Camden Against the Cuts, Monday 28 Feb 2011


On Monday 28 Feb FRFI supporters joined the protest outside Camden Town Hall as the Labour controlled council inside passed cuts to local services.

Gradually the march built up with a sizable contingent of local people, young people and people whose services are directly facing cuts, City Farm, Day Care Centres and Youth Clubs. On the march a good chant got going, ‘ConDem Labour all the same – they all play the banker’s game etc. SWP supporters and others refused to join in, opposing the position that Councillors who vote for the cuts are enemies of the working class.

On arrival at Camden Town Hall we were told that no one could go into the public gallery. This was challenged but the police stopped any attempt at entry. After half an hour about 200 moved into Euston Road and stayed there for nearly an hour with the demand that the public be allowed in to the Council Chamber. The police were passive. The next day the Evening Standard reported that demonstrators had stopped an ambulance from getting through. This is untrue; a passage was cleared to chants of ‘We love the NHS – no to privatisation’. Local youths spoke on the megaphone about need to keep open youth clubs. Then news came that the public were being admitted to the town hall in small groups – a victory of sorts. Reports of the protest appeared on Local News television.

Few of the protestors had any difficulty with the notion that Labour Councillors should not vote for cuts. Few had difficulty in knowing that we must stand together and not let one service be played off against the other – e.g. cycle lanes for day care centres. The only demonstrators who had a problem were SWP members who refused to call them Camden Council Cuts – but instead ConDem Cuts. The cuts package was voted through. Details of how the vote went are hard to find. £80-100 million will be cut off the budget over the next three years with the loss of 1,000 jobs. The effects will be devastating to the oldest, the youngest and the poorest.