A Checklist of Everything That Will Probably Happen at Tomorrow's Big Anti-Austerity Protest in London

Haven't we been here before?

by Simon Childs
19 June 2015, 2:55pm

(Photo by Adam Barnett)

Tomorrow, a big demo against the government called End Austerity Now is happening, and seems to be following a formula so familiar it could be scripted. Haven't we been here before? A new government composed of the same old monsters promising to extend the horrors introduced five years ago; tabloid hysteria about "anarchy and violence of the streets of Britain"; a pub squatted for use as some sort of lair for revolutionaries.

These are things that seem to have been there at every big, set piece left-wing march ever. The only change is that the Labour politician the left are investing their hopes in seems even less likely to succeed than Ed Miliband. What other familiar protest tropes are we going to see?

Here's a checklist:

A questionable claim that the march is representative of all public opinion
The government's mandate for austerity may be thinner than the gruel the UK's children seem destined to subsist on once the food banks run out of tins. Nevertheless, look out for the moment when a left-wing celebrity tweets that, really, there are fewer shy Tories in Britain than there are closet-Corbynites.

Someone who has lost all perspective
Similarly, a Russia Today reporter will zero in on an over-wrought socialist newspaper seller who believes that a tens-of-thousands-strong march signals a revolution that will bring about the end of Western hegemony.

(Photo by Chris Bethell)

People who are at the protest who think the protest is stupid
In this case, anarchist group Class War – among others – are planning to occupy the Bank of England, because marching to Whitehall is boring.

Wildly unhinged police brutality
The window of a bank will get smashed, or a dyed-in-the-cashmere, Guardian-reading mum coached in from Devon will tut too loudly. The cops who've had the words, 'Go on son, give me any fucking excuse,' going round and round in their heads all day will take their chance to hospitalise someone with blunt trauma wounds, later giving the explanation that the protesters' aggressive thrusting was an imminent threat to the safety of their batons.

(Photo by Oscar Webb)

Pointless appeals to the police to show some humanity
No matter how many times they see a police medic grinding the neck of a Woodcraft folk group leader into the tarmac with his knee, a certain type of optimistic protester still believes that the police should be working "for the people, not against them". In this case, of course, "the people" in question is a guy in an Anon mask who describes himself as a " Freeman of the land".

A reprehensible act
At some point, someone – possibly a Spanish crusty with little knowledge of local cultural sensibilities – will get overexcited and do something ostensibly radical, but which is actually beyond the pale, even to many on the protest. Writing "End Austerity Now" on the windows of Hamleys in the blood of a decapitated swan – that sort of thing. The tabloids will have their punch-bag. The unfortunate's friends will point out that yes, decapitating swans isn't great, but aren't the real swan decapitators the bloody Tories with their bastard cuts?

A bizarre marriage of left-wingers and the reactionary press
For the organisers, meanwhile, anyone who doesn't follow the route of the march before going home for tea will have ruined the credibility of the protest in the eyes of ageing racist colonels in the shires whose support they covet. Activists who try to organise break-away protests, or who have edgy haircuts and an untrustworthy appearance, will be cast off as extremist hijackers who deserve to be horsewhipped by Paul Dacre.

(Photo by Tom Johnson)

Confused tourists
"Oh hey, look Bobby – a procession with flares and Guy Fawkes masks; this must be one of those kooky British customs, like Morris dancing or entrenched xenophobia!"

People complaining about the lack of media coverage
RT @oocupyanon: Fucking government stooge media – unbelievable that the BBC isn't picking up on that livestream I tweeted of a police officer arresting me after I spat on him #mediablackout

People complaining that there are too many fucking journalists
RT @autonomops: Fucking government stooge media – too many journalists here, recording our every move.

WATCH: The Luxury Item – our film about the British government's tax on periods

The speeches at the end of demonstrations like this are a great opportunity to catch some right-on comedy from left-wing stand ups slightly past their best. I hear this great act called Jeremy Corbyn is worth checking out. Ayoooooo.

Journalists grinding out articles making light of thousands of people laudably giving up their Saturday to express their opinion about the important issues of the day


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