Anti Austerity March Manchester 4th November

My first major demo 🙂 I went with an old school friend who is also a Thamside councillor.Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 22.43.07

It was a great atmosphere and the only nearest to an ‘incident’ I saw was a smashed glass.

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We were lucky to reach the Castlefields destination as the police only allowed just over 3000 into the basin – which left something like 70,000 + with nowhere to go.

The first thing I spotted was the 38 Degrees ambulance being manned by Peter Robinson of Derby and Joe from Manchester (not in view).

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Soon after that I couldn’t believe it when we bumped in to ‘our’ Mike and Linda!
Then in search for a loo and a drink into Christine from Dewsbury 38 Degrees!

As reasonably early ‘arrivees’ we got a good position at the top of the steps – can’t say it was comfy but it was seated 🙂IMG_7110

The basin filled up over time. We all did a bit of a budge up to make some visible space so that the police would let more people in.

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We were treated to an array of speakers and entertainers throughout the day I only caught a few on camera. I couldn’t see my screen for sunshine!

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Billy and Len McCusky were on our starting line stage.
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Julie the local girl got a big cheer as did Maxine Peake. Others included Jeremy , Charlotte and Natalie and a host of union people etc. Some excellent speakers not always known to us. IMG_7120  IMG_7131

We got Owen twice as we managed to get tickets for the Comedy gig – Frankie Boyle et al. My daughter looked at the line up and said Edinburgh festival in one night!

The number report varies from 60 – 85 K and this was the Manchester Metropolitan Police twitter...

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A day to treasure and be proud of.

Protesting the Conservative Party conference  in Manchester – a report by Christine from 38 Degrees Dewsbury …

We joined tens of thousands of people (estimates vary from 60,00-85,000) at the People’s Assembly  demonstration in Manchester yesterday.  It was a large, lively and positive gathering to oppose austerity and the government’s attacks on the unions, alongside a host of other concerns: TTIP, nuclear weapons, privatisation of the NHS, conditions for junior doctors, the Bedroom Tax and, for us, the government’s attack on the green economy and promotion of fracking, oil exploration, road building and airport expansion.

Two years ago, David Cameron was reported as saying that ‘we have got to get rid of all this green crap” http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/nov/21/david-cameron-green-crap-comments-storm meaning the green levies that were increasing consumer bills.  Analysis has shown that green levies constituted a tiny part of the average rising bill (mainly due to wholesale gas price rises) http://www.theguardian.com/environment/damian-carrington-blog/2013/oct/10/green-taxes-energy-bill-fuel-sse-price-rising Only 8.8%  at that point  came from ‘energy, climate change and social policies’ including the  warm homes discount for pensioners and energy saving measures for low income homes as well as the renewable obligation’ subsidy of renewable power which constituted only 2.2% of the entire bill.

The government statistics in 2013 also showed that these costs were a sensible investment which would pay dividends in the not-that-distant future. They stated that by 2020 the average bill will be expected to by £1,331 with £286 (21.5%) attributable to green subsidies but that without these green measures, the same bill would stand £166 higher at £1,496.  This is because not investing in renewables will leave us exposed to expensive energy imports and not investing in efficiency will mean we waste money through inefficiency.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/damian-carrington-blog/2013/oct/10/green-taxes-energy-bill-fuel-sse-price-rising

It was only when the Conservatives shed their Lib Dem coalition partners that they could truly realise their ambition to ‘get rid of the green crap’. In just five months they have cut funding for onshore wind, ended the Green Deal, made renewables pay the Climate Change Levy,  got rid of the Zero Carbon Homes target and cut Feed in Tariff payments for solar. Meanwhile, they have increase tax breaks and relief for oil and gas exploration, announced a new round of licences for fracking, are looking into airport expansion and have a £15bn road building scheme.  http://www.campaigncc.org/climatechargesheet Small wonder that the Committee on Climate Change, took the unusual step last month of writing to the government to warn them that their behaviour is creating confusion for investors and putting the UK at risk of missing its climate targets.  http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/sep/22/uk-risks-missing-its-carbon-targets-climate-advisers-warn

At the demonstration we created a little stunt of David Cameron disposing of the ‘green crap’ (onshore wind, solar and Zero Carbon Homes) and George Osborne bringing in the ‘dirty crap’ (fracking, roads and airport expansion). We had a lot of interest and hundreds of photos taken. Hopefully, this helped to spread the message that the government is attacking the planet, as well as people.

There was a good turn-out from environmental campaigners on the march. Perhaps two hundred people took part in the ‘No to Austerity! No to a Fracking Hell! Yes to One Million Climate Jobs!’ feeder march from Salford and a good bloc within the main demonstration. There was also a lot of fliering for the March for Climate, Justice and Jobs’ that we were happy to help with.

It was good to see lots of Kirklees people on the march. Well done to the TUC for organising two coaches!

The march ended with a speakers ranging from Charlotte Church to Mark Serwotka of the PCS. And it was just one event in an entire week of talks, demonstrations and musical performances organised by the People’s Assembly. http://www.thepeoplesassembly.org.uk/manctimetable

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