A familiar sight: The Boys in … Fluorescent Yellow were a prominent part of the anti-Conservative demonstration – whether they wanted to protest against the Tories or not.
It has been dubbed an anti-austerity march, but that would be doing the variety of protests and depth of feeling a disservice.
The anti-Conservative event in Manchester city centre today (Sunday, October 4) attracted at least 80,000 people (don’t believe the estimates of 60,000 – police always round down by thousands) from all walks of life and for many reasons.
It was an overwhelmingly good-natured event, as the following photos demonstrate – but, as usual, there were still a few people who had to try to spoil it for everyone else.
So one conference delegate was hit by an egg, and several journalists were left shaken after a handful of idiots spat on them, calling them Tories.
Maybe they felt justified attacking the Torygraph‘s Kate McCann (they weren’t) but what they thought they were achieving by attacking the Huffington Post‘s Owen Bennett or Channel 4 News reporter Michael Crick is anybody’s guess – both the HuffPost and C4News have supported critics of the Conservative Government with fair reports.
Meanwhile, the venue for the Conservative Party conference, and the nearby Midland Hotel, have been surrounded by a so-called “ring of steel”. This indicates that the 12,000 Tories who have gathered in Manchester for their annual party conference may be thinking that holding it in an anti-Tory stronghold might not have been such a good statement of power and indifference to protest after all.
Inside, Tories are dedicated to pushing through their new Trade Union Bill, which will restrict industrial action and make it possible for employers to hire agency staff during strikes; and David Cameron announced on TV earlier in the day that the Tories will go ahead with cuts to in-work tax credits. He said they were part of a package that will make people better-off, but you’d be a fool to believe him.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn sent a message of support to the tens of thousands of demonstrators.
Junior doctors marching in Manchester.
Campaigners against NHS privatisation. Notice the ‘pig’ poster in the background – that’s a story David Cameron won’t be living down any time soon.
The Student Assembly Against Austerity was marching against racist scapegoating.
Iain Duncan Smith might deny the accusations, but the people of the UK can make up their own minds.
The Tories would have you believe this is the ugly face of popular protest in the UK today. What do you think?
The marchers lined the streets of Manchester.
Surrounded by yellow flags, teachers were speaking out for education and saying no to austerity in the Manchester sun with ATL Union.
Get the message?
Protesters confront Conservative Party delegates.
Reinstated PCS rep Candy Udwin with colleagues from the National Gallery in Manchester.
This Conservative ended up with egg on his face after brandishing a picture of Margaret Thatcher at the crowd…
… and this is how at least one of his colleagues saw fit to respond.
One of the worst things a person can be accused of at the moment appears to be a ‘deficit-denier’, as apparently it is irresponsible to think it okay when a Government spends more than it takes in in taxes – even though in fact it is and holding that view is not the same as ‘denying’ that there is a deficit.
I am far more irritated by poverty-deniers. For one reason, they genuinely do deny that the problem of poverty exists when it plainly does. But for another, the specious reasons they come up with to support their view are so shallow that it should hardly be necessary to debunk them.
Now Lord Alan Sugar is the one having a go. He insists that there is no such thing as poverty in the UK, through his shrewd, scientific, in-depth analysis and canny powers of deductive reasoning. Which is to say, he thinks that everybody owns a mobile phone, therefore everybody must be quite well-off.
Now, it is hard for me to establish whether anyone has bothered to tell Lord Sugar yet, but I feel it my duty to point out that the year 1997 ended quite some time ago. Whether or not we really believe that everybody owns a mobile phone – of course it is not true anyway – Sugar’s reasoning is like assuming someone must be happy just because they are capable of smiling.
Jeremy Corbyn has urged activists protesting at the Conservative Party conference to refrain from “personal attacks”.
The Labour leader will head to Manchester, where the Tories are gathering, to take part in a rally as part of a campaign to protect postal services.
A series of demonstrations and protest events are planned, backed by unions and other campaign groups, while the Conservative conference takes place.
Party leaders have traditionally stayed away from their rivals’ conferences, but Mr Corbyn will address a public meeting organised by the Communication Workers’ Union on Monday in Manchester.
In a message on Twitter, Mr Corbyn said: “Ahead of Tory Conference I urge all activists to focus on policy & to take no part in personal attacks.”
A flash mob at Manchester Piccadilly railway station featured protesters waving placards reading “Tories not welcome, go home” and a knitted banner reading “don’t stitch us up”.
