March 2011 Archives
The sight of up to 400,000 people on the streets of London protesting against public sector cuts was both encouraging and slightly tragic.
Encouraging in the sense that, in an age when we are all supposed to apathetic to what is going on around us, 400,000 people made the effort to protest in London.
The fact the trade unions were at pains to stress they wanted a peaceful protest, not the mob rule antics of the student protests from last year, was a point well made.
But as those 400,000 marched through the streets of London, it was hard not to ask yourself: What's the point? What can they achieve? Who is really going to benefit from this?
To answer the last question first: The only real winners out of the protest will be Ed Miliband and the trade union movement. Miliband's team ensured yesterday was about him distancing himself from the errors of the Labour government, instead aiming fire at the Tory government's cuts programme. In one sense, he'll be preaching to the choir.
Image via Wikipedia
Andrew Lansley has repeatedly talked about being a health secretary who will give people a nudge rather than nanny them - the suggestion being Labour was very much a nannying party.
So when Labour first suggested the idea of banning the display of cigarettes and tobacco in shops to try and reduce the number of people who smoke, Lansley was opposed to the idea.
Fast forward through the election and Lansley's initial promises to be a nudger not a nanny, and we have the sight of the always-tanned health secretary saying he'll be banning the display of ciggies in shops.