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Half a million protest UK budget cuts

Written By: - Date published: 10:27 am, March 28th, 2011 - 36 comments
Categories: activism, uk politics - Tags:

I’ve been checking out some of the amazing footage and photos from friends who were in the London ‘March for the Alternative’. 500,000 people turned out to show the depth of feeling against the slash and burn budget of the Conservative-Lib Dem government. As the Nats plan their own shock doctrine budget, I hope they’re taking notes.

As in New Zealand, a rightwing government is exploiting the UK’s economic woes to the advantage of the rich. The wealthy elite are getting to keep their tax loopholes while ordinary people face savage cuts to their social wage, and the cuts create a tide of new unemployed on top of already rampant joblessness.

I can’t recall a government that has lost popularity so quickly as the Lib/Cons. Check out the poll of polls, there’s barely any honeymoon period.

The UK people got buyer’s remorse nearly immediately.

Of course, in New Zealand, the trend hasn’t been so marked, yet. But here, thanks to the excellent state of the government’s books when National took over, they were able to delay their black budget until this year, and gave out tax cuts for the rich on borrowed money in other years instead. And that trend is closing … albeit slowly.

On a side note, on Q+A yesterday Phil Goff responded to Paul Holmes’ inane ‘you’re languishing in the polls’ comment by pointing out that Labour is higher now than it was last election. The media have written Labour off but despite being fed that line constantly, the people of New Zealand have not, they are moving back to the Left, in spite of what the talking heads say.*

*And before the righties say anything, what do you think people will think about when they choose whether to vote for more Key or change? Some ex-MP or the failure of the government to deliver on any of its promises?


36 comments on “Half a million protest UK budget cuts”

  1. Labour is higher now than it was last election

    They got 34% in the last election and – according to the Pundit aggregated poll – they’re now on 33.1%

    • Bright Red 1.1

      you mean the pundit poll of polls that says it was last updated three months ago?

      Clearly, Labour’s not doing flash but just comparing their support to National’s is silly. We don’t live in a two party system.

      I just went over to Roy Morgan and copied their poll results for the last three months. Averages are:

      Lab: 33.2%
      Green: 7.5%
      Prog: 0.2

      Left = 40.9%

      Nat: 51.1%
      Act: 1.1%

      Right = 52.2%

      Maori Party: 2.3%
      United Future: 0.3%

      Political whores = 2.6%

      New Zealand First wildcard = 3.8%

      Other: 0.6%

      Look at those numbers. The Right is far from home and hosed. If it polls below 48% (it’s gone as low as 48.5% in the RM pols) National and it needs both ACT and the Maori Party to support every law to pass them. And if the numbers mean that National needs the Maori Party to get a majority that means there’s also a Labour-led majority including the Maori Party.

      NZF gets just over 1% more and suddenly you’ve got a whole new player. Not to mention Hone’s party.

      I think the odds of a ‘clean’ Labour + Green + NZF (or Maori Party, or New Left) government aren’t great but neither is a simple National-led government, unless you think that the Maori Party will happily vote alongside ACT on everything, when they currently vote against each other 60% of the time. http://theyworkforyou.co.nz/parliaments/49

      There’s actually a significant chance that no stable government will be able to be formed.

      The task for the Left, though, is clear: get another 4-5% of voters to come back. Not impossible, it just means repeating what has already happened since mid 2009.

  2. More importantly, in the last election they were 11 points behind National – now they’re 20 points behind. They’re in a terrible, terrible position. They shouldn’t kid themselves about that.

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 2.1

      Actually National’s position is not as strong as you make out. Given the schism in the Maori Party, National will struggle to form government if they do not get more than 45-46%.

      IMO Labour are way too comfortable for their own good- they will be happy to get back in 4 years time. Why else are Goff and King untouched in their jobs? Given our pathetic economic performance during this term of government both main parties deserve a kick up the bum.

      • Deadly_NZ 2.1.1

        And with so called journalists like the poison dwarf I saw on Q&A then I suppose that most of the public will believe what they see on TV. So lets hope that they saw an out of control Dwarf shouting , grunting, and almost calling Goff a liar. And a calm and collected politician trying so hard not to wince, (or was it trying so hard not to burst out laughing) at the baying Dwarf spewing his hatred and version of the truth.

  3. pmofnz 3

    “social wage”???

    A wage is earnt, not delivered as a benefit.

