Socialist Worker

It’s the best of times and the worst of times

Issue No. 2474

On the march in Manchster

On the march in Manchster (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Manchester this week was a tale of two cities. One is behind the police cordons and giant metal security fence. Within this enclosure the rich and powerful mixed in comfort.

A tiny, privileged elite knocked back champagne at the Tory party conference.

They make decisions that affect the lives of the millions on the other side of the fence.

These vile specimens lined up on the stage to compete over who was going to cause most damage to the poorest people in Britain. 

Theresa May repeated their favourite slurs about immigrants.

The richest member of the cabinet, Jeremy Hunt, declared that the working poor who claimed benefits had no “dignity” and demanded they work longer. 

David Cameron was set to announce that parents of children who truanted could have their child benefit cut. 

They are on the rampage. No wonder they need to meet inside a fortress.  

On the other side of the fence and the lines of armed cops is a very different Manchester. 

Streets

It is working class, multiracial, and angry. Up to 100,000 took to the streets to say they have had enough of Tory attacks. 

Here homeless people sleep on the streets and face harassment from the police, but solidarity from ordinary people. 

Here activists organise to welcome refugees and collect money to support those trapped in Calais. Here disabled people protest and defy the assumptions that they will not fight back. 

Here the newly elected leader of the Labour Party speaks to more people at an overspill street rally than Cameron was set to address in his keynote conference speech.

This side of Manchester shows that the Tories don’t have everything their own way.

Everyone who wants to bring them down has bigger spring in their step with the victory of Jeremy Corbyn. His success and the thousands who flooded to his meetings show that people are yearning for political change.

Now there is public debate about alternatives to austerity, nuclear war and racism. We need to push everywhere for alternatives to be put into practice. 

There is no need to play by the Tories’ rules. Labour does not need to accept the idea that we “need to live within our means” or get rid of the “deficit”.

Instead when George Osborne gives local councils more powers to cut business taxes, Labour councils should refuse to make cuts and put up business taxes. 

Most of all what this side of Manchester shows is that for all the Tories’ guff about being a party for workers they are hated by the majority of workers. 

And when workers fight, they can win.


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