Resistance issue 128, December 2010 - January 2011

Full text and PDF of the Anarchist Federation's free paper. Contents include the growing student movement in the UK, resisting the cuts, struggles of asylum seekers in Glasgow, and the bastard of the year awards!

Submitted by Django on January 9, 2011

The spark: comments on the emerging student movement

“This is only the beginning”. This has been the almost universal message from students who have been engaging in and pushing for more direct action in the first signs, in what we hope, will be a growing movement against austerity cuts. The signs so far have been encouraging. Actions like that taken at Millbank Tower indicate a certain escalation of resistance when it comes to general opinion of the plans of the Con-Dem government. On the ground there has also been much to praise. Students are very much taking the struggle against fees and cuts into their own hands. The movement has not been fazed by the repeated condemnations of union leaders like Aaron Porter. There is also a real sense that this is a movement in it for the long-term, real constructive work is happening at the grassroots level at many places to attempt to broaden out the movement to those outside education. The efforts towards solidarity and support for those already victimised are admirable. The widespread re-hosting of the FITwatch advice to Millbank rioters after the Met asked the hosting company to shut it down is just one example of what we can achieve when we stick together. New technologies also seem to be playing a part in developing the autonomous and self-directed qualities of the movement. While Sky News, and later the Daily Telegraph, was to place great emphasis on the Anarchist Federation and London Solidarity Federation call for a “direct action bloc” on the 10th November, and later attempting to identify “key organisers” the truth is that actions have been far more spontaneous and decentralised than this. Social Networking sites like Facebook have seen a proliferation of calls for action and organising groups coming from across the movement. Of course, these technologies also present problems as well, for example, protecting anonymity.

The great claim of the Con-Dem government has been that we are “All in this together” when it comes to the financial crisis. Of course, such an argument disguises the real interests (and wealth) politicians are serving when it comes to the cuts. However, there is a sentiment in this phrase that we should take on board. The recent media coverage has been keen not to highlight this fact, but the current struggle we are engaging is not only one that effects various sections of the British working class but it is an international struggle also. Too often cuts campaigns have slipped into nationalistic language over the need to protect the British welfare system or how valuable graduates are to the British economy. These arguments need to be challenged. Students in Britain found themselves as inspired by the actions of the Irish students as much as the Italian students were undoubtedly inspired by us in their recent protests. The cuts cannot be seen as measures taken by this or that government, they are linked to an international system (and with that an international class) who benefit globally from its implementation. At a time when governments are increasingly attempting to shore up their own economic security, often at the expense or in competition with other economies, it becomes imperative that we re-state our position within an international movement.

The recent wave of direct action bares resemblance to Greece in December 2008 (and France before that) not only in terms of the tactics used, but in terms of the actors involved. Once more it is young students and precarious workers at the head of the struggle. There are obvious reasons for this. As Mike Davis recently commented,
“My “baby-boom” cohort bequeaths to its children a broken world economy, stupefying extremes of social inequality, brutal wars on the imperial frontiers, and an out of control planetary climate.”
This is a generational conflict as much as it is a social and economic one. This also points to, as was also the case in Greece, to further limitations that need to be tackled. Direct action has largely been confined to the street and not, except in the case of the student walk-outs, to the workplace. Action needs to be pushed in this direction if the movement is to deepen and broaden. This not only means bringing in other workers, but seriously putting forward the prospect of workplace action in our campaigns. Of course this is not going to be easy. Many of the emerging cut campaigns are dominated by trade union bureaucrats who clearly have an interest in keeping a strangle-hold on prospects for industrial action. Where workers are involved already they are often precarious and there is little in terms of existing workplace organisation to rely upon. This means we perhaps need to be a bit more creative about how we spread our message. Recent calls for anti-cuts actions, developing from the students, that aim to involve all workers and claimants are a positive step forward. We all have an interest in sticking together when it comes to fighting the austerity programme. Only then can we can start to put forward serious alternatives to the kind of society we have now where public goods are tailored to the interests of the wealthy few.

The Resistance Begins
30th October: Across the UK protesters blockade and occupy Vodafone stores in response to news that the company has been let off an unpaid tax bill of £6bn. Four shops in Central London are forced to close along with shops in Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hastings, Liverpool, Manchester, Oxford and York.

3rd November: 40,000 Irish students take to the streets of Dublin fighting the government over fees and cuts. Protesters occupy the Department of Finance building while the gardai are heavily criticised for their violent reaction to the protests (beating one student unconscious).

10th November: over 50,000 students and education workers protest in London over cuts in further education and the rise in tuition fees. A significant section of the march occupies the Conservative campaign headquarters at Millbank Tower. There is widespread destruction of property as well as scuffles with the police.

11th November: Students at the University of Manchester occupy the university’s Finance Office.

17th November: Greece sees its largest Polytechnic uprising commemorative demonstration in more than a decade (30,000 according to the police, around double in real numbers) with protesters clashing with the police.

