Thursday, August 23, 2007

Protests in the Streets of Edinburgh

Here's me addressing the masses today outside the Edinburgh City Chambers where councillors voted through £10 million worth of cuts and to have a "consultation" about 22 school closures! (Not very glamourous but I have been picketing since 7 in the morning)
8000 council workwers were on strike and hundreds of campaigners from all the groups, nurseries, schools, community centres etc were out in full.
One of the biggest contingencies were the High School pupils from the three secondary schools that are to close. They were outside the city chambers in full school uniform from eight this morning with great banners like "Hey councillor! Leave our schools alone!" They are talking about having a school student strike in defence of their schools and services.
Politics in Edinburgh are all over the place. The Green Party has three councillors and despite voting against the closures and cuts had no presence at all at the protest. New Labour (despite being in power in the city for 23 years and responsible for spending the council's reserves) got all revolutionary and tried to be protestors, but they haven't done it for a very long time so didn't really know what to do - UNISON leadership couldn't even organise a decent PA system. The swips were out in force with their paper but no sign of Solidary (at all). The SNP who are trying to be all populist but are going to have to make really unpopular decisions - stayed away from the media today and have done all week. The SNP Executive in the Parliament have a policy for smaller class sizes and more nursery places. The SNP/Lib Dem coalittion in Edinburgh have voted through a proposal to potentially close 22 schools and nurseries!
The Scottish Socialist Party had quite a good intervention, even if I say so myself - we have a few comrades in the council, Colin Fox, convenor of the SSP spoke and was well received, our paper and leaflets were taken in good spirits too.
I have to say a good day of striking and protesting doesn't half raise your spirits - looks like there will be interesting times in Edinburgh over the next few months. I'll bore youse all with the details as they unfold - well I'll give some reports. If you are very interested you can look up the Edinburgh Evening News on google.
And if you want to see more photos - nicer ones than me and to see the mood of the protest today just click on the link

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