    • Bright Red 3.1

      The social wage isn’t benefits, it’s public services. Fukken hell, haven’t people heard of google?

      social wage: “The benefits to workers which come from a source other than the wage component of their pay packets. The social wage comprises benefits such as: healthcare, superannuation, child care and family payments, including maternity allowance. ”

      it’s the public services that we pay for with our taxes. If we didn’t get them through the public system, we would pay for them out of pocket (at greater cost) instead, thus decreasing our disposable income. Therefore, getting public services effectively boosts our disposable income, hence the term social wage.


      • pmofnz 3.1.1

        social wage: “The benefits to workers…”


        • Bright Red

          that’s the stupidest thing I’ve read all day.

          You’re confusing welfare payments with the gains (benefits) that people gain from being able to use public services.

          The fact that you see the word benefits and think it must mean ‘welfare payments’ despite the words that follow suggests you don’t understand the english language. QED.

          • pmofnz

            I have no problem understanding the English language.

            There is no way to describe the redistribution of my taxes into ‘healthcare, superannuation, child care and family payments, including maternity allowance’ as anything other than a benefit. An unearnt benefit to the recipient.

            Redistributive welfare payments dressed up as a ‘social wage’ may sound nice and touchy feely to the recipient, whereas to those that pay taxes funding such largesse, it is nothing but theft.

            • Bright Red

              social wage is a widely used term to discribe the effective income increase we all enjoy through the use of public services that we pay for through our taxes.

              you can cry about it all you like, but do it over in the corner, eh?

              • Or prisons. Don’t forget prisons. Interviewed, in front of an audience of Captains of Industry, the Assistant Commissioner of Corrections over here, after he’s proudly talked about what a bonanza for contractors and tradespeople the building of new prisons and expanding of existing ones was going to be.

                He had a graph that projected as far ahead as 2031 and the prison population was just steadily rising the entire time… and that’s in a state that has a booming economy, not a knackered one.

                My first question was “why?”. “Why what?” “Why does the graph go up like that? Are we all lawless sociopaths just waiting for our chance to maim and steal? Or are our children? What are the causes?”

                A moment’s silence ensued. Not even an embarrassed one though. “Not our job to know why!” he decided. “Did I mention how much money you all stand to make?”


                Not being mugged and then paying $100k a year to keep my mugger in a prison = social wage I’m happy to pay.

            • KJT

              Except when it is to pay for police so the poor don’t battle your gates down. Eh!

              It is not theft It is just charging you your share for living in a functioning society..

              I notice all the taxation is theft types are crowding around with their hands out when it is coming to them. EG. South Canterbury finance bailouts, Superannuation or flood relief for non tax paying cockies.

            • Pascal's bookie

              ” it is nothing but theft”

              Then call the cops, shoot the burglars, or stop whinging.

  4. Gosman 4

    Unfortunately for all the lefties who are crowing over the poll numbers for the Cameron led Government in the UK, the next election doesn’t need to be held for 4 more years so it doesn’t matter how low they get at this stage.

    I seem to remember that the Thatcher Government in the early eighties was also rather unpopular in the first term. How long did that last again?

    • Pascal's bookie 4.1

      I don’t think the argies are coming to Cam’s rescue gos.

      • Gosman 4.1.1

        The trouble for you is that noone can know what will happen in four years. The Argentinians might not come to his resue but all manner of stuff might. The opposition Labour party might implode internally for example. I mean it’s not like this hasn’t happened before in other places.

        • Pascal's bookie

          So therefore it doesn’t matter how low they go at the moment. Right.

          Your theory relies on a Falklands war type event. Good luck with that.

          • Gosman

            No it doesn’t. Why do you think it does?

            • felix

              Because as evidence to support your claim that:
              “it doesn’t matter how low they get at this stage”

              you presented:
              “the Thatcher Government in the early eighties was also rather unpopular in the first term”

              So is the Thatcher govt a relevant comparison or not? You choose.

          • Lanthanide

            “Your theory relies on a Falklands war type event. Good luck with that.”

            I’d say Peak Oil could make a nice black swan for any number of outcomes. Can’t think of particular outcomes that would benefit incumbent governments anywhere, though.

    • Shane Gallagher 4.2

      That old hag started a war to get re-elected.

      The Lib Dems are the Tory’s Achilles heel. Hopefully the rank and file will rebel as they realise they will be massacred in the next election if they don’t pull out of government.

