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Not the usual suspects

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Mark Easton | 13:23 UK time, Friday, 25 March 2011

The political potency of tomorrow's anti-cuts march will be decided not just by how many protesters it attracts, but who they are. If the government see a crocodile of what they might regard as "the usual suspects" snaking through London - the trade unions, political opponents, left-wing activists and a few troublemakers up for a bundle - they will breathe relatively easy. Opposition can then be managed in the traditional manner: well-rehearsed political argument and condemnation of any unpleasantness.

Ladies marching in the Cotswolds

What would be scary for ministers is if the march attracts broader opposition, including their own traditional supporters. Then, potentially, the protest becomes a movement - much harder to control.

This week I travelled to a Tory heartland - rural Gloucestershire, where you are as likely to see a red squirrel (not very) as a red rosette. The Conservative-controlled county council has announced cuts of £114m with youth clubs, libraries and day-care centres under threat. Familiar public services may disappear.

In a village, nestling in the Cotswolds, I was greeted by a sight that might well send a shudder down the spine of a young Minister. A regiment of purposeful Gloucestershire ladies were making their way to a kitchen-table meeting. Over tea from a pot and cakes from a stand, they discussed the arrangements for tomorrow. They are planning to join the protest.

"I'm scared of going on a political march" says Chloe Lees, announcing that she has never been on a demo before.

"I don't want to be kettled. I refuse to pee in the street whatever the cause."
Cakes

Nevertheless, the plans have been made and Chloe will be on a train tomorrow morning with her "Save The Libraries" placard.

"I'm taking my 74-year-old Mum," says Susan Caudron. "This is the only way to make a difference. Now we really have to get out there and show them how we feel."

Eighty-five-year-old Eugenie Summerfield adds her voice:

"I'm not fit enough to be there but I'll be with you in spirit. I'm so angry about what's happening, not just in Gloucestershire but all over the country. I'll be with you all the way."

There is authentic passion in the room. The tea-party in the Cotswolds is not politically motivated, but they have been roused by the threat to the users of familiar and well-loved public services.

"I want to stand up for these people" announces Alice Ross. "That's what I'll be doing when I go to London. I'll be standing up for the 15,000 people who signed the petition, hoping it looks like we're standing 15,000 strong." There is a determined look on her face.

I met up with a local Tory MP, Neil Carmichael, to ask what he would say to the militants in the idyll. Coincidentally, he was cutting the ribbon on a new community centre in the nearby town of Stonehouse - just the kind of Big Society initiative the county council hope might prompt people to come forward and take over the running of threatened libraries and youth clubs.

Tory MP Neil Carmichael

"Go behind me you will see lots of people working hard for their community. They are not marching in protest, they are doing things in action", he told me. "That's what we want to see more of and in this constituency we are seeing it all over the place, and that's really encouraging."

I took the MP's words to the tea-party, but the ladies of Gloucestershire were not impressed. "This is the Big Society and we say no!", Johanna Anderson said. "They should listen to ordinary people like us."

"We all volunteer but you don't expect to run youth services and libraries," echoed Julie Baker. "The Big Society is there but it's not there to run the country in this crazy way."

A recent Ipsos Mori survey found that 45% of Conservative voters think the cuts are being implemented too quickly, but there remains much broader support for the need to reduce the deficit and a resignation about it's consequences. However, even now the cuts have not yet really started to bite. Council plans to restructure and reduce service provision have only recently been announced.

"I'm so worried about the future for our kids, it's awful" says Susan Caudron. "I never thought I'd get to this age and feel so worried about the future."

The ladies of the Cotswolds huddled around a computer, absorbing the TUC's "Tips for New Marchers" as they planned their trip to the capital. If the trains and buses arriving from around the country include many more like them, the politics of the cuts will become very different.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Over the last decade 100s of thousands of private sector workers such as myself have been made redundant as jobs have been moved abroad, and there was no mass mobilisation on our behalf. Perhaps if there had then there would have been the tax revenues needed to keep the public sector funded.

  • Comment number 2.

    So how do the Gloucestershire ladies propose that the threatened services are paid for? Let me guess - cut Trident and tax the bankers more. Cutting Trident will cost billions in penalty clauses and jobs alone. Taxing the bankers more will mean they take their business and tax revenues away from the UK.

    Don't protest unless you have an alternative solution.

  • Comment number 3.

    The tea party ladies in Gloucestershire - these are the ordinary people, are they?

    I notice there's no mention of anyone who moved from other political leanings to the conservatives. What a shock.

    PS. It's not really a shock that you went to traditionally conservative areas and managed to find people who don't want to be part of certain services, like libraries. One of the most distinctive qualities of the long-standing Tories is that they prefer to pay other people to do jobs they consider beneath them. I question their logic in saying they volunteer for some things, but not libraries - why, what's so objectionable about working in a library?

    If a scheme or rota system was set up for my local library, I'd have little problem volunteering. It's just being unwilling to contribute to society in a tangible way, and it's unfortunately stereotypically Tory.

  • Comment number 4.

    Oh, and what's more - did the Tories lie about spending cuts? I seem to remember they made their plans clear; eliminate the structural deficit over 5 years. How can 45% of their voters think cuts are being implemented too quickly, when that's exactly what they voted for?

    No sympathy for people that stupid.

  • Comment number 5.

    I don't understand what all the fuss is about. Yes we are losing some services that we all love, but on the plus side we aren't having to come up with more money through stupidly high tax increases. At the end of the day we can't have it all ways - we have an enormous deficit which labour kindly left us, and unfortunately its the torys that now look like the bad guys for having to something about it. You can't keep your public places AND pay nothing extra - and i'm sure i know which way i'd rather have it!!

  • Comment number 6.

    How sad it seems that so many good but possibly ill informed people are due to protest tomorrow against the cuts as opposed to the councils that are using cuts to services as an excuse not to reduce the pensions and special benefits that are given to public sector employees. As an HR manager, I have rarely if ever seen a public sector employee and especially a manager dismissed without a very large payout and secondly, when a public sector employee is suspended and subject to any form of disciplinary investigation, it usually takes the organisation a minimum of 9 - 12 months to go through a process, during which the employee, (innocent or guilty of the offences) stays on full pay. I have heard of many cases that have involved the person being on paid suspension for more than 1 year and certainly in some cases up to 2 years. The same situation in the private sector would be investigated and resolved within a matter of days. In the meantime, they are on full pay and again as often as not, they get paid off as opposed to dismissed if they are proven to be guilty of the misconduct.

  • Comment number 7.

    It's taken 40 minutes to moderate the first comment. Truly pathetic.

  • Comment number 8.

    Yes, indeed.

    I've never voted labour in my life, I've never bought a copy of 'militant' and the last time I was 'on a march' was in 1973 when we protested for a light controlled crossing on the street outside my school.

    I'm going to this one.

    I was also interested to see that Cameron/Clegg visited the Midlands for a second time in a few weeks. Once again it was at a 'secret location' - like they do when they go to afghanistan or northern ireland during the troubles. Except of course, they are now needing to do it in their own country. Not a very good advert for a 'democratic' govenment that they need to hide their location from their own people.

  • Comment number 9.

    As one of the young people who woll have to pay the cost of the recent budget excesses I worry for the long term future and middle class and older women rallying for libraries is frankly absurd. Books are not going to live much longer than is necessary to transfer them onto computers.

