The demonstration assembled on East Market Street. All the major unions were represented and had mustered large contingents headed by balloons, placards and banners, most striking of which were the RMT's emblazoned with a red fist and the slogan “Organise!” Over 100 coaches from union branches up and down the country had brought people to the demo. The march took some time to travel the short distance to Princes Street Gardens, due to the sheer number of demonstrators, and even well after the speeches had started people were still pouring into the park. The speeches were fiery and full of rhetoric: Joy Dunn, STUC President, called for “organised strike action” to defeat the cuts.
The turn-out for the demonstration shows the depth of anger among the Scottish working class at the savage cuts the Tories are about to implement. The march on Saturday was a good start to the fightback but, as the STUC have said, it is only a start. The aims of the “There is a Better Way” campaign to stop cuts and job losses in public services are definitely correct and to be supported, but we need to make concrete how exactly we are going to fight the cuts and what we want as an alternative.
Now the STUC must take the next logical step and call a one day strike throughout the public sector in Scotland, and call on the TUC nationally to do the same. That would send a very clear message to the Tories that we won't stand for this onslaught against our services. But even that would only be a beginning: unions throughout Scotland need to pressure councils and the Scottish parliament to defy the cuts and draw-up deficit budgets and then fight, with the support of the labour movement, against the attacks from the Tory-Lib Dem coalition that would follow.We need to clearly state: In short we won’t pay for the crisis caused by the bankers and we need an end to a system which even in an apparent boom was characterized by unemployment, longer hours and cuts in public services. We don't what cuts, we do want full-employment, decent social housing, a living wage, a real pension, benefits worthy of the name; not starvation rations. Only through the nationalisation of the banks and big business, in order to organise the economy for the good of working people not a few bankers and bosses, can we make these demands a reality.