" Vodafone tax protests put Left and TUC to shame | Madam Miaow Says

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Vodafone tax protests put Left and TUC to shame



Look. This is what can be achieved with imagination and a bit of media savvy. The sneaky Vodafone deal whereby the ConDem coalition government (that did NOT win the election) let them off £6 billion in taxes owed to the British public while smashing up our society with draconian cuts has been thrust into the media spotlight by independent activists.

So where is the leadership from the Left, whether it be Labour, the TUC or the far left? The sad old dinosaurs and sectarians have had MONTHS to get their act together. Yet all they could do was hold a couple of demos in the week of the actual cuts with another planned manyana.

Meanwhile, the right have been given a free run in the media with the BBC especially shameful in their reinforcing of the cutters' narrative. I'm sure I wasn't the only one to listen to the BBC R4 Today programme coverage on the morning of the Bullingdon Budget (thanks Armando Iannucci) on October 20th, spitting blood over the presentation of the right agenda with no balance except for a meek and mild Mark Steel at the very end.

Did they have a team harrying the BBC editors to present the economically literate side, as articulated by Robert Skidlelsky, and as demanded by their public remit? Aside from the odd token appearance allowed of commentators such as Skidelsky and Ken Loach (who put up a damn good fight versus Michael Heseltine on Newsnight), we were left almost entirely without spokespersons. Selective vox pop meant that the Tory cutting lie was halfway around the world before the truth had got its pants on.

There is a groundswell of disgust with the left's inaction over the assault on our services with the suspicion that Labour is keeping quiet because it, too, would have pushed through similarly swingeing cuts. Johnson instead of Balls in the Treasury? Wrong bit of anatomy, mate. See, I told you "Red" Ed Miliband was all pantomime (here and here), confirmed when he didn't even turn up for the first of the demos as he'd promised.

I look forward to more Vodafone-style action from the public while the Left and the TUC find their balls, now officially MIA.

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Paul Anderson in Tribune
Johann Hari in The Independent

6 comments:

mediastudiesisshit said...

Strange isn't it that we live in a political environment were entertainer Paul O'Grady offers more vocal protest than many in the Labour Party and TU, and a filmmaker (no matter how good) is brought on to lock horns with right-wing politicians.

Then again, maybe this is the start of something...

Gwei Mui said...

Has the world fnally flipped! Or is the rock bottom we have to plumet to before we start the growth of a new spine and start "doing" something about the state of the nation!

mediastudiesisshit said...

I showed this clip to a group of family and friends last night. Most of them are employed in the public sector. All are worried about the future. All are angry. But none of them relish the idea of industrial action as a way of fighting back. This has less to do with feelings of insecurity and a reluctance to lose wages, and more to do with the feeling that such action is futile (and probably plays into the hands of the ideologues waging this war on welfare and the public service). Also there was a the feeling amongst us that when we do withdraw our labour, the only people we really hurt are the people who really on the public services we provide - students, patients, the unemployed etc.

But it occurred to me while watching the Vodaphone protest that what public service workers really should be doing (and what the unions should be leading) is direct action protests against private sector interests.

Madam Miaow said...

That's interesting feedback, MSIS.

Someone told me about the Paris Metro workers who, on strike days, leave the barriers open and allow passengers to travel for free, hitting the bosses in their pockets while giving everyone else free travel. I thought that was brilliant. Don't know what the legal situation would be here, though.

I suspect that, once the cuts bite and we are being flayed en masse, some of the niceties regarding striking will go out the window. It is a barrier but I don;t think it's necessarily a permanent one.

D.B. said...

Brilliant post Madam Miaow. I completely agree. I tried to make a similar point the other night at an anti-cuts meeting up here ... Listening to speakers from the UCU and the NUS talk about their "Day of Action" march/demonstration in London next Wednesday as if it was going to be the greatest political upheaval in history was pretty frustrating.

In hindsight I probably sounded like a cynical, desperate nihilist but I pointed out that whilst marches can ocassionally be good for raising awareness and changing public moods, they usually achieve practically nothing in meaningful political terms. Do these people really think the Tories will give a fuck if their policies are unpopular on the streets? We need to be a lot more imaginative, a lot more militant, a lot more creative, and throw a spanner in the works so the cuts are unworkable in practice. The Vodaphone protestors, and the workplace occupations last year, showed the forward for me.

As you can tell, I'm utterly pissed off with the current situation! Dunno if I'll be starting any one-man actions though...

J A said...

I think the protests at Vodafone are a brilliant idea. It is very difficult to defend cuts - when the local council is coming for the nursery or whatever they have control of the purse strings - but an attack on unfairness like this can have an effect. Philip Greene nearly owns the high street, advises the government on savings, and some years ago he paid a £1.2 bn dividend to his wife in Monaco, so he could be a future target. My problem is that I don't know how to get involved. Can someone tell me how to find out about London protests.

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