    I would like the government to look forward to developing an infrastructure for the future rather than paying for services demanded by people who's greed caused the problems in the first place. Libraries, day-care and youth clubs were all introduced so that the "ladies who lunch" could get on with things that they enjoy rather than having to worry about entertaining and looking after their own children.

  • Comment number 10.

    @Mark Easton

    If a large amount of cuts are taking place this year why does the budget deficit remain so high?

    Many councils wanted to spread the cuts evenly but central government for now has made sure that cannot happen unless they change their minds. Perhaps when they see who is protesting they will change how the cuts are being done over the next few years so they are gradual to win back voters trust.

  • Comment number 11.

    The public sector brings us into this world, nurses us through our first stumbling steps, educates us and prepares us for the world, for some it develops our minds even further and sends us off to be the leaders in our chosen sphere, it protects us from crime and disasters such as fire, disposes of our detritus and provides for us in our old age.
    And yet policians would have you believe that the public sector is the most evil entuty on the face of the Earth.
    To Another Angle, if the private sector had been as unionised as the public sector then perhaps it would receive the same protection.

  • Comment number 12.

    Libraries have had their day. I went into my local library last week. Out of the fourteen customers in there, twelve were on the free computers and two were waiting for their turn on the free computers. Nobody was looking at any books.

    Electronic media mean that books are no longer the only means of reading and learning. Turn the libraries into profit-making internet cafes.



  • Comment number 13.

    People can protest all they like but unless they can come up with ways of paying for services it can't change. Every day we go without paying our debts off is more money wasted, as it even with with this too fast pace it's going to be 10 years before the debt is paid down.

    Major issue to be remembered. Might be 15,000 people who signed the petition, even if it was a million that means nothing. There were 9 million people who were eligible to vote in last years election but didn't. Maybe people protesting should be getting these people to actually participate in society first?
    Apathy and not taking part in the democratic process is one of the reasons politicians don't listen to us. Why should they when people don't bother taking part?

  • Comment number 14.

    Great, I hope they all turn up in force. These corporate lackey tories are trying to wreck the country again, we haven't recovered from the last time they sold off all the family silver.
    Thing is, the deficit is a con, it's just numbers on a screen, there is no shortage of money just an ideological objection to sharing it.

  • Comment number 15.

    Politically I'm from the right rather than the left, but I'm also disabled which is why I'll be joining only the second protest march of my life tomorrow.

    There IS a cheaper alternative to scrapping Incapacity Benefit and DLA -
    1) raise the tax-free threshold to £10,000 a year,
    2) scrap the £23.7 billion tax-credit infrastructure, which has just been made redundant, in order to afford it.
    The only change to benefits you need is to raise the £20 a week earnings limit on means-tested benefits and suddenly work would pay for everyone.

    Welfare reform is *supposed* to be about making work pay, isn't it?

    http://falseeconomy.org.uk/campaigns/report/im-from-the-right-and-i-think-cuts-are-wrong

  • Comment number 16.

    Well, good luck to them and I wish I was able to join them. Roll on the council elections when we can give this unelected government the kicking they deserve.
    Why does everyone seem to think this situation has only arisen in this country and therefore it must be the fault of the Labour Party. Take the blinkers off, look aroud, you'll find umpteen countries in the same if not far worse situation than the UK.

  • Comment number 17.

    I have a great idea. Why don't we sell off the NHS and the rest of the things in this country that are nationally owned to the French. That way they can own even more of the UKs infrastructure and we can can continue to pay a higher price for everything we use. As they will never make a loss maintaining what we need as the shareholders are too important.

    Or what about coming down a little harder on the number of Kartels that are free to run in this county. I'm sick of the energy companies we sold away in the 80's holding me to ransom. Since the ridiculous rise in energy prices in the 2008 have fallen by about 30 - 50% why not lower the prices ? Ahem K word.

    We have fallen into uncontrolled capitalism and seen as this country doesn't own any of it's infrastructure were having to pay more for other people to sort it out for us.

  • Comment number 18.

    Rather than fighting every cut please come up with a solution. By 2012 we will have a Government debt of over 100% of GDP - thanks to loose regulatory management and over spending by Labour, and monetary mismanagement by BofE. Fiscal tightening is the only solution otherwise we pass it on to our children and it will be far worse for them. Bad luck means we are also being hit by inflation and an oil shock - this will probably lead to monetary tightening which will make things even worse.
    I was a soldier for 10 years so I feel sorry for the public cuts but we need a solution or we face an even worse economic collapse. We need to work together to come up with a solution.
    Sadly that will not happen until Ed Milliband admits that all the labour spending of 12 years left us without the drivers for growth (good education system, a fair and even society, business unencumbered by regulation, an industrial base, and an environment which encourage entrepreneurs) and the coffers empty! And the Coalition stops bashing everyone who works for the state.

  • Comment number 19.

    Ah,see Marnip's here (4).They did lie because they aim to eliminate the deficit in 4 years not the 5 they claimed. They lie about the deficit:past Tory governments also ran very big deficits (bigger than this depending on your preferred economist's definition of 'structural').They lied about their intentions over the NHS.They lie when likening the nature of UK debt to that of Portugal, Greece etc. Cameron lied about his coalition plans: nobody voted for it as it was not in the manifesto, so he and Clegg have no mandate for this experiment that seems doomed to end in stagflation

  • Comment number 20.

    @ 2. At 14:41pm on 25th Mar 2011, Mincepie Murderer:

    "Don't protest unless you have an alternative solution."

    You don't believe it democracy then?
    People can protest as and when they see fit, not just when they fall within your narrow parameters.
    Perhaps an alternative would be not to replace the cuts with the Big Con - sorry - Society.
    Now if you don't mind I'm off to play Big Society Cluedo. It's like normal Cluedo, but there's no library...


  • Comment number 21.

    6. At 15:04pm on 25th Mar 2011, madeleinecolin wrote:
    How sad it seems that so many good but possibly ill informed people are due to protest tomorrow against the cuts as opposed to the councils that are using cuts to services as an excuse not to reduce the pensions and special benefits that are given to public sector employees. As an HR manager, I have rarely if ever seen a public sector employee and especially a manager dismissed without a very large payout and secondly, when a public sector employee is suspended and subject to any form of disciplinary investigation, it usually takes the organisation a minimum of 9 - 12 months to go through a process, during which the employee, (innocent or guilty of the offences) stays on full pay. I have heard of many cases that have involved the person being on paid suspension for more than 1 year and certainly in some cases up to 2 years. The same situation in the private sector would be investigated and resolved within a matter of days. In the meantime, they are on full pay and again as often as not, they get paid off as opposed to dismissed if they are proven to be guilty of the misconduct


    I heard once that the public sector all were paid in gold bullion, if only.

    I am heartily sick of all the missinformation about the public sector, especially from an HR Manager, my previous employment in the public sector seen massive growth in management HR management a director who needed two assistants, where one operational officer did the same work before, I know where I would put HR managers, where the sun don't shine! then the diversity manager came along, oh and do not forget the new press manager, who has to ask what the equpment is in order to tell the media!

    Perhaps the private HR Manager can explain why a cleaner in the NHS should be transfered to the laundry department where she is to be trained, while the laundry assistant is transfered to be a cleaner, where she is to be trained, this is the reality in the NHS Barnsley, I believe this idea is by consultants, no not one of those surgeon types! HR type consultants!

    The public sector needs to run by fewer better managers without the arrogance of the private sector, how much does the highest paid council executive get paid in comparison to say the cheif excutive of serco whose funding is mostly from taxpayers? taxpayers money is wasted not just by the public sector.

