Why we need to March for the Alternative

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber explains why the March for the Alternative has come just in time.

Destination London: The TUC "March For The Alternative", March 26, 2011; click to enter the official website

Brendan Barber is the general secretary of the TUC


The March for the Alternative has come at just the right time.

On Wednesday we had what was proclaimed as a budget for growth which the chancellor’s own advisers in the Office for Budget Responsibility promptly said was no such thing, and most people seem to have already forgotten. It is now much harder to dismiss the warnings we made last year that these deep cuts will harm the economy by hitting consumer and business confidence.

Even the boss of Sainsbury’s is blaming poor results on what the Daily Mail calls “uncertain employment prospects and government spending cuts”.

Next week, as the financial year starts, the cuts will really start to bite. Local councils and community groups will start closing services and sacking staff in their thousands.

The NHS reforms seem to run into more difficulties every week as first the Lib Dems and even Conservative backbenchers get increasingly assertive in their opposition.

The government is losing the argument. Big majorities now say the cuts are unfair and that they are damaging the economy.

All round the country campaign groups are springing up to battle the cuts. Almost every part of the public sector has seen people coming together to stand up to defend their bit of the public realm. And there have been victories too with at least partial U-turns on forestry, school sport and even the NHS reforms.

Although the papers are full of right wing commentators saying that we are no more than a minority vested interest, a new YouGov poll today shows that it is they who are losing. When asked, “Generally speaking, do you support or oppose the aim of the march to campaign against public sector spending cuts?” 52% say yes and only 31% say no. Even one in five Conservative voters agree with us.

That is why the turn-out today promises to be huge.

Of course I do not expect an ashen-faced David Cameron and contrite Nick Clegg to hold an emergency press conference tomorrow where they announce that they have been wrong all along. Nor do I think that a single demonstration – however big – adds up to a campaign.

But what the TUC is doing today is providing a national focus that can bring together local and sectoral campaigners. It will be a huge morale boost. All of us who say that what the coalition is doing is a deliberate political choice, not an economic necessity, will take heart.

And the real test today is not the turn-out but whether we return home even more determined to defend public services and step up the arguments for the alternative.

29 Responses to “Why we need to March for the Alternative”

  1. Zoe Sutherland

    RT @leftfootfwd Why we need to March for the Alternative: http://bit.ly/hklFqU by TUC general secretary Brendan Barber @March26March

  2. snake

    RT @leftfootfwd: Why we need to March for the Alternative: http://bit.ly/hklFqU by TUC general secretary Brendan Barber @March26March

  3. Birmingham Feminists

    RT @leftfootfwd: Why we need to March for the Alternative: http://bit.ly/hklFqU by TUC general secretary Brendan Barber @March26March

  4. Knut Cayce

    RT @leftfootfwd: Why we need to March for the Alternative: http://bit.ly/hklFqU by TUC general secretary Brendan Barber @March26March

  5. Paul Krishnamurty

    RT @leftfootfwd: Why we need to March for the Alternative: http://bit.ly/hklFqU by TUC general secretary Brendan Barber @March26March

  6. portugaluncut

    Marchar pela alternativa, porque os cortes são uma escolha política deliberada, e não uma necessidade económica…. http://fb.me/UAYAHG7i

  7. vikz

    Why we need to March for the Alternative | Left Foot Forward http://ow.ly/4mTXe #march26 #welfarereform

  8. vikz

    Why we need to March for the Alternative | Left Foot Forward http://ow.ly/4mTXc #march26 #welfarereform

  9. israel

    RT @vizk: Why we need to March for the Alternative | Left Foot Forward http://ow.ly/4mTXe #march26 #welfarereform

  10. israel

    RT @uniquecomunica: Why we need to March for the Alternative | Left Foot Forward http://ow.ly/4mTXc #march26 #welfarereform

  11. Trakgalvis

    RT @leftfootfwd: Why we need to March for the Alternative: http://bit.ly/hklFqU by TUC general secretary Brendan Barber @March26March

  12. bee hive

    RT @trakgalvis: RT @leftfootfwd: Why we need to March for the Alternative: http://bit.ly/hklFqU by TUC general secretary Brendan Barber …

