Big anti-Conservative demonstration in Manchester, England

Anti-Conservative party demonstrators in Manchester, photo by Ramona McCartney


Manchester is red

Sunday 1st October 2017

PETER LAZENBY and STEVE SWEENEY are with the crowds taking Manchester by storm

Manchester turned red today as tens of thousands of people descended on the city to protest on the first day of Tory Conference.

Coaches full of marchers travelled from towns and cities across Britain to demonstrate against austerity.

People’s Assembly national secretary Sam Fairbairn said the Tories were not welcome in Manchester and vowed to make the country “ungovernable until they’re driven from office.”

Crowds gathered in the Castlefield Arena amphitheatre to hear a number of speeches, followed by a march to the city centre behind a banner which stated: “No more austerity. We demand an alternative. No more cuts.”

The Conservative Party is back in Manchester for its annual gathering after the last conference held in the city in 2015 was marked by a week of protests and demos.

The right-wing get together is being held as Prime Minister Theresa May faces rumours of a leadership challenge and a party divided over the EU along with a range of other issues — including having to back down on a number of manifesto pledges.

The People’s Assembly “Take Back Manchester” festival is counterposed to the Tory conference slogan “building a country that works for everyone.”

Mr Fairbairn said: “The protest shows the mass opposition to the failed politics of austerity.”

“The Tories have continued policies that have caused a housing crisis, mushrooming of zero-hours contracts, poverty pay and the privatisation of the NHS.”

The marchers were united around the slogans “health, homes, jobs and education” — which the People’s Assembly says should be able to be provided by the world’s fifth-richest economy.

Unison north-west regional secretary Kevan Nelson told those gathered that the impact of cuts and austerity meant that his union members — many of whom are public-sector workers — had each lost an average of £30,000 over the last 10 years.

Communist Party general secretary Rob Griffiths received loud cheers when he said that the protesters were “serving notice to Theresa May.”

The march turned Manchester into a sea of trade union and progressive movement banners.

Two forlorn English Defence League (EDL) members with a placard reading: “Jail all known jihadists” were given short thrift and were drowned out by chants of “Oh Jeremy Corbyn.”

Posters and banners reflected the breadth of opposition to the Tory government and its policies, including contingents from the anti-fracking movement, which is campaigning in the north-west where the government has overruled council decisions to refuse planning permission for destructive gas drilling.

The Take Back Manchester festival lasts until Wednesday — the full programme can be found at

THE Tories have broken four in 10 manifesto pledges since the general election, new research by Labour revealed before the Conservative Party conference kicked-off yesterday: here.

The corporate lobbyists who pull the strings at Tory Party conference: here.

6 thoughts on “Big anti-Conservative demonstration in Manchester, England

  1. Sunday 1st October 2017

    posted by Morning Star in Editorial

    Theresa May insists that her Cabinet is united behind her, evoking echoes of Roman senators who united behind Julius Caesar before using his back as a knife block.

    Her position is little better, facing ritual humiliation at the hands of Boris Johnson whenever she asserts her leadership.

    His “four red lines” demand on the eve of Tory conference follows his 4,000-word diatribe immediately prior to the Prime Minister’s speech in Florence and has the same two-fold motivation.

    Both serve to undermine May and to strengthen Johnson’s claim to replace her as soon as possible.

    Her desperate efforts to portray the Foreign Secretary as fully onside are reminiscent of the Iraqi general assuring the world’s media that the US-led invasion force had not entered Baghdad as TV coverage of armoured columns crossing river bridges into the city provided his backdrop.

    The truth that she and her supporters cannot face is that her weakness in the wake of her disastrous snap election call has made him all but unsackable.

    Her ally Damian Green tried to rap Johnson’s knuckles, telling him to give advice in private and abide by collective decisions, but his ambitious colleague feels that he holds all the cards.

    If she fails to sack him for successive provocations, his stature, in his estimation, is enhanced and, if she, belatedly, has enough, they both know that his campaign for Tory leadership, powered by influential media patrons, will shift into top gear.

    Few Tory insiders expect May, despite her insistence, to lead them into the next election. She is in all respects a dead woman walking.

    She cannot admit to self-evident errors such as calling a snap election for which she admits her party wasn’t prepared, threatening means-testing for pensioner benefits and the dementia tax and pushing up annual student tuition fees to £9,250.

    Her pledge to freeze tuition fees so soon after increasing them, together with raising the minimum earnings level to trigger student debt repayment, smacks of panic rather than principle.

    May promises vaguely to “look at” a number of policy albatrosses round her neck, confirming that she is all at sea and reinforcing the contrast between her ship of fools and the increasingly confident and demonstrably competent Labour craft commanded by Jeremy Corbyn.


