Tomorrow I’ll be joining thousands of people marching through Glasgow for the STUC demo. I am particularly pleased to be marching from George Square, the traditional point of protest in Glasgow. Credit to Glasgow councillors for recognising that George Square is the people's place, not simply to be fenced off for commercial interests.
I am not marching because I think the ConDem coalition will suddenly realise the error of their ways and reverse the austerity economics that is throttling the Scottish economy. I do believe that a large turnout tomorrow will show the government the extent of the opposition to their plans and give hope to those who are suffering the consequences of cuts to their services and jobs.
I also believe that marching is an important act of solidarity. It brings together the many people who campaign against the cuts in their own small way, in their own communities, acting as a reminder that they are part of a much bigger movement. This march is for them.
It is only one form of protest, but I do not accept the view that it has been eclipsed by other methods. It shows the millions who can't be there that there are many others who believe that there is a better way. That there is an alternative to mass unemployment and poverty wages - particularly for another lost generation of young people.
While I will be marching in Glasgow, the primary target for our protest will be the UK government because they are the driver of austerity economics. Even if the Scottish Government has made some poor choices over local government, police staff, colleges and others, they are only juggling the consequences.
I write this in Perth at the SNP conference. Almost every speaker, in almost every speech, tells us that the solution to austerity economics is independence. A Tory free Scotland if we just shake off the shackles of the Union. Sadly, what is usually missing, is any credible explanation of how that is going to happen. They will need to do much more if they are to convince us to vote 'yes' in the referendum. They may be helped if Labour fails to develop a vision of greater devolution and social justice, independent of the equally dire Better Together campaign.
And on the issue of solidarity, I will be marching for the same reasons as comrades in Belfast and London. Poverty with a kilt on is still poverty. I am not uncritical of Ed Miliband on several issues, but he has not taken the New Labour view that an opposition leader attending demos is making a tactical error. He understands that a Labour leader also has to demonstrate solidarity.
So that’s why I will be marching tomorrow. In solidarity with others who are suffering the consequences of austerity, and those who campaign against the ConDem government. It may not change anything directly, but it’s important, if nothing else for morale. Those marching alongside me may have a different vision of the future, but most of them will certainly be better than austerity.