The Miliband team aren’t desperately happy that Ed’s decision not to attend tomorrow’s TUC rally has been construed in some quarters (see my last blog) as a U-turn. They are claiming that the event isn’t even a rally anyway.
Ed proudly supports the rights of people to voice concerns and lobby Parliament, they tell me. “But there is no rally, people won’t be marching, it’s not placards and braziers.”
They are half right (yes it’s only an event at Methodist Central Hall, Westminster) and half wrong (it is still a self-styled ‘rally’).
The TUC press released today talks about a ”protest rally” at (Methodist) Central Hall, Westminster. “The rally – which starts at 12.30pm - brings together a broad coalition of union members, community leaders, campaign groups and users of public services, and is followed by a lobby of MPs inside parliament from 2.30pm”.
There is also a rally outside Downing Street led by the PCS at 6pm.
The point remains that Ed Miliband could keep his word and attend the event; easily. Instead he is seeing some union members in his office, including some postmen, a teacher and a dinner lady.
It seems that the big union anti-cuts protests won’t take place until the spring, as I reported back in August - when other newspapers were making dire predictions of an autumn of discontent bringing the country to its knees etc etc. The unions know they need time to get the public on side; difficult until the cuts are affecting real people.