  • Comment number 22.

    re comment 6. Teachers are public sector employees and in 33 years of teaching I saw colleagues made redundant most years: in the last 15 years none got more than the statutory redundancy pay that private sector employees would also get. I know of a vice principal of a large college on equivalent of 60k in todays' money who was made redundant and got no more than this. All this private sector bleating: if the public sector was so good where were the queues of applicants for public sector jobs in the 'good times'? Let's avoid grass is greener mythology.

  • Comment number 23.

    So the gov't has to make cuts and we have to live in austerity but the bankers have big bonuses and big profits, it’s like I lend you money and your telling me to save. if the banks want to leave let them and take their crazy risks with them, remember they need us more then we need them, further the gov't has the audacity to lower corporation tax but not lower income tax. Why not simulate the economy by lowering income tax so that when we spend the demand will automatically create jobs rather than lining the pockets of the fat cats

  • Comment number 24.

    The slow down in spending hasn't even really started yet. But the debt explosion has. Who do the numerically challenged ladies wot lunch think is going to pay for the debt ? The interest is already larger than the schools and care for the elderly each year !

    In the interests of the fame BBC impartiality I suppose we can expect a report from a Labour heart land showing how some people think bankrupting the country and selling our children into debt slavery is a bad idea ? No - thought not.

  • Comment number 25.

    @2. At 14:41pm on 25th Mar 2011, Mincepie Murderer:

    "Taxing the bankers more will mean they take their business and tax revenues away from the UK."

    You mean the business we're already paying for through these deficit cuts and tax hikes?

    And exactly what tax revenues do are you referring to? You mean the £133 Million that Barclays paid on a profit of over £6 Billion - less than 2% tax!

    We - the great British public - are paying the price, not them. Where's their sense of moral obligation to fix the mess that they themselves caused.

    Let them go overseas - good riddance I say!

  • Comment number 26.

    To Madelinecolin - as an ex public sector worker, for 10 years, who did an excellent and worthwhile job, I would just like to say that we have not all been given huge pay outs or investigated for wrong doing. Most people in the public sector work hard and it is very hard to keep reading and hearing in the media that we are a bunch of lazy overpaid fatcats. It is this kind of attitude that is making it hard for those of us who have lost our jobs, to get new employment in the private sector.
    I would like to add that it was the private sector, the banks, that got us into this mess, not the teachers, the nurses, the dustmin men, the librararians, etc etc so stop blaming us for everything. I would have been marching tomorrow but due to not having a job now am hard pressed to find the train fare to get there.

  • Comment number 27.

    @Marnip
    "7. At 15:13pm on 25th Mar 2011, Marnip wrote:
    It's taken 40 minutes to moderate the first comment. Truly pathetic."

    Presumably you'd like an increase in the License Fee so the BBC can employ more people to moderate intelligent and useful commentary like yours?

  • Comment number 28.

    @12. At 15:41pm on 25th Mar 2011, Mincepie Murderer:

    Wow, what an extensive range of quantitative and qualitative social research you did on librabries . . . One library, in one area, at one time of day.

    Hmm, I went in to my local supermarket at 9pm last Saturday evening. There were two other people there. Perhaps, based on that research, we should close down all supermarkets... After all they appear to have "had their day"!

  • Comment number 29.

    'Don't protest unless you have an alternative solution. ' Their alternative solution would be to cut the deficit in a slower and less reckless manner. And if people shouldn't protest unless they have an alternative solution which you can both guess and not pick fault with, then that's most protests in the world gone. You don't have to have some perfectly-mapped plan to know when something's wrong. @Marnip, they're not saying that they don't like libraries, they're saying that you can't expect whole public services to be run by volunteers, which is true. And @PamperedPrincess, I have a few points to make in response to your comment:
    1. The deficit was not entirely Labour's fault. They did some reckless spending, the worst of which being Iraq (which, may I add, had more Tory MPs voting for it than Labour ones), but overall, the deficit was caused by a global recession and having put too much trust in the banks. Since the recession happened in every western European country besides Norway (because they were lucky enough not to have the Tory party in power when the north sea oil was found and are now eternally minted), it's very unlikely that Gordon Brown, or Labour, can be held solely accountable.
    2. They're not the bad guys because they're trying, they're the bad guys because they're making it worse. Ever since they had any influence, the economy's been getting worse, and Osbourne's been downgrading the forecasts for growth. This is because making public sector workers redundant costs, in the short term, much more money, because you have to pay their redundancy money and do all the complicated, expensive stuff to do with abolishing government departments. It also costs, in the long term -you got it- much more money, because about 5 years in the future, somebody's going to say 'Why are all these organs dodgy? I know what we need- an NHS organ regulator! That'd do it! Let's pay a load of money to re-instate one'. And even if they never reinstate stuff, they'll probably end up paying for it in lawsuits.
    3. As Osbourne's recent budget just showed, we're getting taxed a lot more on items that ordinary people have. It was also under the Tories, remember, that VAT rose to 20%.

    I've always hated Labour with a fiery passion, but now it's clear that the Tories are destroying everything people have been working on since the post-war years, I may even support them. All I can say is that next election will be pretty good to watch. It's the election where everybody who'll be paying ridiculously high tuition fees set by people who got it free and got told they can't resit yr12 because of cuts to sixth form funding will finally have a chance to vote. And the best bit- thanks to citizenship, even the stupidest ones know how to.

  • Comment number 30.

    Ooh yes, everyone's against the cuts according to the BBC. Wouldn't it be a good idea if the BBC explained, just once, why cuts have to be made? If the BBC is going to sulk until the next Labour government they will be sulking for many, many years.

  • Comment number 31.

    They are very quick to make cuts but it seems to me that they will let the banks do as they please again.

    This government will look after their own and their own are not the ordinary people of Britain.

    Cutting the winter fuel allowance for the elderly? What's that all about?

  • Comment number 32.

    @20. At 16:10pm on 25th Mar 2011, U14820880 wrote:

    "Now if you don't mind I'm off to play Big Society Cluedo. It's like normal Cluedo, but there's no library..."

    Very, very funny!

  • Comment number 33.

    How can anyone seriously think we can get away without cuts when government spending is around 50% of GDP, and we have a debt of around 60% of GDP and rising, and taxes are punitive. The high taxing high spending model is obviously broke.

  • Comment number 34.

    Good luck for everyone going to the march tomorrow. If you are still erring and umming.....just go. Estimates are at 100 to 300 thousand, the biggest march since the stop the war demo eight years ago (i think it could be more than this) The march is going to be very peaceful if you stick with the main crowd. It is not just the usual protesters this time, but many other ordinary men and women. If you are feeling a bit more adventurous then there are separate demos planned during and later in the day, but be careful if you choose this option as there is a good possibility you may be breaking the law with occupations etc. Take food and water and remember there are bad apples in any society, marchers and police, but most of the police will be aware that you are marching for them aswell and most of the protesters will be law abiding citizens like yourselves.


    http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/76897,news-comment,news-politics,all-you-need-to-know-about-saturdays-anti-cuts-march-in-london


    "If you stand up and be counted, from time to time you may get yourself knocked down. But remember this: A man flattened by an opponent can get up again. A man flattened by conformity stays down for good."
    — Thomas J. Watson Jr.

  • Comment number 35.

    Kettling is disgraceful. People have a right to march and should be allowed to do so peacefully without being hindered by the authorities.

