On Thursday 6 December, Francis Maude came to Liverpool to take part in the recording of the BBC’s Question Time programme. His visit was met by a protest from local PCS members, including PCS Bootle Taxes Branch.
Francis Maude, as Minister for the Cabinet Office, is the MP most directly responsible for attacks on members jobs, pay, pensions and now terms and conditions. Famously, PCS members at HMRC in Coventry took his advice from last year and staged a 15 minute walkout when he visited their offices. This action was the inspiration for the protests around the country on 14 and 30 November.
Fresh from cheering on Chancellor George Osborne’s latest attacks on communities in the 5 December Autumn Statement, it was felt that Maude deserved a hot reception rather than a warm welcome.
In the event, Maude was able to smuggle himself into the building without being caught by PCS protesters. However, this only underlines that he is not willing to face the anger of the very people whose jobs and livelihoods he is working to undermine.
PCS members left the protest disappointed that they had not been able to confront Maude directly, but proud that they had not let him come without opposition. As Iain Duncan Smith found out earlier in the year, the people of Liverpool and Bootle will always stand up and be counted when those attacking us come to town.
Thanks to PCS North West for alerting everyone to the minister’s visit, and thanks to PCS members and local activists who turned out in the rain to protest.