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Saturday 26 March 2011

Wish I Was Here

This week I have been feeling mainly below par. It’s the kind of stuff that happens once in a while, and hopefully will pass soon. So the idea of doing several miles’ walking around London today was right out, and that’s my loss: the march against the Coalition’s cuts is huge, a statement that needs to be made.

And my loss at still being 158 miles out of Euston is heightened by reading some of the weapons grade drivel that has been pumped out by the right leaning part of the punditerati, even before the event had begun. Pride of place in this category has to go to the loathsome Toby Young, self appointed bringer of change to the education system who has been given house room by the Maily Telegraph.

Young begins his rant against the march “The TUC is about to unleash a tsunami of violence and destruction in London”, his evidence being that a statue outside Nottingham University was knocked over and broken on Thursday evening. From this unpromising beginning, his logic goes downhill using tenuous links via the Boots company to UKUncut, a movement which is “intent on causing trouble”.

What form that “trouble” will take is not specified, but the tenor of the piece leaves no doubt that it will be serious, with mentions of “inflammatory rhetoric” [not his, mind], “violent clashes”, and “destruction of property”. And, although Young does not dissent from freedom of speech, he knows that the march is A Very Bad Thing as it “will cost the taxpayer tens of millions of pounds”.

For Young, the thought that hundreds of thousands of taxpayers are part of that march does not enter. Perhaps he will switch on the TV and see the evidence for himself, but the propaganda will continue as before. He is in the same camp as the Mail’s Stephen Glover, who tells that the cuts arecomparatively mild”, and any perception otherwise is all the fault of the BBC and “leftish” newspapers.

But Glover, like Young, sprays his credibility up the wall, not by talking of a “tsunami of violence”, but by blaming the Beeb for having the temerity to run news reports, and describing the Guardian as the corporation’s “in-house newspaper”.

Neither of them get it: there may be a few nutters throwing paint and fireworks, but the story today is that an awful lot of people – yes, including their own readers – are so concerned that they have given up their time, and paid their money, to turn up, march, and make their point.

And I wish I was one of them.

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