Tag Archives: Lib Dems

NCAFC activists drop banner for day 1 of Lib Dem conference

Activists from the National Campaign against Fees and Cuts did a banner drop yesterday, on the bridge connecting the Hyatt hotel, where delegates are staying, to the ICC conference centre, over Broad street, during rush hour.

The banner, which read “Traitors Not Welcome, Hate Clegg, Love NCAFC“, reminds delegates of the pledge taken by every Liberal Democrat candidate before the last election to vote against a rise in tuition fees and press for a fairer alternative.

Despite this pledge many Lib Dem MPs voted for the tripling of university fees to a maximum of £9,000 – a figure which most universities have decided to charge.  Scottish activists also occupied a lecture theatre at Edinburgh University yesterday in protest at the universities decision to charge the full £9,000 – a decision which will see students pay £36,000 in fees for the standard Scottish 4-year degree.

Local Lib Dem MP John Hemming was one of the MPs to have broken the tuition fees pledge.  Following his decision to vote for the tuition fee rise, he decided that he had not in fact broken the pledge, by redefining the word “and” to mean “or”, claiming that because they are pushing for a fairer alternative, he had not broken a pledge to vote against the fee rise by voting for it.

NCAFC activists would argue, and we would agree, that the only fair alternative to tuition fees is free education, paid for by taxation.  Such a system would not place any disadvantage on students from poorer backgrounds who are likely to be put off by the amount of debt a degree will now attract – a debt that someone who earns an average wage all their working life will never pay back.

In addition to tuition fees, NCAFC attacked the coalitions record on education – the scrapping of EMA, reduction in university funding, budget cuts to the School Sports Programme, cuts in maintenance budgets and the increased push for academies and introduction of free schools.  Tom, an education worker and activist from Birmingham told us that

The Liberal Democrats have shown that they do not care about young people in the UK today.  They have taken part in a systematic attack on our education system, overseen cuts locally and nationally to youth services and Connexions, at a time when youth unemployment is rising and now stands at 20%

NCAFC have called for young people to join the march for the alternative tomorrow in Birmingham, assembling at 11am on Granville Street, off Broad Street and marching through the city centre to a TUC rally at Lionel Street, followed by a Right to Work rally at the CWU building.  There is a shorter route for disabled and elderly activists.

Birmingham Against the Cuts will have stalls at the assembly point, in Peace Garden off Bath Row Stall 10.30-12.00, at the TUC rally in Lionel St Car Park Stall 1.30-3.00 and the Right to Work Rally BATC stall 3.15-4.30.  All help is appreciated.

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Final push for the Lib Dem conference demonstration

Last years Tory conference march

On Sunday, we expect 10,000-30,000 people to turn out to call for the alternative to this governments ruinous economic policies and austerity agenda, at the TUC backed Birmingham for the Alternative March. With such bad economic news coming out this week, there is even more reason to put your feet on the streets on Sunday. Locally, the cuts are starting to bite, with nursery closures and the council workers back on strike on the 21st being the most visible – but we are also hearing of cuts to the parks service being implemented, as well of course as the closure of Connexions and other youth services.
We need to be big and loud on Sunday, saying NO to cuts, NO to austerity, NO to the privatisation of the NHS and education system; YES to policies for growth, jobs and justice. Join us. 11am, Granville Street, march through the city centre to a TUC rally at Lionel Street, with a Right to Work rally following that at the CWU building.
A shorter route for disabled people, and anyone else unable to walk the full route has been arranged by DPAC

We have been building this march, along with Right To Work and a host of local anti-cuts groups around the West Midlands for the past few months, and now is the final moment to make sure as many people as possible come along.
We will be leafleting tomorrow at the Chainmakers Festival, and Kings Heath and Moseley Against the Cuts are running a stall from 12-2 outside Asda in Kings Heath.
If you’re reading this on Friday Morning, there’s still time to get down to our leafleting session from 4:30pm – 6pm, meeting at the Palisades Ramp in the city centre.

If you’re on Facebook, invite your friends to this event, or link them up on Twitter.. or perhaps give people a call or pop round to see them.

For those of you who are on Twitter, we’re going to use the hashtag #BrumDemo on Sunday – try to avoid using it before Sunday to give it the best chance of trending on the day. You can also use the tag #Sept18, and my guess for the conference tag is #LibDem11, though no-one seems to be using it yet – if you spot the tag being used, let us know.

Anyone out on Sunday taking photos, I will want to compile at least one “Lib Dem Conference Demo in pictures” post, like I’ve done for demonstrations in the past. Please send photos, or links to flickr/photobucket etc, to BirminghamAgainstTheCuts@Gmail.com. Let me know if you want a credit/copyright watermarked on your photos and/or where you’d like it linked to.

See you on Sunday!

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Sunday 18th Sept – Rage Against the Lib Dems

The Liberal Democrats are holding their annual conference at the ICC in Birmingham this year, and there will be a demonstration on Sunday 18th.
The demo has been called by Midlands TUC and Right to Work, and is being supported by all the anti-cuts groups in the West Midlands, including anti-cuts groups in Birmingham, Dudley, Wolverhampton, Walsall, Shropshire, North Staffs, Coventry, Nuneaton, Rugby and Worcester.

TUC and Right to Work are currently arranging the route of the march, and initially talks have made it clear that the march will go past the ICC and through Birmingham City Centre, but the exact route needs to be finalised.

The assembly point has provisionally been set at Moor Street Train Station, for 12 noon.

7,000 people came to Birmingham for the Tory conference march on a rainy October saturday.  10,000 people went to Sheffield for the Lib Dem spring conference in March.  We can get even more to Birmingham for this demonstration.

Please attend and invite people to our facebook event, and Right To Work‘s main event as well.

The Liberal Democrats are the junior partner in the coalition, but don’t make the mistake of thinking they aren’t getting what they want.  They may have pledged to vote against tuition fees, but even though the coalition agreement allowed them to vote no, many MPs – including our own John Hemming (MP for Yardley) voted for the tuition fee rise.  They may have talked about taking action and regulating the banking sector, but they haven’t.  Nor have they stopped any cuts, or even appeared to try to prevent the Tories cuts.

We need to be out to make sure that the Lib Dem leadership knows that we think they are every bit as bad as the Tories, and that we will oppose them.  We need to let them know that the loss of votes in polls (Lib Dems hovering at 8-9% in yougov polls since the local elections – were at 10%-11% before). is not just in the polls, but also on the streets.  Wishful thinking implores me to say something along the lines of “lets get them down to 5% after their conference”, but I think they might already be that low by the time we come to September ;).

We also need to show a continued resistance to the cuts and to this government.  By September, more cuts will have had an effect on people’s lives, and the signs for an economic recovery do not look good (Amongst other indications, Aprils budget deficit was the highest ever).

It’s a few months off.  Many plans are still to be worked out, but we need to put this date in our diaries, and start building for it now, especially at and after 30th June.  Help promote it by attending and inviting people to our facebook event.

The Tory conference is being held in Manchester in October, and there will also be a demonstration there on October 2nd

The Lib Dem demonstration was originally planned for Saturday 17th, until some bright spark realised that this would clash with the Chainmakers Festival and the demo was moved to the Sunday – so if you see any publicity around saying it’s the 17th, this is wrong – and please let us / the website know that the date has moved.

 

 

 

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