Of course, if you listen to some of the hype coming from those involved in organising "March For The Alternative" you might be fooled into thinking this is a mass popular revolt against the Government, such is the nature of politics and rhetoric that defies reality.
Currently, according to the organisers, the prediction is that there will be 100,000 people marching. On their website they have a pledge total for those that will march which is, at the time of writing, at 8,105. Let's be fair to them for a moment and take the TUC claim of 100,000 marchers on face value and ponder on what this represents.
According to Ed Miliband yesterday (who will be speaking to marchers at Hyde Park (assuming they all make it there and don't split up to cause any havoc)), the march is "the voices of the mainstream majority" making themselves heard. Mainstream majority?.... Really?
Let's see now, there are 650 constituencies, varying in size, but if we split the predicted 100,000 people across them evenly, that represents (give or take) around 154 people from each constituency on the march. That's pretty much a local political party membership with a few Union members thrown in.
Now, the TUC have anticipated that they will be dismissed as a minority and so have a commissioned a "poll" to "prove" otherwise. So, six days ago, 2,720 people (that's approximately 0.0045% of the entire population) who were active enough to sign up to do YouGov online polls at 50p per time answered some questions.
Once these were answered, a bit of extrapolation was done, a bit of maths here and there. Some assumptions about what the rest of the adult population probably, maybe, who knows but we can guess, think; and then the conclusion was drawn that 52% of all people agree with the march, and 48% of all people either disagree or don't really care. Thus Brendan Barber can say,
"I'm sure that many of our critics will try to write us off today as a minority, vested interest. This poll nails that lie."*puts hand up* Please sir, please, please!? Can I just call bullshit first please? The "poll" does no such thing and anybody thinking it represents some sort of scientific truth is a gibbering idiot.
Don't get me wrong here, it might really be that if you actually asked every single person over the age of 18 in the country that the result would be the same. However, claiming that the poll nails a lie is in itself a lie because it doesn't.
The reality is that a small number of mostly politically active people will be marching today. The rest of the country will be watching the football, doing the weekly shopping and going about their daily life largely oblivious to it all, thinking about how on Monday they have to go back to work and earn money that is taxed once with NI, taxed again with income tax, then taxed again with VAT when we buy things, taxed again with fuel duty, tobacco duty, alcohol duty etc.
They'll be doing this whilst lamenting the lazy hypocritical bastards sitting on their fat arses who demand a job but never seem to take one and find it easier to complain about "bloody Eastern Europeans stealing all the work".
And here's the inherent irony of the March For The Alternative. It is a march by politically active people on the Left who are anti-racist, anti-discrimination, pro-multiculturalism and the like; and the "alternative" they're asking for is one where individual responsibility is stripped from everyone and the Government "keeps" you, with an unintended consequence that necessitates the use of migrant workers thereby perpetuating the very discrimination and racist views they're so against in principle.
The March For the Alternative is not about an alternative at all. It is about reactionary conservatism to change and the maintenance of the status quo. A status quo that ensures people are enslaved to and trapped by the state when they do not work freely. It is about conserving the client state built over the past decade that sees Government spending peoples money, not people spending their own money, as the only solution to all problems.
It is a March for the Forces of Conservatism not an alternative. It is about producer interests, not peoples interests, and many of those marching are little more than proverbial useful idiots helping those who are opposed to change and individual responsibility maintain their power-base.
Let's be under no illusion, the exploiters of the worker are not business or the Coalition, its the Union heads who talk the talk of socialism whilst quaffing on champagne and earning salaries their members can only dream of.
Take the NHS as a case in a point. It is not the service provision of health care free at the point of the use that is important to them. It is the conserving of the structure in which they have power that matters. They will tell you it is about stopping profit being a driving force in health care. What they won't tell you is that even if someone makes a profit you will still get the treatment you need with no bill presented to you at the end. Instead they'll have a march.
Rousseau noted that the great princess, when told the peasants had no bread, responded with "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche". Brendan Barber and his colleagues say "let them carry placards".
Note: Let's not forget too that the "cuts" are not really cuts at all.