      • Gosman 4.2.1

        I don’t think Thatcher started the war, unless she had a direct line to the Junta and they did her bidding.

        • Shane Gallagher

          Her govt. ordered the Royal Navy to leave the Falklands unprotected knowing that the Argentineans wanted the islands back and the military junta was faced with constant civil unrest and needed a distraction – a war to unite the country in patriotic fervour. The Royal Navy protested at the time saying that Argentina would probably invade. They did. There was a peace accord being formulated by the Chileans so the Brits sank the Belgrano before the peace accord could be delivered officially to the British. Thatcher wanted a war to make sure she got elected and she made damn sure she was going to get one.

          So they both needed a war and a win. The Brits won and the Torys got reelected – the junta lost and got booted out.

  5. deemac 5

    I am sorry: the only thing you can “protest” is your innocence. You protest AGAINST cuts etc.

  6. Tiger Mountain 6

    Well you can’t rely on voting yourself out of the way of Keys slasher, particularly this election, so the PSA (public service association) and related unions need to take some industrial action or say hasta la bye bye to any credible presence in a second term, sell the nations silver, National govt.

    How about a campaign “not one more job” (allowed to be cut without the govt. experiencing a reaction), with a related media blitz and engagement with communities. Need it be spelt out by a mere commenter?
    • online-blogs, FB & Twitter, • clothing/posters/decals • Days of….for certain departments
    • appropriate stoppage action • rolling actions • combined sick leave days

    Have some NZ workers totally lost the plot, or is it just union leaderships having a crisis of confidence to even test the membership? Or is it a dirty little secret that heaps of public servants actually voted for Shonkey? Who knows I guess, but what is apparent is if UK public, mid east workers under repressive regimes, & Wisconsin USA state workers can stand up (finally) and have a collective go, why can’t kiwis?

    • Keith J 6.1

      This kind of attitude:

      “How about a campaign “not one more job” (allowed to be cut without the govt. experiencing a reaction), ”

      …is just as insane as the “all taxation is theft” line from the other side. Outright denial that a dollar could ever be misspent in the public service, or a refusal to allow public service employees to ever lose their jobs, without proper assessment of the particular situation just does significant damage to the reputation of the left. Because even the people who don’t want to see cuts in general can see that there are imperfections in the public service.

  7. exbrethren 7

    UK is completely different case.

    1. Cameron has never had the kind of support that Key does. As much as we dislike him he does undeniably appeal to people across traditional electoral divides.

    2. UK economy is totally rooted – their austerity measures are far more painful than anything implemented here and there is a sense of despair in the general population, not just activists.

    3. UK Labour made a significant break from their previous leadership and moved on a generation, you’d have to be delusional if you think that crappy Goff could inspire any kind of movement in and out of the debating chamber in the way that Miliband has.

  8. Has this been reported by our news media .I think not. Our news media is pathetic ,run completly by the political Right. The consistent attacks on Goff are shocking . However its nothing new is it? The personal attacks on Helen Clark were a disgrace and shamefull and I for one thought that when Helen retired the personal attacks on Labour members would stop . Some hope the Tories are masters at sleaze politics it will just go on until the public say enough ,and Im not holding my breath,.

  9. Armchair Critic 9

    Meanwhile the government meets tonight to determine how to cut $800m of new spending.
    Time to start marching?

  10. fatty 10

    I just read that article too;

    “Government ministers are making “good progress” finding areas to cut spending so it can be reallocated to health, education and justice in the budget, Prime Minister John Key says.”

    Yeah…I bet they are…I bet they are making a lot of fuckin progress.

    Is this the kind of justice they are talking about?;


    …didn’t think so.

  11. rosy 11

    Read in the Daily Mail yesterday (on a plane, I had no choice!) store owners are upset police didn’t do more to protect their property during the UKUncut sit-ins. The reason for the sit-ins is that these companies Don’t Pay Tax…. so they want protection for free. Bludgers.

  12. John D 12

    The British economy is stuffed. They have over one trillion pounds of public debt. There is no money to pay anyone in the public sector.

    Furthermore, the cuts are not really cuts at all, Public spending is actually increasing

    As the EU continues to apply a tourniquet around the economies of Europe, we watch with bemused amusement as the fine people of European nations embark on the path of slaughtering each other once again.

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