    If good people like this are abused then the perpetrators should receive strong punishment.

    I don't mind the cuts up to a point, but they must be done sensibly whilst trying to maintain important front-line services like libraries. I am sure councils can make the cuts without anyone noticing if they wanted to, but they are more interesting in saving their jobs than delivering a service.

    Big society? Yes, make sure you vote for those who will be sensible, not those that follow doctrine or have an axe to grind.

  • Comment number 36.

    Well I hope they have a nice day up in The Smoke tomorrow. it looks like the weather will be nice and even Mr. Plod has expressed an aspiration to amend his behaviour from his usual harrassment of the law-abiding and focus on the troubled minority. I suggest as demo-innocents that they find a quiet part of the march away from those out to radicalise the unwary.Then once the politics has done perhaps they can trot down to Putney to enjoy the Boat Race.

    I think these ladies will find their bed-fellows a bit strange as this demonstration is going to be the usual leftist ritual to protect the sacred cows of the apparat that are as much part of the problem as the bankers.

    Round here we have managed to keep the libraries and the museums open but with difficulty. Talking to an acquaintance at the Council last week I expressed the view that it seems the salary of one senior council executive equals a library for a year. To me this meant that what to cut is a no-brainer as the public service is what local government is about. He mumbled about giving it time.

    The simple truth of the matter is that over the last ten years the level of funding into the state sector has ballooned well in excess of inflation. An additional GBP 200 billion found its way into the state sector over that period and not all of that went into the NHS.

    Now the place from where that money came from went pop with the banks and the income ceased. So we have to cut our coat according to our cloth. The size of the defecit is eye-watering and will persist through the next five years of cuts during which the National Debt will mushroom from GBP 909 billion this financial year end to GBP 1.4 trillion by the end of 2015. It was GBP 350 billion in 2001.

    By all means go and express your democratic rights and if Mr. Plod kettles you without good cause then I will come out in support of your right to demonstrate. I do feel the cause is misplaced and the organisers not wholly honest in their intentions as the fantasy economics they espouse has been the real problem all along.

    What we really need is not reaction to unpleasant events but a means by which we get in control of events so that they cease to be unpleasant. This may take us rather a long time to achieve but it must be done.

    So to start with we need banking reform now and begin to rebalance the economy back into making things and adding real value! Enjoy the march!

  • Comment number 37.

    I'm sick to death of hearing everyone saying how awful these cuts are and what awful people the current government is made up of. I'm yet to hear from the people complaining a single, reasonable way that we can cut the defecit. I keep hearing 'tax the bankers', well we are doing that. I keep hearing 'cut trident' but we can't without that costing vast amounts in penalties. I keep hearing 'ride out the slow economic period and we won't need to make cuts' but we were running a heavy deficit before the banking crisis started. The left are phenomenally good at pointing out what is wrong, but don't seem to have any ideas at all about how to improve things.

    Though there is Bob Crow's "brilliant" idea about taxing emails and texts.....oh dear.

  • Comment number 38.

    lefty11 34

    ' A man flattened by conformity stays down for good'

    And there's no greater conformity than opposing cuts regardless of the economic circumstances.

    The whole economy was flattened for 13 years by the conformity that no matter how much the government spent, it was always better to spend more.

  • Comment number 39.

    So what do all these protesters suggest? Its not just genteel ladies who are fighting 'the cuts' even religious organisations like The Scouts have joined in 'the fight' to prevent themselves being charged market rents for the halls they hire.

    Sorry, but lets not forget that it was the kind of government that a lot of these people voted for (i.e. Labour) who were one of the causes of this mess.

    They threw pound after public pound at all manner of wasteful schemes like the Independent Safeguarding Authority, a body that ensured that anyone expressing an interest in working with children was branded a wierdo, as well as all manner of other schemes and initiatives.

    And now, the money has run out. OK, what then?

    How about we don't cut ANYTHING! If you don't want the cuts, lets have 50% basic rate tax until such times as the deficit is cleared. That way, we can keep all the 'outreach co-ordinators' and the hospital chaplains who are paid more than nurses.

    You want that? Funny, I thought not!

    When these marchers come up with something a little more intelligent than just 'tax the bankers' I might be interested. Until then, I am in Cardiff all day tomorrow and will have nowt to do with it all.

  • Comment number 40.

    4. At 14:45pm on 25th Mar 2011, Marnip wrote:
    Oh, and what's more - did the Tories lie about spending cuts? I seem to remember they made their plans clear; eliminate the structural deficit over 5 years. How can 45% of their voters think cuts are being implemented too quickly, when that's exactly what they voted for?

    No sympathy for people that stupid.

    ========================

    Except it is you who are wrong, they did not make their plans clear before the election none of them did which was incredibly frustrating and annoying at the time.

    The Conservative manifesto commitment was vague - cut the bulk of the structural deficit in the parliament and move further and faster than Labour, which could be taken to mean anything from frontloading the lot to spreading evenly across the parliament with the aim to cut 80/90% of the structural defict before parliament end.

    Labours plan was to cut 50% within the parliament but largely back load it , this was obvious and clear because it was not least in their last budget and Liam Byrne and several others squirmed mightly when challenged on this at the time when Brown was pretending no cuts under Labour when it was obvious that there were.

  • Comment number 41.

    I don't understand why people are going to protest it won't achieve anything there simply wasting the time of the police officers who will have to police the demonstration if the people don't like what the government is doing they should actually get off there backsides and vote at the next general election instead of complaining every time the government makes a cut in order to get us out of this mess were in

  • Comment number 42.

    Why is taxation such a bad thing?? My family have a moderately good income, we are not well off, but comfortable, but I have no problem whatsoever with paying a higher tax than people on a lower income - where did this "I'm alright jack" attitude come from?
    I would rather live in a caring society, that provide decent services, looks after those who can't look after themselves. Surely that is the hallmark of a civilised society.
    I am so tired of hearing people denegrate taxation - selfishness and greed are two of the main reasons britain is in this muddle in the first place. Whats wrong with working together to build a better society?? These services that are going to be cut are not luxury services, but basic, critical services.
    And dont get me started on this ridiculous notion of the "big society". There is a HUGE difference between encouraging people into the voluntary sector, and making sneaky budget cuts, hiding behind a poorly disguised piece of spin.

    You want an alternative solution? Accept that it is, as decent human beings, our moral duty to step up to the plate, take resposibilty, and accept that maybe a slightly higher tax on those with a higher income (which would include myself) would share the wealth, benefitting those in society that need a little extra help.

    It is impossible to demand from a government better education, health, roads, etc without expecting someone else to pay for it.


  • Comment number 43.

    I would like the effect the budget will have on the family incomes of Clegg and Cameron (income from all sources, including savings, property, investments, trusts and anticipated inheritances) to be made public, and I would then like to hear them to discuss these effects with a representative group of voters. That would cause a panic in the piggeries of Westminster, and not before time.

  • Comment number 44.

    We can afford bombs and war for Gaddafi.

    Its probable we will be obliged to help Portugal get a bail-out.

    Budget got a 1p cut in Fuel Duty but lost most of it at pump prices.
    Prices are now blamed on Middle East and North African "Unsettled problems". (Surprise Surprise)

    Mooted reduction in the winter fuel payment £250 down to £200.

    I might have joined the demo if I could afford the fuel to go.

    SHOW THEM PEEPLE POWER GRAN.

