Very wet blustery weather gave way to sunshine as demonstrators – Birmingham City Council’s work force – gathered to protest about the huge cuts – many thousands of pounds that some are facing. Single Status, we thought, was to do with equality. Not so from the point of view of the Tory/Lib-Dem alliance that is now in charge. It’s a golden opportunity to restructure, and if you don’t like it you’ll make yourself redundant. Your jobs will go to those nice folk at Capita.
Between speakers Dave Rogers and a colleague from Banner Theatre gave rousing support. If Councillor Alan Rudge was somewhere in the city shopping he might hear. I’ve always thought of him as “Cllr Drudge” when I had to sit through long interminable speeches delivered in a monotone which no one understood anyway. Well this is what his policies and imagination look like in reality. The City Council coming out on strike to preserve not only jobs but half-decent services. Here he became known as “Cllr Grudge”, a Dickensian figure who while taking £45,000 himself without any assessment wanted to dock others and make them justify any future increment. Victoria Square and Council House had stood still in time, Victorian values intact.
Good to see the Labour opposition out in force in solidarity with Sir Albert Bore in the lead. He was the last speaker with a rallying cry to abandon the scheme. “There are so many anomalies that it can’t be sorted. Need to start again.” The assembled were pleased to hear this and hoped he would accompany them on the coach to London to persuade Gordon and New Labour to fund single status nation wide. (Birmingham, we are told, is being watched by other authorities. If they push through this travesty here then others will follow, cutting the costs of local government down and down).
I really had to pinch myself. New Labour is as much about privatisation as the other big parties and has provided all the weaponry and ammunition for this outfit in Brum. How can they have the effrontery to pretend “it ain’t me gov?” Well they did and they have and got away with it. Of course the work force are glad to have voices in support, but I didn’t get the impression talking around that anyone was fooled. The billions spent on war and on bailing out of Northern Rock made sorting our single status properly and once and for all look affordable.