|The scene inside the kettle just before Cameron arrived|
The meeting appeared to make a vile political sense for both leaders. For £66,000 per year Anderson, it was the perfect opportunity to continue his pathetic attempt at shifting the blame for the massive cuts he's implementing, while showcasing Liverpool as a 'business-friendly' (i.e. highly exploitative) city. For Cameron, it was a chance to publicly rebuke the mayor for his anti-cuts pose, whilst pretending the economy is on the up amidst modern-looking surroundings. In reality, both figures offer exactly the same poison from slightly different bottles.
But such is the seething hatred held for Tories throughout most of Merseyside that Cameron's visit was kept top secret until just four hours before it took place, when it was leaked by a Public and Commercial Services union member. From there, word spread like wildfire over texts, Facebook and Twitter. By the 15:00 arrival time floated in the local media, around one hundred activists had assembled outside the Museum of Liverpool front entrance next to the Pier Head.
At this point, it became obvious that cops were forming a cordon, with the intention of hemming us in against the museum wall. Several demonstrators took the hint and broke through before the line had stabilised, moving closer to the road which Cameron's car would have to use. For half an hour, something of a stand-off (or sit-down in the case of one person) ensued, with the police apparently under orders to clear the area near the road, but avoid arrests (and therefore negative publicity for Cameron and Anderson). Eventually, this hardcore were threatened with arrest under Section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986, and retreated, with the exception of one man who was arrested. Cameron's vehicle swept to the back entrance moments later, and those cordoned were reduced to a maximum of five seconds booing at a blur. Nevertheless, the politicians had been denied the "money shot" handshake photo-op that Liverpool Echo journalists had been overheard salivating over.
|Cops announcing draconian restrictions on freedom of assembly|
The kettle moved frequently over the next hour, with police losing control time and time again. But demonstrators spent a large portion of that period hurling abuse at the "Tory scum" and "class traitors" talking in the museum. Tweets from meeting insiders confirm that this was very much audible. One particularly inventive individual yelled that the First Lord of the Treasury was a "rancid syphilitic Tory chode", and received many complaints from police that her language was "disgusting". That you must use disgusting language to accurately describe the disgusting had apparently not occurred to them.
The far from great and not very good eventually emerged to even more of an ear-bashing. Labourite Anderson initially seemed confused to be informed that he was also "Tory scum", but he began to grin broadly as the cops descended, and the self-confessed killer gave a thankful thumbs up to his de facto bodyguards as he hauled himself into a waiting car.
By this time though, a prime ministerial limousine had made contact with a Liverpudlian on precisely the road which the law had been so keen on protecting. While it's not thought that Cameron was in this particular car, the chauffeurs were clearly told to step on it, because the convoy sped off at such a pace that smoke was seen coming from the wheels. It's difficult to think of a better symbolic representation of both the contempt in which the political class hold all but the ultra-rich, and the utter fear of the mob which is that contempt's necessary flipside.
Thankfully the comrade was uninjured, but he was nicked and may require solidarity in the months ahead. Meanwhile, if we're going to stop the killer cuts, we all have to block that metaphorical road.