  • Comment number 45.

    sparkelmum 42

    'You want an alternative solution? Accept that it is, as decent human beings, our moral duty to step up to the plate, take resposibilty, and accept that maybe a slightly higher tax on those with a higher income'

    Your alternative soluition is what we had for 13 years under New Labour which resulted in a £150n deficit the only cure for which is the very cuts you're against. Suggest you think again and come up with another alternative.

  • Comment number 46.

    Modfar2001 43

    'I would like the effect the budget will have on the family incomes of Clegg and Cameron (income from all sources, including savings, property, investments, trusts and anticipated inheritances) to be made public'

    Not sure the precise details but given that they are in the top 2% of earners and given that the top 2% of earners are by far the biggest losers from the measures taken since the crash I doubt they have anything to hide.

  • Comment number 47.

    45. At 19:37pm on 25th Mar 2011, jobsagoodin wrote:
    "Your alternative soluition is what we had for 13 years under New Labour which resulted in a £150n deficit the only cure for which is the very cuts you're against. Suggest you think again and come up with another alternative."

    Again, the tired Tory fanfare of "It was the others what ruined us", instead of the global credit crunch, which apparently affected places 'abroad'. But why let facts get in the way of a good old, ideological, neo-liberal hollowing out of the public sector, like back in the "halcyon" days of the Eighties. Are cuts needed? Yes, no-where near as large as Osbourne's scything however. Are tax increases needed? Yes! Does the state need to fund growth and services to those in the greatest need in the aftermath of the worst global recession since the seventies? Of course. It doesn't seem to concern Tories that we're sending the next generation to hell in a handcart. I mean, as long as they're alright, everything's fine...

    Going back to 'It woz Labour wot done it', as Nye Bevan said, who needs a programme for government, when you have a bogey man to blame instead...

  • Comment number 48.

    45. At 19:37pm on 25th Mar 2011, jobsagoodin

    Public sector borrowing as a percentage of GDP never went above 35% throughout the first decade of this century - until 2008.

    In 2008 the greed of the bankers collapsed the global economy - not just in the disunited kingdom that you might blame on labour. As the economy collapsed, borrowing rose to 60% of GDP

    Sounds more like the actions of the bankers caused the problems.

    Solution would be to restart the economy and join in with the global upturn. At the moment our growth is down, our unemployment is up. Bizarrely, as the economy flounders, borrowing this february is actually higher than at the same time last year under labour.

    The tories inheritted a mess and are making it worse, not better.

  • Comment number 49.

    You don't think rural gentlepersons Gloucester is the real world do you. LOL

  • Comment number 50.

    All the above is profoundly depressing. The "private" vs "public" arguments lead to division. I remember the 80's when the idea of working to help local communities was seen as a badge of failure. The rewards were pegged accordingly. I had a friend who got an IT job then (fairly low level), and was earning twice what I did as a Residential Social Worker. Over a drunken debate she said "well, change your job". In the late 1990's, people who worked for the betterment of this country started to get equivalence (to a degree) with people in the "private" sector in regard to remuneration - i.e. for same education, skill set etc. Resentment formed based on "I am paying for you" zero sum games. This country is set still in a feudal attitude to public service. We want the best services for our tax (BTW, Public Workers pay tax as well), yet resent when the rewards are reasonable. Would you fly in an aircraft if the maintenance is performed by the company that submitted the lowest bid on price? I think that we are becoming collectively shallow and would sleep walk onto that plane while the soothing voices of Cameron and Osborne lull us into a Big Society populated by characters from Midsomer wossname - and then fly off into a world we will never know. This is a fractured society, and Politicians need to understand that stoking the fires to attempt political advantage will either be laughed at as transparent, or worse solidify into an ugly disunited "kingdom".

  • Comment number 51.

    47 SuperGarth

    But Gordon Brown said that Labour had abolished boom and bust. Now Labour plead that it was a global collapse and not us guv, really.

    This is called eating your cake and having at the same time.

    The last government has a responsibility which they and their supporters should not try to dodge. Like the bankers they are denying all responsibility.

    I am not saying if the Tories had been in power - which some would argue that they were anyway - that things would have been any different. All I and the general public want from our politicians and their supporters is some integrity. We are not stupid so stop trying to tell us that we are.

  • Comment number 52.

    Er....excuse me.......I have been paying rather a lot of Tax, N.I., VAT and Council Tax to Government, Local and Central. I pay Tax on my Fags, petrol, so called 'Luxury' items........and the last time I looked I was paying more now than 10 years ago....and I then get told I am going to get LESS services, when Councils are getting excess money LOST in Icelandic Banks. Whats going on here?????????

  • Comment number 53.

    Super Garth 47

    'It doesn't seem to concern Tories that we're sending the next generation to hell in a handcart'

    What concerns is that there are so many people in this country so stupid that they berate those who are sorting out the mess rather than those that created the mess in the first place. The cuts are supported by all those in the coalition from the right of the Tory party to the left of the Lib Dems. The idea they are ideological neo-liberals is on a par with the same delusional nonsense that gave us 'end to boom and bust'.

    As for your comment about the next genertion. Give me strength. The Labour party robbed future generations so they could go on a debt fuelled spending binge. The coalition are trying to ensure we have a future. One that doesn't end up like Greece.

  • Comment number 54.

    jon112dk 48

    and pray tell why did we end up with the worst deficit in the G20 if it was just the fault of the bankers ?

  • Comment number 55.

    Kev Girling 52

    'Whats going on here?????????'

    The coalition are sorting out the mess left behind by New Labour. A mess which included 13 successive years of tax rises with a £150bn deficit to show at the end of it.

  • Comment number 56.

    Would love to know where all these "protesters" were when Labour were making a hash of running the country, spending money they didnt have and running up a huge deficit.

    Times are hard ladies and gents, and they arent going to get better quickly. Get used to it, tighten your belts, and support a government which doesnt blithely throw money at all and sundry.

  • Comment number 57.

    This is not politics, it is finance. Take from that what you will.

  • Comment number 58.

    It's unbelievable how many 'private sector' people are anti 'public sector' it's not an exclusive club you know, it's supposed to be about public money being used for everyone, not for profit. By all means expect good value for what you give, with the hours I work it's no skin of my nose. Madeleinecolin, oh dear me. How tragic your life must be. Why do you forget to mention the other side of the coin in that bullying is more prevalent in the private sector? What have you got to gain from your approach? When the world becomes the nasty hollow place some of the critics of the public sector want it to be, history will judge you as jealous weak-minded people who cut off their noses to spite their faces. I'll be marching tomorrow, in my own time and back in work Monday doing my best for a better society when I could be paid a lot more with my qualifications if I chose to be a bit more selfish. Get rid of evil HR types that's what I say

  • Comment number 59.

    I don't know where Jay gets his/her information from: Libraries etc.. did not originate for 'ladies who lunch'! Libraries were around long before this brigade, after school clubs, and day care centres for kids etc started because mothers had to go back to work after they had their children, because one salary wasn't enough to manage a household.

    i accept that we have to have cuts because of the defecit and, in addition, we have to weed out those who are 'scamming' the Benefit System, but is it fair that people with disabilities and such like should have their benifits cut, when CEOs and MDs of Barclays and other banks are being paid huge bonuses and given immense share options running into millions ON TOP OF their already ehhorbitant salaries? why should they get bonuses on top of thier salaries when most people do their jobs just for their salaries?

  • Comment number 60.

    58

    `Get rid of evil HR types that's what I say'

    I think we can all agree on that point.

  • Comment number 61.

