This absurd scheme that is apparently aimed at bringing politics to the people could not be more artificial or tedious if it tried. Surrounded by police and bodyguards whilst driving around Glasgow in various luxury cars, cabinet ministers ventured off to hear what the man and women on the street needs, via a number of pre-prepared stage-managed visits to various locations, including the University of Glasgow and child care centres before meeting for the showpiece event itself; a meeting and press conference at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, by the Clyde. Trouble was that the organisers seemed to have made a slight mistake in their attempt to reach the people. At this by invitation only event it would seem that only well groomed ladies and gentlemen with expensive suits and fancy salaries to match were able to attend.
Glaswegians have a reputation for not being held back by such formalities and today was to be no different! The traditions of Red Clydeside have not died and the emergence of new industrial disputes, a campaign against primary school closures and the occupation of Strathclyde and Glasgow Universities in recent months are rekindling the flames. So, as well as his assorted of bureaucrats and big business bosses, Mr Brown was given a taste of what the people think in the form of a demonstration that reached across all these struggles. The save our schools campaign was joined by university students as well as Glasgow City Council care workers who have been on strike since November in an admirable and brave campaign fighting against the council’s scandalous decision to place them down a pay grade and to refuse to recognise their skilled and often stressful work.
Some of the protestors were able to enter the SECC, clearly a security mistake rather than a genuine attempt at engagement! Upon entering they queued up attempting to enter the meeting, only to be refused as apparently they weren’t invited to meet the people who apparently serve as their ministers as they try to speak to the country. When refused entry the protestors decided to make their views known by other means and shouted slogans including ‘students and workers unite and fight!’ and ‘bail our people not bankers!’ Despite the protestors entirely nonviolent character they were forcibly removed by police. Throughout the demonstration, inside and outside, the police, including many armed with machine guns, were exceedingly hostile. The demonstrators were forced into a small space far from the entrance as a huge space was cordoned off. This fine attempt at public engagement included not only armed officers but also police horses and a general swarm of yellow jacketed officers, vans and police cars. These events only follow on from those of the G20 protests and expose the true nature of the British state and also raise the question of how much this ridiculous event must have cost in the taxes of working people!
The workers and youth of Glasgow have clearly shown they are not prepared to accept the attacks of the bankers who caused this crisis or their lackeys in government. This is the music of the future. As the crisis deepens a new range of struggles has emerged whilst the struggle for a better world is just beginning.