20th November: SOAS students stage a sit-in occupation of the SOAS building refusing to leave until their demands regarding the reduction of tuition fees are met.

24th November: Second day of action against cuts to further education in the UK. Across the country many school students walk out and join protests and occupations. There are large, militant protests in Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester and Liverpool (amongst other places). In London the Metropolitan police “kettle” a demonstration in Whitehall for five hours allowing people no access to food or water and using mounted police to charge the crowds. School students as young as 12 are trapped behind police lines. Across the country students stage occupations in lecture theatres, libraries and administrative buildings. Actions are reported in Sussex, Birmingham, Warwick, Glasgow, Strathclyde, Newcastle, Cardiff, Brighton, Leeds and Sheffield (as well as others).

25th November: Italian students storm Pisa Tower and the Roman Colosseum, block roads and railways and occupy the Senate building in Rome in protest against university reform planned by Silvio Berlusconi’s government.

27th November: One of the largest demonstrations in the Irish Republic’s history brings more than 100,000 people on to the streets of Dublin to protest over the austerity conditions set for an international bailout. During the protest fireworks are thrown at gardai outside the gates of the Dail as protesters shout: "Burn it down, burn it down."

30th November: Demonstrations are held across the UK, with college and university students being joined by school pupils. Occupations take place in at least 20 universities across the country.

Students and Education Workers rally in Clegg’s hometown

University students, school students and education workers rallied across Sheffield on Wednesday 24th November in opposition to cuts in higher education. Sheffield Council had briefed all local schools to instruct pupils to not attend the protest, so attendance was initially expected to be limited to FE students and workers (Sheffield University had been one of the largest northern contingents on the London demonstrations with many participating in the Millbank riots). However, around midday it became clear that the school students had defied their teachers en masse and opted to walk out and join the demonstration. More than 2,000 people marched to the city centre, in a vibrant demonstration and followed by an unsuccessful attempt to occupy the Town Hall. University students also rallied around sixty to a hundred people from this demonstration and occupied lecture halls on the Sheffield University campus. This was in spite of a heavy police and security presence both in the city centre and on campus.

The occupation formulated demands against not only the cuts in education, but all areas of the social welfare currently under attack, expressed solidarity with the local UCU branch (who look set to ballot for industrial action), those victimised since Millbank and for the university management to address a number of local issues including the casualisation of its young teaching staff. Messages of support and solidarity were received from across the world, in many cases from former Sheffield students, and an impromptu demonstration of trade unionists in support of the occupation occurred following a local anti-cuts meeting. The occupation was abruptly ended within 24-hours when security staff, after trying and failing to prevent an additional twenty people entering the occupied space, pulled the fire alarm. A short sit-in outside the Vice Chancellor’s office followed the evacuation of the building. However despite this local activists remain optimistic about the prospects for further action.

As this issue goes to print the occupation group has already called a march on Clegg’s constituency office, as well as committing to further occupations in the future. The level of co-ordination occurring locally is also very encouraging. Many FE workers and students are branching out to school students and other anti-cuts campaigns (something made all the more pressing by recent news that a school girl from a local Catholic school had been excluded for participating in the demonstrations). This is while still organising in a non-hierarchical fashion and avoiding the dominance of the Labour Party and trade union bureaucrats, who clearly aim to use anti-cuts campaigns to their own ends, that has occurred in many other campaigns.

Oxford Fighting Back Against Education Cuts

On 28th October, over 1000 students and workers from Oxford marched through the city centre, breaking police lines, to protest Vince Cable’s planned visit to Oxford and the massive spending cuts to education which his party are helping impose.
These cuts, proposed by the recent Browne review, will make universities increasingly elitist, with only the rich able to attend; tuition fees are set to triple. Students – who already find it difficult to find work after university (over 10% are unemployed after 6 months after university) – will be even more crippled with debt. The cuts are likely to result in education workers (from academics to cleaners) being sacked, and students being given less time with tutors and lecturers.
But the movement to resist these cuts is developing.
An independent group of students and education workers from Oxford University and Oxford Brookes – the “Oxford Education Campaign” – organised meetings with hundreds of people, to plan action against the cuts.
At very short notice, a demo against Vince Cable’s visit was called, and after just a couple of days over 1000 people were expected to attend. Vince Cable, apparently under the advice of the police, decided to cancel his visit, presumably fearing for his reputation and safety. But the protest went ahead as planned.
After a routine march, the prospect of several hours of static chanting and listening to speeches failed to appeal, so a group of more militant students broke through a police line onto the High Street. About 20 minutes later, fed up with speakers telling everybody to sit down and listen, sections of the crowd again decided to break out. This time everybody joined in.
A tense stand-off followed, with the police blocking protesters’ path onto Cornmarket. Eventually the crowd pushed past the police, and the feelings of empowerment were plain to see. People not on the march expressed their support; some even joined in! However, the police formed another line at the end of Cornmarket, and used considerable violence, pushing many people to the floor. This wasn’t enough to put off the protestrs, though, and they managed to push through this line too, onto the High Street. There was some talk of occupying the Exam Schools, but all entrances had been locked. This more confrontational approach to demonstrating inspired many and shows that students and education workers are not going to take these cuts lying down.
The campaign has also put on a successful ‘Free University’ event, which had close to 100 people attending a range of workshops put on by students, including for example one on ‘Cable, Millbank and the resistance to come’.
Nick Clegg was due to come and speak in Oxford on the 17th of November. However, shortly after this protest, he pulled out as well – citing a ‘scheduling clash’!