    58. At 21:02pm on 25th Mar 2011, Bratwurst wrote:
    ... history will judge you as jealous weak-minded people who cut off their noses to spite their faces.
    ----------------------------------------------------------

    They have all been taken into the system and believe that their hard work is for their own benefit. They will have the biggest shock when they discover they were just willing cattle at the milking parlour.

  • Comment number 62.

    To those who question the role of libraries:

    1) I could not possibly afford to buy all the books I read. Furthermore, I find paper books to be significantly better than e-books (I have tried both, so I am not speaking from a position of ignorance).

    2) They provide a (reasonably) quiet space to study.

    3) They provide free internet access (essential for the times when the home connection goes down, or for those who do not have one at all for whatever reason).


    I have no objection to the use of volunteers for late night/Sunday opening hours, but a good library still needs to be ultimately run by professional librarians.

  • Comment number 63.

    Petrarch 59

    'but is it fair that people with disabilities and such like should have their benifits cut, when CEOs and MDs of Barclays and other banks are being paid huge bonuses and given immense share options'

    The trouble with this argument is that there's nothing to be gained by taxing the bankers anymore than they are already. In fact British banks are now the most heavily taxed in the world since the coalition introduced the bank levy. Other governments (including Obama's) have failed to introduce such as levy because they believe it would reduce tax revenue not increase it. The coalition are raising as much as they can from banks (and oil companies) while trying not to destroy the ability of these companies to make profits in the first place.

  • Comment number 64.

    Sasha Millwood

    'I could not possibly afford to buy all the books I read.'

    Tough. Read fewer books then. I can't afford to dine out at all the expensive restaurants I'd like to. I suggest it's about time you stopped expecting other people to pay for your indulgences.

  • Comment number 65.

    AnotherAngle (1) wrote:

    "Over the last decade 100s of thousands of private sector workers such as myself have been made redundant as jobs have been moved abroad, and there was no mass mobilisation on our behalf."

    If more private sector workers had belonged to and supported trade unions, then perhaps there would have been.

  • Comment number 66.

    I wasn't suggesting that we tax 'bankers' more - I was stating that they should not have these huge individual bonuses for doing a job that they are already being paid an extremely good salary for. cut the bonuses and if they threaten to leave Britain and go elsewhere, then let them! We should not be held to ransom by such selfish, greedy people.

  • Comment number 67.

    If we are so broke which I believe we are then how come we are involved in yet more military action? Danny Alexander said on Question Time last night that there is a contingency fund for situations like Libya. Really how convenient. The trouble is that most MPs from all parties are not subjected to the real hardships of modern life and hence why they make up the rules as they go. Where is the growth? Where are the jobs? As unemployment rises there will be fewer revenues from income taxes, more benefits will have to paid and the cake will get smaller. Another fine mess Labour created - they should hang their heads in shame as the less well off will really suffer.

  • Comment number 68.

    Mincepie Murderer (2) wrote:

    "Don't protest unless you have an alternative solution."

    The alternative solution is to wait until recovery is well established before making cuts, if you really must. Making cuts while unemployment is still high and increasing is self defeating. It could even cause the deficit to increase, rather than to decrease.

    Those redundant private sector workers who want to see public sector workers join them on the dole, should realise that sacking public sector workers will reduce their own chances of getting a job. It will reduce demand and increase competition for the few jobs going.

  • Comment number 69.

    The whole "Big Society" Idea is a joke, people who have the time are unemployed and will be looking for work, if the Volunteer then they are not available for work and therefore there benefits will be stopped, you can only claim benefits if your available, not just when it suits you.

    The other issue is, when did we all become experts as Librarians, Social workers, or carers?

    This whole idea is flawed and should be canned now before it is too late.

    Mr Cameron got this wrong, and he needs a good kick up the jacksee!

  • Comment number 70.

    Quote " 56. At 20:56pm on 25th Mar 2011, Abritta wrote:

    Would love to know where all these "protesters" were when Labour were making a hash of running the country, spending money they didnt have and running up a huge deficit.

    Times are hard ladies and gents, and they arent going to get better quickly. Get used to it, tighten your belts, and support a government which doesnt blithely throw money at all and sundry.
    " end quote

    Indeed, but they can blithely throw away £Millions on a "Brand New War"

  • Comment number 71.

    under labour for every three pounds we spent we borrowed one

    they borrowed more than all the previous governments in history COMBINED

    even if the coalition does manage to reduce the deficit our grandchildren will be paying for their incompetence in 40 years time

    if that level of borrowing had continued UK PLC would have been bankrupt

  • Comment number 72.

    jobsagoodin [64] wrote:

    "Tough. Read fewer books then. I can't afford to dine out at all the expensive restaurants I'd like to. I suggest it's about time you stopped expecting other people to pay for your indulgences."

    ----------------

    So your solution to our economic problems is that people should read fewer books?

    Sounds like you should maybe try reading a couple yourself: you might gain some rudimentary grasp of the value of education.

  • Comment number 73.

    Quote "

    72. At 22:45pm on 25th Mar 2011, G_K___ wrote:

    So your solution to our economic problems is that people should read fewer books?

    Sounds like you should maybe try reading a couple yourself: you might gain some rudimentary grasp of the value of education.

    " end Quote

    It is time for the LIKE button.

    well said

  • Comment number 74.

    How the cuts are being implemented locally is down to how imaginative and principled the local councils are. Many are managing to make reasonable cuts. Cornwall is keeping libraries open, the well used ones that is and public sector workers are taking a pay cut to save jobs. Some things are going and there have been local protests but gloucestershire ladies marching on whitehall is not going to keep a library open. Best way to do that is to use it. I cannot see what good protesting will do, we just have to take our medicine and get on with it. Spending will still be high even after the cuts and I for one am sick of paying such high taxes in this country. This protest will be infiltrated by the extremists and it will be a repeat of the student protests and people will be moaning about the police kettling and so on. Totally irresponsible to take small children as I have heard some people saying.

  • Comment number 75.

    Quote "

    71. At 22:42pm on 25th Mar 2011, openside50 wrote:

    under labour for every three pounds we spent we borrowed one

    they borrowed more than all the previous governments in history COMBINED

    even if the coalition does manage to reduce the deficit our grandchildren will be paying for their incompetence in 40 years time

    if that level of borrowing had continued UK PLC would have been bankrupt


    " end Quote

    No doubt you were as Vociferous in your objections during the times this was happening?

    And exactly whom did we "borrow it from" ?

    What would happen if UK PLC just told the (whoever it is we owe if too) to take a run and jump, it isn't like there are bailiffs to come and take away our country!

  • Comment number 76.

    Unfortunately the march will only increase polarisation and have little constructive contribution to the problem.

    It is sad demise of British character,that we have degenerated to regular processes more typical of Greece, Portugal, and France.

    It is quite outrageous for the participants to protest about that which they themselves have directly or indirectly brought about, particularly the main sponsors and drivers of mass action, the Labour Party.

    It was incredibly cynical of them, knowing that they were about to leave office to introduce spending plans which raised expectations, and could never be afforded, merely to embarrass the incoming problem solvers.

    It is even more cynical having miss-managed the economy, in just the same way as other socialist parties had done in Greece, Portugal and elswhere, by spending money they did not have to greater and greater extents, and then pretend that they were preserving jobs by keeping the bloated public secor in employment, when public expenditure was being sent into meltdown.

    Public services have to be paid for by the wealth generated predominantly from the Private Sector. Customers generate jobs not Governments!

