Hundreds gathered outside Sheffield Town Hall this afternoon to protest against the public sector cuts outlined in the coalition government’s first budget.
Doug Patterson of Unite recieved the warmest welcome of the day, canonised for his ongoing battle to reverse the governments decision to withdraw their £80m loan to Sheffield Forgemasters.
Sheffield Labour Party Chair Paul Wood recieved a frostier reception, and was heckled by activists in the crowd for New Labour’s centrism. A message from Labour MP for Sheffield South East Clive Betts was read out to a murmur of boos, although Central MP Paul Blomfield’s message was better recieved.
Constant throughout the speeches was a sense of betrayal. A feeling that Nick Clegg, once the golden boy of Sheffield, has sold the north down the river, to the extent that Patterson declared him persona-non-grata in the Steel City. A further demonstration outside his Eccleshall constituency home has been mooted, but as I understand it it’s pretty hard to catch him in these days.
Lib Dem council leader Paul Scriven, who has been on telly an awful lot this weekend loyally defending the coalition’s actions, did not attend the protest.
In other news, fresh faced education minister Michael Gove will be opening a new building near the Peace Gardens on Thursday afternoon at 1pm. I’d be surprised if he didn’t recieve a warm, Sheffield welcome.