Anyone with a heart would be hard-pressed to say that living in Tory Britain — with the particularly savage dolts currently in Downing Street and in the Cabinet — is anything less than an ordeal. Through their treatment of the disabled alone, ministers have taken a route that is thoroughly depressing on a permanent basis, as the government — and its overpaid puppets in the French multinational Atos Healthcare — systematically pursue a policy of making disabled people undergo tests designed to prove that they are fit for work — when they are not — to cut their state support.
The stress and the impoverishment of those who should be helped rather than put through this callous ordeal — and which is repeated if claimants manage to prove that they are unfit for work, or if they successfully appeal (as a majority do) — enrages me on a daily basis, but they are not the only casualties of the Tories’ shrinking state — one which, shockingly, public sector expenditure will plummet to a smaller percentage of GDP than the US by 2017.
In the two years and five months since David Cameron and his Cabinet butchers seized power through a coalition with the Liberal Democrats, all but the rich have been targeted by the Tories — schoolchildren, students, the poorly paid, the old, the ill, the homeless, the unemployed and the disabled. My archive of articles about the Tories’ wretched policies, and the resistance to them, is here.
Through a combination of apathy, indifference and propaganda, the Tories are still largely getting away with their malignant project, as those who oppose them have been marginalised and disempowered over the last decade, and the Labour Party has still not remembered its origins. On Saturday, however, the TUC (Trades Union Congress), the umbrella group representing most of Britain’s 6.4 million unionised workers, broke an 18-month silence since the massive national protest in March 2011 (the “March for the Alternative“), to stage “A Future That Works,” a march and rally in central London that was spectacularly well attended, with at least 150,000 people, from all over the country, packing Victoria Embankment and marching to Hyde Park. It took two hours for the last of those marching to leave Victoria Embankment, and by the time the last of the marchers reached Hyde Park, the rally had already ended.
For me, it really was a reminder that I’m not alone in resisting the Tories, and I’m sure many other people felt energised by the experience. As these photos show, hopefully, as well as being a day of networking and celebrating our belief in solidarity and socialist principles, it was also a day of creative dissent.
More photos will follow soon.
Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed — and I can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Flickr (my photos) and YouTube. Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in April 2012, “The Complete Guantánamo Files,” a 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011, and details about the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, and available on DVD here — or here for the US). Also see my definitive Guantánamo habeas list and the chronological list of all my articles, and please also consider joining the new “Close Guantánamo campaign,” and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.
Thanks for the interest, my friends. More photos to follow, but I was out most of today – first visiting the Cartoon Museum with my family, for an hour of the wonderful Jamie Smart (the Dandy and more) talking about his life in cartooning. He’s one of my son’s heroes! Then across town to Victoria and the train to Lewes for an excellent evening with the Lewes Amnesty Group – screening of “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantanamo” with an audience of 200, followed by a discussion with Caroline Lucas MP, Norman Baker MP, Omar Deghayes and myself. We were close to hiring coaches there and then, coming to London, occupying William Hague’s office and not leaving until Shaker Aamer is released. Really.
Before the screening, I had an hour to cycle around Lewes in the drizzle taking photos. That was lovely. Photographed Tom Paine’s house. Also walked around with Omar while the film was on, as we’ve both seen it so many times, which was also lovely. After the event, I got back to East Croydon on the train at about 11.20 and then had to cycle back as there were no more connections to south east London. It was still drizzling, but it was a bit of a magical adventure getting back home at night – and managing to get up South Norwood Hill!
Thanks for sharing this very informative post! Hope to see more pictures soon.
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