit tobacco and dog pooh, I kid you not.

The poncing public sector is alive and grasping.

3:09 pm, March 27, 2011

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...


I don't know about Islington but in Hackney one third of every layer of senior management has been made redundant in order to protect frontline services.

The chief execs of councils earn a lot because the kind of skills and energy needed to manage 5000 staff and a 1bn pound budget are in limited supply.
Their salaries are low compared to senior managers in large private sector organisations.

Other anon,

The flip side of my son's placard listed the coalition's attacks on children and families:

The ending of universal child benefit
Closure of Surestart children's centres
Reduction in eligibility for child tax credits
End of tax free childcare vouchers
End of child trust funds
Cuts to capital investment in nursery buildings

4:19 pm, March 27, 2011

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pathetic. If you (or your son, into whose apolitical hands you have mawkishly forced a near-Trottish slogan) paid any attention, you would know 8% of the structural deficit comes from the bank bailout, and 92% of it comes from Gordon's plan to bribe as many people as he could into thinking the state is the driver of economic power, and private industry merely the cash cow which could be milked forever.

I suppose your exertions here are just part of your plan to convince "comrades" you're not a sellout - much as your Livingstone-promoting is nothing more than a ploy to not get deselected in Chatham in 2014.

This self-interest is fair enough, but just don't think it makes you more moral than Tories or Lib Dems. And don't conince yourself it makes little Augustus the vanguard of the Milibandiat; given the tripe his parents give us, he'll undoubtedly be chairman of the Hackney YCs by 15, a new Julian Hinchcliffe for our age.

5:12 pm, March 27, 2011

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon @ 2.27PM; what are you talking about? Hackney couldn't possibly cut its Chief Exec to under £200k pa. Don't you acknowledge the crucial role such an overpaid legal officer does?

Why, he practically runs the council, given that Labour's Cabinet is full of deadbeats, has-beens and never-should-have-beens - the Chief Exec has a hard time reconciling common sense with the whims of moronic Labour turds.

As for your school, so what? So long as producer interests are unquestioned.

5:16 pm, March 27, 2011

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luke @ 4.19PM

But your wilful slashes never reahced councillors' salaries at £15K (in neighbouring Tower Hamlets they have councillors on £10K, and larger wards) or Chairmen of Committees on an extra £25K pa (again, in Tower Hamlets they manage on £6K, £8K and £10K pa).

Oh the humanity that Labour chairmen might be on a mere £18K pa for jobs that are less than part-time. Wicked Tory cuts!

5:19 pm, March 27, 2011

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Surely the ending of univeresal child benefit (which will cost me) is putting children before bankers, by ensuring help is directed to those least well off rather than to the children of bankers etc? Something the left used to believe in.

7:52 pm, March 27, 2011

Anonymous Bill Richards said...

Planned peaceful demonstrations and protest marches are frequently hi-jacked by anarchists, so perhaps organisers should consider that before going ahead. As to media coverage, well there is a lot more news mileage in a riot than a hug-in in the park.

What should we read from the turn out. Well it was organised by the TUC who oppose all cuts regardless of the state of the nation. Does not necessarily mean they are right or the government are wrong.

Remember, the Countryside Alliance organised huge marches and demonstrations, but it did not stop the last government banning fox hunting either.

The hard fact is we elect a government to govern and, at least until the next election, we should let them do just that.

7:53 pm, March 27, 2011

Anonymous Rich said...

Too many of these posters have short memories about how much the casino banks are responsible for this mess. Brown was responsible for the housing
bubble but the banks blew trillions knowing that the tax payer would foot the bill.

Please also remember that George osbourne argued for lower regulation at the time brown was regulating. So under osbourne this would have been far worse.

The Tories plan for the deficit is to make public services pay through cuts while corporations take tax cuts.

Support for this government is falling day by day, and as the jobless totals rise and living standards fall the Tories will be pushed into second place.

8:33 pm, March 27, 2011

Anonymous Anonymous said...

no the police stated 500,000
more than countryside alliance anyway

and cannot wait for may 5th

referendum on coalition government

10:20 pm, March 27, 2011

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Anon 5.19pm

Members allowances are set by an Independent Remuneration Panel not by councillors (we don't get to set our own allowances).

Your figures for Hackney's allowances are factually incorrect. The basic allowance is £9,943.50 and committee chairs get an additional £14,352.53.

In my case this has enabled me to take a day off work every week to do things like meet the Chief Execs of the local NHS Trusts, attend day time conferences and meetings related to my Health Scrutiny role and do site visits for scrutiny investigations.

I would happily still be a councillor for no allowance at all - if that is what you are proposing - (it was £2k a year when I decided to stand) but I would not be able to take time off work which helps me do justice to my role as a chair.

