Over 20,000 marchers in Edinburgh vented their anger at the UK government's austerity programme. Grahame Smith, General Secretary of the STUC, addressed protesters gathered in the centre of the capital. Edinburgh, Scotland, UK. 23/10/2010
Over 20,000 trade unionists, community activists and members of general public joined an Edinburgh march against the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition’s austerity programme.
The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) warns that the cuts risk up to 100,000 jobs in Scotland and persistently high unemployment for many years to come. It has committed itself to on-going mobilisation against Coalition austerity measures.
Grahame Smith, General Secretary of the STUC, addressed the marchers once they were gathered in the centre of the capital:
“We launched this campaign to dispel the myth that there is no economic alternative to these cuts.
“There is an alternative. Get people back to work; get the economy growing again; and the public finances will largely take care of themselves.
“We also launched this campaign to expose the lie that it is those with the broadest shoulders that will bear the brunt of the cuts.
“As I watched the chancellor deliver his speech I don’t know what made me most angry, the policies he announced or the way the tory and liberal back benches cheered as they slashed £20 billion pounds from the welfare budget and not only offered no hope to those millions already unemployed but condemned another million workers to the dole queue, 100,000 here in Scotland. What they have done is an act of inexcusable callousness.
“And they might not want to be reminded of the spectre of Margaret Thatcher – but unemployment is never, ever, a price worth paying.”
There were cheers from the crowd as Smith lambasted the Liberal Democrats for enabling the Conservatives to push through the spending cuts.
The national Right to Work Campaign held a meeting following the march. At that meeting, attendees cheered and applauded a speaker’s call for a general strike.