Scotland: Mass march opposes cuts

Britain’s biggest anti-cuts demonstration yet took place on October 23, when 20,000 people took part in a Scottish-wide protest in Edinburgh.

BBC News has also reported “several thousand” demonstrating in Belfast in a trade union-organised event.

Called by the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC), the Edinburgh demo throws the failures of the British Trade Union Congress general council — which managed nothing more than a couple of thousand in Westminster Hall on the day before cuts were announced — into sharp relief.

At an October 20 rally outside Downing Street called by the Coalition of Resistance, National Union of Journalists general secretary Jeremy Dear said the TUC has failed its first great test.

The Edinburgh protest is significant beyond Scotland. It illustrates the potential that exists for mobilising large numbers against the cuts — not in the distant future but now.

It’s a welcome counterblast to those who muse on the supposed British indifference to protest while our French brothers and sisters rise up in popular revolt.

If the TUC and the big unions had operated in the same way across Britain as STUC did north of the border, or the trade union movement in Ireland’s north, we could have had 50,000 or 100,000 on the streets of central London already.

The TUC national march called for March 26 next year will be a landmark protest, but it is not soon enough.

[Reprinted from www.counterfire.org .]