There were no riots in the streets (much to the Daily Mail’s disappointment); anarchists didn’t hijack demonstrations and turn them into Athens. No, today’s strikes and demo’s were peaceful, well attended with teachers, and civil servants showing determination to press their case on the question of cuts to their pensions, pensions they have paid for. As a fellow old trade union hand said to me: ‘This is what it looks like when middle England come out on strike’.
The biggest disappointment for many though came from Ed Miliband, getting himself on the wrong side of the argument especially after Evan Davis and Mark Serwotka had poleaxed Government Minister France Maude on the Today programme in the morning.
Dr. Mary Bousted General Secretary of the moderate union the ATL (who, like the NUT and PCS are not affiliated to the Labour Party) said that Ed’s comments were: ‘A disgrace. If our strike is a mistake, what has he done to oppose this devastating attack on our pensions? If the opposition will not defend our pensions, we will.”
Meanwhile leading the line was TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber – (see above video and click here for Brendan’s full speech) who, to rousing cheers of support, in Exeter said more industrial action could follow if the Government does not “rethink its position on pensions.”
Reports from around the UK – from The Guardian