This week, the Conservative Party Conference arrived in Manchester; greeted by left-wing activists opposing the Tory leadership and Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Alice Searle, Salford-born author and activist, joined The People’s Assembly in an organised protest against the Conservative Party Conference being held at Manchester’s Central Convention Complex.

“To me, I never miss the news because I like to know what’s happening. A lot of people I think are quite innocently ignorant about what’s happening in politics because they think it’s too complicated, it’s too boring. But you know, the very pavement we walk on is politics”



The activist, who was born in Salford, recalled her interest in politics growing up and involvement with the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) in the 1980’s.

“Party politics, I am what is called left-wing. The Conservative Party originated from the landowners, the mill owners and the people with money.

“Their main theme is keeping businesses going – they believe that if business is good, it will filter down to other people.

Searle, author of A Celebration of Kersal Moor spoke freely about her involvement with the activist group who encourage socialist beliefs and allegiance with the Labour party.

Searle’s book looks at one of the most iconic locations in the Chartism movement in Manchester in the early 1800’s; Kersal Moor was the meeting place for the socialist movement which laid the grassroots for Anti-Conservative ideologies which remain to this day.



Penny Hicks, Convener of the Manchester People’s Assembly, spoke of her involvement with the protest group, demonstrating in Piccadilly Gardens throughout the 3-day Conservative Conference.

“We bring together every anti-austerity campaign, trade union and individual. You don’t have to be in any political party – except the Tories, obviously”

“We put on and facilitate big events and demonstrations – events that would attract people not normally interested in capital P politics. The demonstration in Manchester yesterday was important because we needed to show the world’s media and particularly our own prime minister, the numbers of people that are absolutely opposed to austerity economics”

“The only reason the Tories are showing off about spending money on public services is because they’ve come under so much pressure for the cuts they’ve made in the past ten years”

“The reason the People’s Assembly is so successful as a broad movement is because we keep it absolutely simple – we’re an anti-austerity movement.

“We believe that whether we leave or remain, there will still be a job to do about fighting austerity”



Extinction Rebellion and Youth Climate Strike representatives joined talks on Climate Change at the protests being held in Piccadilly Gardens.

Dr Feyzi Ismail, Senior Teaching Fellow at SOAS University of London and representative for Youth Climate Strike, talks of the bottom-up political movements needed to have an impact on central politics  “Everything that is renewable has to be done on a scale that enables people to not have a choice – to engage in those things in an environmentally sustainable way”

“What’s interesting about the climate question is that it’ s not just an isolated question, it’s a question that touches at the very heart of welfare, equity and justice”





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