Ed at the march for a Future That Works

Today’s Prime Minister’s Questions ended with David Cameron name-checking the national demonstration on Saturday, calling it the ‘most lucrative sponsored walk in history’, referring to the affiliated unions’ donations to Labour on behalf of their members. The new media response included a tweet from Dr Eoin Clarke, who drew attention to Conservative donations from private healthcare companies.

 

We know from earlier posts that Ed will be at the march, and LabourList reminds us that the political risk of this has previously been tested: Ed spoke at the TUC march for an alternative and Durham Miners gala last year without a significant impact on opinion polling. In his speech in Hyde Park he drew comparisons to the suffragettes, civil rights and anti apartheid movements. “The cause may be different but in coming together today to realise our voice, we are standing on the shoulders of those who have marched and struggled for great causes in the past.”

 

He said then that the Conservatives are the “dividers not the unifiers” – a glimpse of the One Nation theme. The march, while marred by some disorder, was peacefully conducted in the main and the speech provoked discussion, but was well received.

 

Ed will come under pressure on Saturday from union members asking him to pledge to reverse the Government’s pay freeze: A campaign made topical by today’s  submission of a pay claim from GMB, Unite and Unison to the National Joint Council for Local Government Services (NJC). He will also be asked if he supports the concept of a general strike.

 

However, if Ed speaks broadly to the same themes on Saturday as he did at last year’s march, his contribution will likely be regarded as a success.

 

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