    It should also be born in mind that the cuts in Public Expenditure were a requirement of the EMF in order to preserve the UK's international credit, rating not
    a policy that any sane Government would initiate otherwise. Labour would have been forced to make similar cuts, at the same pace!!

    Of course the Public Sector Trades Unions are protesting. Thier feather bedded over indulged employment conditions, salaries and pensions are possibly at risk, very much as in the case of profligate Greece.

    On the other hand Clinton's creation of a Banking and Lending Sytem in the USA which offered mortgages to those who would never be able to afford them, is even more cynical. These originators of the Economic Crisis, NOT our Banks , but "Mac" and "Mae", his lending agents, grossly overspent in order to bring Bush down, and we all enjoyed the aftermath.

    A march for honesty rather than the distortions and mind games of the Labour Party and the Trades Unions, might be considered more worthwhile, but it is symptomatic of the people interested in such responses, that they are
    "getting on " with trying to constructively do things to help with the economic situation.

    There is really little point though in all this except to provide the Labour Parties main friend the BBC, and other NUJ dominated media, with more innuendo and opportunities for criticism.

  • Comment number 77.

    As a year 12 sixth former with a part time job in a rural Gloucestershire library, and whose MP is Neil Carmichael, I'd say I'm definitely going to be one of eh ones to suffer - I'll lose my EMA, which I do spend the entirety of on travel to school and supplies for school, and I'm going to lose my lob in the library when it closes. Contrary to some of the previous comments, many library workers will not receive large payouts when they become redundant - those who have been employed by the libraries service for less than two years do not even need to be given notice. As a result of both the loss of my EMA and job, I will be unable to save up for university, and my £9,000 a year fees, and subsequent debts, will be exaggerated by my living fees. Like many at my school, my parents are unable to help me with the cost of education, now or in the future. I have a friend in year 11 who, whilst extremely intelligent, is being persuaded by her parents not to go to university because of the cost and subsequent debts. The library which I work in is in a village, never the less, many people come into the library, parents with children who go through stacks of books, and who probably could not afford to buy them, students who come in to use the computers to do homework, elderly people who come in to get books and to talk, many of whom may have limited contact with the outside world without a library. Of course it is true that the cuts will affect different people differently, some may find them to their benefit. However, from my experience of the people around me, I would say that the effects are likely to be brutal.

  • Comment number 78.

    I would like to start the “big society party” with a “volunteer” to stand in every constituency – let see how MP’s feel about their jobs being taken over by the volunteer sector!

  • Comment number 79.

    64. At 21:36pm on 25th Mar 2011, jobsagoodin wrote:

    "'I could not possibly afford to buy all the books I read.'

    Tough. Read fewer books then. I can't afford to dine out at all the expensive restaurants I'd like to. I suggest it's about time you stopped expecting other people to pay for your indulgences."

    --------

    Indulgences! You can't seriously be suggesting that being able to read is an indulgence? Or, for that matter, compare it with eating out in expensive restaurants. Being able to read is hardly a luxury - unless of course you live in the third world.

    Next you'll be suggesting that we all have to pay for our own education, oh, but hang on...

  • Comment number 80.

    re: No. 64 - reading is not an indulgence! Its part of everyones education and well being ( as well as keeping them informed about local events and support) I can't believe some of these patronising comments about the ladies of gloucester.. just because its not like your own life doesn't mean its not real for someone... I probably won't be at the march as am already volunteering but I wish them all well. I am old enough to remember all the fear, anger, violence, despair and hatred in the 1980s and am praying that we don't return to it.

  • Comment number 81.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 82.

    To Helen @ 77:

    I can understand your difficulties and with regard to your university possibilities, I would recommend you (and your friend) look at somewhere like the Open University or the University of London distance learning degrees. They won't cover all courses, don't suit everybody and of course they aren't free either! However they are excellent and you can be earning at the same time (which also gains you some valuable experience compared to full-time students!).

    It's not the same experience but probably more valuable in the long run! Good luck either way.

  • Comment number 83.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 84.

    75. At 22:53pm on 25th Mar 2011, Spinonthis wrote:
    Quote "

    71. At 22:42pm on 25th Mar 2011, openside50 wrote:

    under labour for every three pounds we spent we borrowed one

    they borrowed more than all the previous governments in history COMBINED

    even if the coalition does manage to reduce the deficit our grandchildren will be paying for their incompetence in 40 years time

    if that level of borrowing had continued UK PLC would have been bankrupt


    " end Quote

    No doubt you were as Vociferous in your objections during the times this was happening?

    And exactly whom did we "borrow it from" ?

    What would happen if UK PLC just told the (whoever it is we owe if too) to take a run and jump, it isn't like there are bailiffs to come and take away our country!






    I love these comments. We borrowed one of every three. Well if you cared to look at the international banking system you would realise that the banks make 3x as much money as they lend.
    As much as we are in debt we are still not in as much as other countries. COmpared to GDP per capita (PPP) we are still well in control of our debt. Much like a family can deal with their mortgage but suffer from it at the same time.

    CAPITALISM and un-controlled markets are what make this possible...

  • Comment number 85.

    #2 Mincepie Murderer orders us "not to protest without an alternative solution".

    I ask him/her "an alternative solution to what?"

    Allowing bankers, and others, to return to pre-2008 greed and indulgence?

    I ask him/her "where was the austerity in the Icelandic solution?"

    Two fingers in the air to the bankers, and others, with a determination not to be bullied by the IMF or Federal Reserve. They seem to have done rather better than those lumbering with cuts, cuts and more cuts.

    But it is really the arrogance of this comment that takes the breath away. The total global debt is a staggering amount, ten times or more the size of one year's total GDP for every nation on the planet. It is growing ever bigger and will never reduce. It says current economic systems do not work, for us, for anybody. It says there are many alternatives but by all accounts they will cost the very people who don't want to pay anything dearly, and those very people are the bankers, and others, whose greed has got us here. I am still paying through the nose to keep them going and I would like a choice in that matter.

    So I say this to mincepie murderer. What I do on this Saturday morning is no more your darned business than what I did last Saturday morning.

  • Comment number 86.

    #62 Sasha Millwood..why dont you try your local car boot sales on a Sunday for books,there are numerous boot sales every week recycling "stuff" and most of it at a fraction of the original price,books can be bought for as little as 5p and at most 50p,it's the "New Church",whereby we all turn up and pray we find a bargain!
    Also you could try Amazon or ebay but the postage costs are the problem with this,far outweighing the cost of the original item,car boots are the best place for bargains but it will deprive you of your Sunday morning lie in.

  • Comment number 87.

    68. At 22:31pm on 25th Mar 2011, stanblogger wrote:
    Mincepie Murderer (2) wrote:

    "Don't protest unless you have an alternative solution."

    The alternative solution is to wait until recovery is well established before making cuts, if you really must. Making cuts while unemployment is still high and increasing is self defeating. It could even cause the deficit to increase, rather than to decrease.
    ==================================

    I could not agree with you more.

    You state a strategy which stands as a clear alternative to this disastrous policy of cuts - which is currently making a bad situation worse.

  • Comment number 88.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 89.

    Don't protest unless you have an alternative solution

    Yes, I can. I live in a democracy. If you don't like that, Mincepie Murderer, may I suggest you move to somewhere like China or North Korea where you are not entitled to express an opinion.

  • Comment number 90.