A protest camp, which featured an all night rave attended by around 200 people, was set up in Piccadilly Gardens in the city centre, leading to “numerous complaints from residents and local businesses about noise levels”, police said.
Unhealthy: Has Jeremy Hunt hidden more bad news about the Conservative Government’s disastrous handling of the NHS?
Government ministers have buried NHS statistics that show the service hurtling towards an unprecedented £2bn deficit to avoid overshadowing the Tory party conference, say top NHS officials.
One senior figure at the health service regulator Monitor said his organisation had been “leaned on” by Whitehall to delay its report, which shows that NHS finances are worsening.
Neither Monitor’s quarterly report on how the NHS is faring, nor equivalent data from the NHS Trust Development Authority (TDA), have been published, as they usually are around the time of the organisations’ board meetings last month. Hospital trusts passed their information to the two regulators two months ago.
NHS insiders said it was “very, very odd” and significant that, in a departure from its usual practice, Monitor discussed the financial and treatment waiting time performance of the 152 foundation trusts it regulates in the private – rather than the public – session of its board meeting last Wednesday.
Bosses of NHS hospitals who were expecting to see the matching data for the non-foundation trusts overseen by the TDA, an arm of the Department of Health, are concerned that it is the first time that its board has failed to publish key statistics when it has held its regular monthly meeting.
Sources at the TDA and Monitor confirmed to the Observer that both organisations had been asked to delay publication, which means the figures will not appear until later this week or next.
This would not be the first time Conservatives have hidden important information about the effects of their policies on the NHS. Does anyone remember the notorious ‘risk register’, showing threats to the service created by the Health and Social Care Act that allowed private healthcare providers to tender for NHS contracts? It was never published.
Perhaps if the risk register had been made public in 2012, the service would not be facing a £2 billion shortfall in funds now.
Would Jeremy Corbyn have run away from a chance to talk to the people? Even if those people were against him?
But David Cameron did it in Manchester yesterday.
Perhaps he had a meal waiting for him inside his nice luxury hotel – pork, or gammon, or maybe a bacon sandwich…
David Cameron was berated as he arrived for the Tory party conference in Manchester on Saturday. Protesters gathered outside the Midlands hotel waiting to chide the PM over the Government’s austerity measures.
Cameron refused to speak to reporters as he arrived in the city centre, but would have heard the demonstrators outside the secure zone surrounding the hotel and Manchester Central conference centre.
Anti-Tory protesters have scheduled a march on Sunday, the day of the conference opening. Fledgling Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is expected in Manchester on Monday, and will take the stump to address the gathered masses in opposition to Tory reforms.
Councils and local authorities are to be blocked from boycotting Israeli products or pursuing other foreign policy goals that conflict with the government.
Conservative aides said the measure was a response to growing concern about the “militant actions of leftwing councils” that they claimed was spurred on by the Labour leadership.
The new rules will stop politically motivated boycott and divestment campaigns by town halls against UK defence companies and against Israel.
The Cabinet Office minister, Matthew Hancock, said the action was intended to prevent “playground politics” from councils.
The government will amend pension legislation to make clear that using pensions and procurement policies to pursue boycotts, divestments and sanctions campaigns against other countries and the UK defence industry are inappropriate, unless they are in line with action on a national level.
Local authorities have in the past introduced investment or boycott policies designed to punish companies and countries they disagree with politically. Last November, Leicester city council agreed a boycott on products from Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Doesn’t it seem as though the Conservative Government is cracking down on dissent by forcing other democratically-elected bodies to follow Tory spending policies?
Doesn’t it seem as though the Conservative Government is forcing local authorities to spend their precious funds only on Tory-approved third parties, no matter how expensive or inappropriate?
Doesn’t it seem as though members of the Conservative Government might have a personal financial interest in ensuring local authorities behave that way?
Isn’t it therefore likely to be not only inappropriate but actually illegal to force councils to spend their funds in this way?
How many Conservative MPs have financial interests in this particular policy line?
Has anybody checked out Matthew Hancock in the register of members’ interests?
And look at the language being used: “Playground politics”, “militant actions of leftwing councils”. Look at what those councils are doing and you’ll see they are steering clear from investing in organisations that may have questionable motives – but the Tories don’t want people to think about that, so they’re using pejorative language to put us off.
The simple fact that the Tories are demanding that local authorities put their money into those organisations raises serious questions about the priorities of the Conservative Party.
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