The Torch Light protest in Manchester: A cynical cover by Labour for complicity in austerity cuts
Dennis Moore and Robert Stevens
1 March 2017
A march and rally organised last Saturday by the Manchester City Council and trade unions attracted fewer than 400 people. The entire event was an object lesson in cynicism and dishonesty, with those attending witnessing the obscene spectacle of the council protesting its own cuts!
The evening event had previously been hyped as a “Torch Light March” against the government’s continued cuts to social care and schools. All of those who spoke constantly referred to “Tory” government cuts, as if they had nothing to do with the cuts being imposed on Manchester’s population. No one addressed the fact that the austerity offensive, which has devastated the lives of millions of working class people in towns and cities nationwide, was initiated by the 2007-2010 Brown Labour government.
No call was made for a fight against the cuts. Instead, the event focussed on a reactionary regionalist appeal to the government not to demand such harsh cuts of Manchester council. On its Facebook page, the event called on those attending to “Stand up for your city”. One would never have known that billions of pounds in cuts were being enforced in every urbanised centre in the UK.
At the march, the organisers launched the “Manchester Petition”. The petition called on “[Prime Minister] Theresa May and her Government to fully fund Social Care and Schools in Manchester.” Petitions are to be handed out across the city by the council and their union backers, before being taken to Downing Street on March 7, the day before next week’s budget is published.
In the run-up to the march, which had been widely promoted, one of the…