After spending most of the week following the general election wheeling and dealing his way to power, David Cameron expected his first prime ministerial visit to Scotland to be somewhat more dignified. However this was not to be as the Tory leader was once again forced in and out of the back doors. This time it wasn’t to woo the Liberals but to flee from protestors!
As is usually the case when statesmen travel the country to “meet the people,” Cameron’s visit was shrouded in mystery and the public only found out about it the evening beforehand. Despite this, by reacting quickly and mobilising people over the internet, a protest of around 200 people was assembled at the parliament by midday. Cameron couldn’t even turn up on time for his own press conference, which he had planned to hold in the courtyard outside the parliament. Rather than speak to the masses, he cowered inside - seemingly those who aren’t sympathetic to the Tories don’t count as part of “big society”. The protest remained lively in spite of the rain, with cover being provided by the entrance of the Scottish parliament, perhaps the first time its £0.5billion design has come in use for the people of Scotland.
After this the demonstration dispersed and most people thought that the day was over. However, some comrades following news reports got word that Cameron had gone to meet Alex Salmond at St Andrew’s house. Unfortunately, there was no clear chain of organisation inside the protest that had been called quite spontaneously and the Right to Work campaign who had the biggest presence didn’t spread the information amongst their people. Yet two small groups did make their way to St Andrew’s house, around 15 in total. Once there we were promptly stopped by police and instructed that we weren’t allowed to stand on the street. After standing our ground for a few minutes and with media cameras swarming around us, quite clearly wanting to cover an arrest, it was clear that we unfortunately didn’t have the numbers to maintain this position. We were then shepherded into a pen by the corner of the offices. Welcome to Freedom of Assembly in Cameron’s Britain!
Cameron’s cavalcade departed to chants of "scum" and "no ifs no buts fight Tory cuts!" It’s worth noting there were a Jaguar and a Mercedes amongst the cars, so much for cheap government and disbanding ministerial cars. The protestors received friendly waves from the civil servants in St Andrews house, whilst we made clear that we supported the struggle of the PCS union against attacks on severance payments. This was just the first of many anti-Tory mobilisations to come. The phoney war will be over with the publication of the austerity budget in the next 50 days. This wasn’t a bad first round thought!