    I don't think a strawpoll of pensioners from a Tory heartland is particularly telling

    There remains, as far as I am aware, support for reducing the deficit and public spending, and Labour's argument remains make the hole bigger to get out of said hole (as set out by an apparatchik on the Jeremy Vine show after the budget) - in my own strawpoll of my colleagues, they generally believe we are overtaxed and that the government should reduce spending and that Keynesian ideas of spending more and more are flawed

    Nobody wants to see libraries closed (although I have begun to think they are becoming redundant, but that's a different issue), but that's a decision for local councils, who can choose to chop their own management or get rid of services (begs the question, what are they 'managing'?), heading to westminster to protest something they have little control over will do little and will probably have little national impact

    It is rather noticeable that the 'unusual suspects' outlined in the article are pensioners - dyed in the wool Tories they may be, but they are also now dependent on the state - public transport, pensions, community services, healthcare are all far more important to them than taxation, as they have all but finished paying it

    This has been true for all pensioners in the past few decades, yet they remain the most tribal of voters - concerned about libraries they may be, but are they going to change their vote to the trade union lobby group?

  • Comment number 91.

    seems to me that people have a good argument to protest...if it were an arab country we would all be supporting them.this is an appalling government, the previous brown government was even worse..where do we go from here? ..im not sure.....it seems to me that if you do the right things you get no where, if you do all the ,so called, wrong things you do all right.1 thing for sure we have at last seen the last of the liberals, they really are rubbish.

  • Comment number 92.

    @77. At 23:28pm on 25th Mar 2011, Helen wrote:
    As a result of both the loss of my EMA and job, I will be unable to save up for university, and my £9,000 a year fees,
    ============

    I wish you, and other potential students who protest this point actually read the fine print as opposed to adhering to sensationalism - YOU WILL NOT HAVE TO SAVE UP TO PAY FOR UNIVERSITY. YOU WILL ONLY PAY BACK A PERCENTAGE OF YOUR SALARY, AFTER YOU GRADUATE.

  • Comment number 93.

    #34 lefty11
    "If you stand up and be counted, from time to time you may get yourself knocked down. But remember this: A man flattened by an opponent can get up again. A man flattened by conformity stays down for good."
    — Thomas J. Watson Jr.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Watson,_Jr.
    ...Among many honors, he was called "the greatest capitalist in history"...

    Given your soubriquet, possibly not the source of choice.

    We have to reduce the deficit.

    Fact is, if Labour were in power they would not be doing anything very much different. Note Alistair Darling from a year ago:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/mar/25/alistair-darling-cut-deeper-margaret-thatcher ...Alistair Darling admitted tonight that Labour's planned cuts in public spending will be "deeper and tougher" than Margaret Thatcher's in the 1980s, as the country's leading experts on tax and spending warned that Britain faces "two parliaments of pain" to repair the black hole in the state's finances...

    ...so all of this is rather specious.

    Of course, we could choose not to cut the deficit which would lead either to confetti currency or default on bond debt. That would in turn lead to lower living standards for us all.

    To those in the public sector commenting here - I worked in the private sector for 36 years then in the public sector for the last 6. The problem is not the people. People are pretty much the same all over.

    The problem is Darwinian. If you make persistently bad decisions in the private sector your company or division or whatever it is will eventually go bust. In the public sector, it won't.

    There are exceptions to that - notably in private sector monopoly or near-monopoly organisations/industries which should have strong regulation - unforunately from public sector organisations - to remedy it.

    Perhaps regulators should be paid only according to their provable effects ? It would bring down utility prices and keep banks in line at a stroke.

  • Comment number 94.

    On BBC Breakfast this morning the demonstrators are coming from the public and voluntary sectors, and students. Now what do these groups have in common? They all expect the rest of us (in the private sector) to pay for their well-being, their retirement, and their pet projects from our taxes, whilst we also have to give our hard earned money to the sharks in the city to hopefully get a decent pension (ha ha).

    It's about time the worm turned.

  • Comment number 95.

    More spending. Fantastic. Just one Q:

    Where is the money coming from?

    [ Given the following:
    There is no appetite in the bond markets for increased issuance of UK state debt beyond current levels.
    The oft-quoted '£120bn p.a. avoided/evaded etc' is by no means collectable - even the guy who did the research says so (and HMRC says it's more like £14bn p.a. anyway).
    Want to tax bankers/ 'the rich' / whoever is your pet hate this week, at 80%/98%/(insert your favoured punitive tax rate)? Fine. They'll just leave the UK. ]

  • Comment number 96.

    Edd the duck Miliband just should not bother to attend & speak.

    He has NO alternative to offer or put to marchers and is just going to state a load of irrelevant propaganda nonsense which has no relevent meaning or basis of even existance. He & Labour are basically spinning "the emporers new clothes", with the Lib Dems in with Torys there is factually no political opposition choice for voters.

    Labour are not a choice, they are a default reality of UKs attrocious political system.

  • Comment number 97.

    "The political potency of tomorrow's anti-cuts march will be decided not just by how many protesters it attracts, but who they are."

    Nice to see the excuses being prepared.

    Countryside alliance gets 300-400,000 people on a march (depending on whether you go with police or organisers figures)... a march about hunting foxes!

    So if the anti-cuts march attracts a lot less people (as currently predicted) then suddenly for the lefties the numbers are not so relevant.

    Ah well it is saturday morning, I hope it does not rain..enjoy your march, it will make no difference whatsoever

  • Comment number 98.

    I see there are no comments about representatives of chronicaly ill and disabled people marching today about the cuts in DLA which is going to push many of these people into poverty.

    DLA is an allowance to help people with the extra cost relating to their illnesses.

    It also affects their Carers who can lose the recognition and the small benefit some are able to claim to help with caring.

    This Government are mugging these people of the money that helps them survive on a day to day basis.

    In place they are encouraging Churches and Charities to open up Foodbanks to give out food boxes in stead.

    Shame on this Government and the previous one, also this caring 21st century UK.

  • Comment number 99.

    ".....A regiment of purposeful Gloucestershire ladies were making their way to a kitchen-table meeting. Over tea from a pot and cakes from a stand, they discussed the arrangements for tomorrow. They are planning to join the protest....."

    Don't worry.
    Before the day is out, chances are these little old dears will have come across a few Socialist Workers Party headbangers out for a ruck.
    They'll soon be back within the fold.

  • Comment number 100.

    77 Helen: 'As a result of both the loss of my EMA and job, I will be unable to save up for university, and my £9,000 a year fees, and subsequent debts, will be exaggerated by my living fees.'

    As Piggyback (92) has stated - you will not pay a penny of your fees!!!

    You do not need to save up for them, they are repaid only once you have a job (effectively a tax), you may never even pay them off

    Contrast this with myself - I actually had to work and save to pay three and a half grand up front, you do not, so please get your facts straight

    Some other points - as a year 12 student, you should have done your applications and have your offers, the '9000 a year fees' have not even been finalised and won't be in effect by this September

    If anything you should be able to better afford your living fees because they will be your sole costs, maybe you need a loan, maybe you don't - but you are (or would be if this applied to you) in a much better position to pay rent and food than the last 15 or so years worth of students

    I find it odd that someone should be expecting to go to a top university (these are the ones charging the 9000) and yet does not grasp the simple concept that you will not pay from your savings, I also note the odd reference to EMA payments - which you will not be losing as it was only closed to new applicants after Jan 2011 - adding up all these strange factual errors and alarming similarities to Labour lines I can only guess you are a plant

 

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