  13. March 26 March

    Brendan Barber blog at @leftfootfwd: Why we need to March for the Alternative: http://bit.ly/hklFqU #26March

  14. Tuba Bauhofer

    RT @March26March: Brendan Barber blog at @leftfootfwd: Why we need to March for the Alternative: http://bit.ly/hklFqU #26March

  15. ameliesoleil

    RT @March26March: Brendan Barber blog at @leftfootfwd: Why we need to March for the Alternative: http://bit.ly/hklFqU #26March

  16. chang mei wan

    RT @trakgalvis: RT @leftfootfwd: Why we need to March for the Alternative: http://bit.ly/hklFqU by TUC general secretary Brendan Barber …

  17. Johanna Baxter

    RT @March26March: Brendan Barber blog at @leftfootfwd: Why we need to March for the Alternative: http://bit.ly/hklFqU #26March

  18. Liza Harding

    RT @March26March: Brendan Barber blog at @leftfootfwd: Why we need to March for the Alternative: http://bit.ly/hklFqU #26March

  19. Will Straw

    Great to have Brendan Barber and @Ken4London writing for @leftfootfwd today on #March26 http://bit.ly/gzvrNP & http://bit.ly/ftoaS1

  20. Samuel Tarry

    RT @wdjstraw: Great to have Brendan Barber& @Ken4London writing for @leftfootfwd today #March26 http://bit.ly/gzvrNP & http://bit.ly/ftoaS1

  21. Johanna Baxter

    RT @wdjstraw: Great to have Brendan Barber and @Ken4London writing for @leftfootfwd today on #March26 http://bit.ly/gzvrNP & http://bit. …

  22. joe derrett

    RT @wdjstraw: Great to have Brendan Barber and @Ken4London writing for @leftfootfwd today on #March26 http://bit.ly/gzvrNP & http://bit. …

  23. George McLean

    What’s next? Land value tax, co-operatives, equitable taxation, green house-building, wind-and tidal-farms, no tax breaks for private schools, a legally-enforceable mimimum:maximum wage ratio in all enterprises, a republic, and … what else for a Plan B, people? Or is Michael Gove our best hope?

  24. Dave Morgan

    Fully support that lot George – it’s amazing how the vested interests that such ideas would hit are so effective in preventing meaningful discussion on these. I particularly like the idea of property and land taxation (like they do in Scandinavia) which could free up empty homes and land as well as reduce property costs and rents to workers and business. I guess when push comes to shove, those holding property assets have more to lose from a devaluation of their assets than they do from making our workers cheaper but better off.

  25. Dave Morgan

    Fully support that lot George – it’s amazing how the vested interests that such ideas would hit are so effective in preventing meaningful discussion on these. I particularly like the idea of property and land taxation (like they do in Scandinavia) which could free up empty homes and land as well as reduce property costs and rents to workers and business. I guess when push comes to shove, those holding property assets reckon they have more to lose from a devaluation of their assets than they do from making workers cheaper but better off.

  26. Dave Citizen

    Fully support that lot George – it’s amazing how the vested interests that such ideas would hit are so effective in preventing meaningful discussion on these. I particularly like the idea of property and land taxation (like they do in Scandinavia) which could free up empty homes and land as well as reduce property costs and rents to workers and business. I guess when push comes to shove, those holding property assets reckon they have more to loose from a devaluation of their assets than they do from making workers cheaper but better off.

  27. George McLean

    Thank you, Citizen Citizen! Whether an alternative to capitalism includes most or only a few of my list, it’s about time the discussion started. While the Parliamentary Opposition is stuck within the boundaries set by the Right and allowed by the conservative media, it’s easy for the debate to be stifled.

  28. Look Left – Referendum battle hots up | Left Foot Forward

    […] on Left Foot Forward this week, TUC general secretary Brendan Barber wrote about the importance of the march, explaining that the real test is “not the turn-out […]

  29. Cameron’s “failed experiment” leads to yet another economic downgrade | Left Foot Forward

    […] longer are these calls limited to a mere half-million students, trade unionists and activists marching for an alternative; now pinnacles of the small-c conservative establishment such as the IMF and the EU are joining in […]

Leave a Reply