At today's city centre demo, I made a quick speech in favour of the direct actions taken against Topshop, Boots and Vodaphone. The police quickly took me to one side; "Can I take your name sir?" I wanted to say Sir Philip Green (the chief exec of Arcadia) but I wasn't quick enough. "Revd Chris Howson, city centre minister." My name was radioed in straight away, before I faced a barrage of questions about Topshop actions. I didn't give much away, but said that I hoped many more occupations should take place! Clearly the chain of shops involved are very nervous, and the state will do all its can to protect them.
I grabbed the megaphone again, and let everyone know that the police had pledged to join in any direct action we did at Topshop! I think we recruited many more to Bradford's part in the hugely successful 'UK uncut' campaign.
The importance of the actions is that they shift the agenda - cuts are not the only options - instead, we could make the corporations pay back some of the estimated £20 billion lost in legal tax evasion. It would mean fees could be abolished, health care kept free, and public services could avoid being slashed. It should not just be the poor who pay for the banking crisis, it should be the wealthy corporations.
Sir Philip Green is a horrendous character, who even has been advising the Con Dem government in how to cut public spending. Let's give him a Christmas surprise that he will never forget.