  2. Tuesday 3rd October 2017

    SOLOMON HUGHES reports on big business lobbying, delusional speeches and a trophy to the defeat over the miners at the Tory Party Conference

    JEREMY HUNT attacked Boeing for “destroying” jobs and relationships with the UK in his address to a party paid for by Boeing at the Conservative Conference on Sunday night.

    Hunt was addressing a large party organised by “liberal” Tory group Bright Blue.

    He was heavily criticised by trade union Unite before the meeting for having a “party” courtesy of Boeing, because the US firm is threatening to destroy UK jobs.

    Boeing has launched a court case in the US against rival plane maker Bombardier, which has caused US authorities to slam a 220 per cent tariff on Bombardier’s C-Series jet.

    Bombardier’s planes are partly made in the UK so this ultra-high import duty will lead to big job losses among Unite members.

    Thanks to its sponsorship of the Bright Blue party, called the Drink Tank, Boeing’s spokesman was allowed to address the hundreds of Tory delegates first.

    But when Hunt, the star speaker, took his turn, the Health Secretary opened his speech with strong words for Boeing.

    “I think it would be a very great shame” if “a very strong and successful partnership between Boeing and the United Kingdom was destroyed because the actions of Boeing destroyed 4,000 British jobs in Belfast.”

    Referring to Brexit, Hunt went on: “We are already going through one big divorce in this country. We don’t want to go through another.

    “I hope you agree that we should compete on the quality of our products in the market.

    Not the quality of our lawyers. So I do hope this can be resolved and those jobs saved.”

    Hunt made his criticism on a podium that was decorated with Boeing banners alongside a banner for the organisers, Bright Blue.

    Boeing had paid for the hire of the hall, which is inside the security zone at the Manchester Conservative Conference. It also paid for the free booze. Hundreds of delegates downed white or red wine, which flowed quite freely in a party atmosphere.

    Hunt had faced strong criticism from Unite and from Labour MPs for agreeing to “booze on Boeing money” and “schmooze and swig drinks with the firm” while UK jobs are at risk.

    Hunt acknowledged the pressure from Unite and Labour in his opening words.

    Addressing Boeing’s spokesman directly, Hunt said: “I did think whether it was appropriate for me to come this evening” but he did because “I didn’t want to let down Bright Blue, which is a fantastic organisation.”

    ‘We are fighting for capitalism’

    “WE ARE not just fighting for Conservatism. We are genuinely fighting for capitalism,” Theresa May’s policy chief told delegates at a fringe meeting of the Conservative conference on Sunday afternoon.

    George Freeman MP, who chairs the Prime Minister’s policy board, was addressing a meeting about why the Tories only win a minority of under-45 voters.

    Talking about younger voters questioning capitalism, Freeman said: “They are not wrong. They are not mad. They are looking and experiencing the market today and it’s not working for them.”

    The meeting was jointly organised by the right-wing Institute of Economic Affairs and Taxpayers’ Alliance.

    Freeman did not pull punches in his warning that “lots of young people ask: ‘Why support capitalism when I have absolutely no chance of owning any capital’?”

    “There is now a structural denial of the benefits of capitalism for a generation,” he said.

    Freeman and other speakers focused on housing problems. Houses are hard to buy and “a lot of tenants are paying a lot of money in rent and being treated really badly and we need to speak about it and be a party that cares rather than appear at times to be a party that only cares about people who own property.” A generation are “all working like slaves” because of the crisis.

    Freeman’s stark words underlined the depth of Tory anxiety about the enthusiasm for Corbyn and lack of faith in capitalism. However, some of his solutions seemed equally grim.

    He told the meeting that the deficit was the number one problem and the government might have to “have a conversation with the under-25s” and say: “Guys, we need to be really honest with you. This is a bit of a mess. The structural deficit means we are simply not going to have the resources to give you what everyone post-war had. So what do you want to have?”

    So the promise to the younger voters is that they will be worse off than the 1945 generation, and have to pick what they can’t have that their grandparents had.

    While Freeman wrestled with the problems of capitalism, not all delegates were thinking so deeply. The biggest cheer of the meeting went to a 29-year-old delegate who said he had bought a house on modest wages, and that young people’s housing problems might be down to their sense of “entitlement” which meant they spent money on “fake tans,” football “season tickets” and drinking “10 pints” by going to the pub twice a week.

    A miner insult

    A giant realistic portrait of a British miner, miner’s lamp on his helmet, coal dust on his face, is for sale to delegates at the Tory Conference for just £6,900.

    Inside the security zone, just outside the conference hall, the Tories have arranged a “marketplace” of upmarket stalls for conference delegates.

    High-end Manchester fine art gallery Artzu have a stall.

    Their stand-out piece is Thurston, the pit head portrait of a British miner by Andrew Hunt.

    It’s a picture of history as the Tories more or less shut down the mining industry: it’s not a bad picture, but in the Tory Conference context looks like a trophy.


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