A ring of steel greeted protesters who were in Birmingham to show their anger outside the Tory conference on Sunday 7 October.
An unprecedented security operation was in force which included drafting in hundreds of extra police, entire streets sealed off with a metal wall, and a phalanx of private security guards sent from the infamous security personnel ‘provider’ G4S.
Nevertheless, thousands of trade unionists, youth, unemployed workers and pensioners turned out for a noisy and vibrant march and rally.
Dozens of trade union banners and placards festooned the mass of marchers, proceeding noisily accompanied by Indian drummers and two trade union brass bands.
Unfortunately the route of the march itself was mainly confined to deserted back streets. The trade union movement must do more in future to make sure it is not hidden from view!
The rally heard contributions from a number of local and national trade union leaders. The best by far were from RMT’s Bob Crow, PCS’s John McInally and FBU’s Matt Wrack.
In his fighting speech Bob Crow received the biggest cheer of the day when he called for the full renationalisation of the railways.
But vitally both Bob and John McInally concretely posed that the next step against the Con-Dems’ austerity agenda, after the 20 October national demo, should be a 24-hour general strike.
Bob said: “We can march and march again but enough’s enough. The TUC must look at the practicalities of coordinating industrial action across the public and private sectors.”