I attended the March for the Alternative on Saturday – see pics below, and write-up for New Scientist here: http://bit.ly/eKZRBl
The attendance was a fantastic show of solidarity amongst the Trade Unions, and it's disappointing that even though over half a million people were mobilised, from across the country, Vince Cable has categorically stated that the protest will not affect policy making.
The cuts detailed in my NS article for science pale in comparison to some of the cuts to local government. In my own borough of Tower Hamlets, the council is losing nearly 30 per cent of its office workforce, with planning one of the worst casualties. One of the policy changes accompanying these cuts is that it will no longer be a requirement to apply for a planning permit to change the purpose of a building. In a metropolis as densely packed as London, town planning is fundamental to the health of a community, as can be seen by the improvements wrought in Tower Hamlets by the current regeneration projects.
The crime rate in the area fell by 12.5 per cent over the 2 years between 2008 and 2010. How will the massive cuts to the council workforce, which will not only affect the amount of care the area receives but will also put out of work some of its residents, affect the borough? It remains to be seen, but I'd hazard a guess that the notorious "happiness index" on the census will be pretty low round here.