This is the biggest demonstration we have had in Scotland since the Make Poverty History protest in 2005. There were solid trade union contingents from all the major unions on the protest, including from the Unison public sector union, alongside large numbers of students, disability rights activists, pensioners and other campaigners. People were incredibly buoyed by the size of the protest.
But there was also a debate taking place throughout the demo about where we go from here—what we need to do to actually stop the cuts. The idea of a one-day general strike went down well. It fitted with the mood of anger people feel at being made to pay for the crisis.
One protester commented: “the Tory cuts are just too much for the country to bear. I’ve been very ill and am still in recovery. I was training to be a teacher but had to defer my place when I got sick. The welfare state caught me at a really important time—I relied on it and I can see how important it was for me. I believe it should be there for other people too. I don’t think a lot of people cheat on benefits—it is exaggerated by the media. People are just trying to get by in this life.”
Another commented: “we are facing the most pernicious government since Thatcher. The sooner that Scotland can take French lessons the better! Hopefully today has given us the chance to launch a bigger campaign—it cannot just be a one off protest.”