11:07 pm, March 27, 2011

Anonymous insuranceGirl said...

Just so people are clear

1) The bills for repair at Fortnum & Mason, Ritz, etc will not be paid for by insurance companies, but by the metropolitan police.

Riots fall under force majeure, and so the police have to pay if they are unable to protect public property.

Every time property is destroyed, the money is paid for out of the police budget and other public service budgets.

2) The argument about giving trillions to bankers is just silly.
The bank shares were bought and will eventually be resold, most likely at a profit. So the argument that the bankers have taken all the money off the kids is at best ignorant and at worst comprehensively stupid and idiotic.

12:07 am, March 28, 2011

Anonymous oldpolitics said...

"Pathetic. If you (or your son, into whose apolitical hands you have mawkishly forced a near-Trottish slogan) paid any attention, you would know 8% of the structural deficit comes from the bank bailout, and 92% of it comes from Gordon's plan to bribe as many people as he could into thinking the state is the driver of economic power"

Where does this odd number come from? I've seen it a few times, but it's not supported by the Office for National Statistics.

According to them, the UK owes £2,252.1 billion. Of this, £1376.3bn is related to financial interventions - that's just over 61%. A further £351.9m (that's 15.6%) was accrued before May 1997 therefore cannot be Gordon Brown's.

So by my maths, even if you hold the view that debt should always be 0, and any number above that is both wrong and demonstrably Gordon Brown's fault, he is responsible for under a quarter of the total figure, not 92% of it.

12:58 am, March 28, 2011

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...


The slogan "children b4 bankers" was not intended to be an attack on the bank bailout, which saved the economy.

It was a reference to what Ed Miliband has been saying recently. On Saturday he said:

"They say we are all in this together.

But how can it be right that while children's centres close, it is business as usual for the bankers?

How can it be right that while the cost of living goes up for everyone else, the government gives the banks a tax cut?"

9:44 am, March 28, 2011

Anonymous Bill Richards said...

The cuts represent just a 3% reduction and will take us back to 2008 levels of public spending by the end of this parliament. Hardly draconian.

The damage was done by the virtual doubling of public spending over the Brown years and the banking crisis came along quite fortuitously for those seeking to attribute the blame elsewhere.

Milliband should be very careful about his bedfellows on the issue. If he did succeed in bringing the coalition, he then has to deal with the problem, but his TUC masters will want their pound of flesh. Has a Jim Callaghan scenario written all over it.

12:06 pm, March 28, 2011

Anonymous Stuartr said...

On balance I suspect my day was spent more productively.

2:27 PM, March 27, 2011

I doubt it. If you are that sanctimonious about everything I suspect the plants in your garden have died to get any from you.

12:56 pm, March 28, 2011

Anonymous Alexander said...

I would still like to know what your alternative is, especially as Darling would have brought in approx. 80% of the cuts that have been announced had Labour won the election.

It's political opportunism and a complete inability to admit that Labour might have any responsibility for the mess in which we find ourselves.

1:32 pm, March 28, 2011

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The chief execs of councils earn a lot because the kind of skills and energy needed to manage 5000 staff and a 1bn pound budget are in limited supply.
Their salaries are low compared to senior managers in large private sector organisations."

Funny, you should say that. It mirrors exactly what the outgoing CE of Islington said when he was coming under fire.

Did I mention that he mentioned he was an individual of "outstanding talent".

On the day it was announced that he was leaving it was also announced that the CE's salary was cut by 25%, one of the fastest devaluations of outstanding talents in the history of human resources.

2:29 pm, March 28, 2011

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even the Bank of England state its the fault of the Bankers

weve had bigger deficits in the past including under the Tories and its still smaller than America whos economy is growing not shrinking like Osbournes

5:51 pm, March 28, 2011

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Churchill, Thatcher and Tebbitt all trade union members

5:53 pm, March 28, 2011

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Until Edward Milliband & Edgar Balls can tell us exactly what they would have cut last Saturady was hot air.

Do Edward and Edgar agree with the TUC that there should be no cuts at all?

What's Edward's policy on inherited property wealth which avoids tax by means of elaborate trusts?

9:41 pm, March 28, 2011

Anonymous Rich said...

Bill, we don't spend any where near
as much as the French or
Germans, public spending is part of our way of life.

We all enjoy public parks, museums, the arts and we all want good health care and an education system. This all needs to be paid for.

It can't be just about work and profit, there is more to life than that.

11:25 pm, March 28, 2011

Anonymous Bill Richards said...

Rich, I don't spend as much as my neighbour, but then he earns a lot more than me. It is called balancing your budget.

7:17 pm, March 29, 2011

Anonymous Rich said...

Yes I agree bill but the government is cutting
taxes for the wealthy when they should be paying more.....,we are all in this together right.

9:52 pm, April 01, 2011


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