Protesters occupy Oxford library

In Oxford, 500 people gathered on Cornmarket to protest against cuts to education, and ended up occupying the famous Bodleian Library for over 24 hours. School students from various local schools and colleges were joined by students from Oxford University, Oxford Brookes and Ruskin College.

A lively demonstration quickly made it to the Radcliffe Camera - home to the iconic Bodleian Library, which has a copy of every published book. Over 300 people clambered over bikes to climb over the iron fence guarding the Bodleian. Police and security guards realised it was futile to try and stop the surge into the library. People studying in the library were asked to leave or go upstairs, which occupiers ensured remained a quiet space and encouraged anybody, not just students, to use it. After the first few minutes of celebration and dancing to a sound-system, a mass meeting was held to decide on what to do. Hundreds of students - many of whom were school students (some as young as 14) who had never been on a protest before - took part, and decisions were made by consensus throughout the occupation.

A statement was written and decided on by all, opposing all cuts, calling for free education and urging "solidarity with those who are affected by the cuts, and those who are resisting them."
The occupiers held teach-ins, on subjects ranging from anarchism to making better chants. The atmosphere throughout was positive and defiant. Conversations on the significance of occupying the Radcliffe Camera emerged, and occupiers claimed that it represented a monopolisation of knowledge by the privileged (only Oxford University students and a very small number of others have access to it), symbolising the privatization of education workers and students are resisting. People discussed whether to make radical or more realistic demands - or if there was any need for demands - with some even calling for joint student-worker control of universities.
Despite occupiers' best wishes and efforts, the university management and police did not let people into the library to study - and then claimed that it was the occupiers preventing students' study! There was constant security and police presence guarding the main entrance, but overnight a dozen people managed to break through and join the occupation. Food and other supplies were thrown through windows by supporters. People ranging from local school students and university lecturers to workers at the local BMW factory issued inspiring messages of support. One poem from a lecturer called for students to "rebel, revolt, resist".

On the second afternoon of occupation, cops came through an underground tunnel and used a battering ram to smash through a door into the library. This smashing of the door is in contrast to the peaceful occupation which caused no criminal damage. At first the occupiers refused to go, linking arms, but after police - without provocation - assaulted one person, forcing him to the ground, the cops grabbed and escorted occupiers out one-by-one, searching them all. However no arrests were made, and a trade-union called demo coincided with the eviction, and so spirits were high as the occupiers left. A statement from occupiers after the eviction insisted that "This IS only the beginning."

Solidarity with asylum seekers in Glasgow

On Guy Fawkes night something explosive dropped through the letter boxes of around 600 families in Glasgow. It was a letter from the UK Border Agency explaining that the families would have to move to alternative accommodation in ‘the Scotland region’. Having failed to agree on costs, a 10-year contract with Glasgow City Council to provide housing to asylum seekers was terminated. If the family doesn’t want to move? Well tough luck, ‘continued support’ is dependent on the move. So what happens next? A date and time for the move will be provided to the family ‘where possible’ with 3-5 days notice so that there is ‘time to get ready’. Oh, and luggage should be restricted to two pieces per person.

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the City Chambers in George Square to demonstrate against the forced displacement of the asylum seekers. The mass removal will mean uprooting people from communities where they have lived for years, pulling children out of schools, as well as breaking links with support networks that have been developed. Not to mention the effect this will have on application to remain in the country that can be dependent on providing evidence of being ‘integrated’ in a community.

Over 400 people also staged a symbolic bonfire where of Border Agency letters were put in a metal bin and burned outside the Immigration Reporting Centre. MSPs, including First Minister, Alex Salmond, has condemned the move “in the strongest possible terms”. But when, Salmond pressed for no child detentions in Dungavel, Scotland, children were instead detained in England. When Nick Clegg branded the detention of children as ‘state sponsored cruelty’ and announced this closure of Yarl’s Wood, the Border Agency continued the detentions.

Solidarity between asylum seekers, from others staying in Glasgow, and support from groups like the Unity Centre, has shown before with dawn raids, and with forced deportations, that the Border Agency can be beaten. The Unity Centre offers friendly, practical solidarity and mutual aid to all asylum seekers and refugees. £100 will help us keep the centre open for a week and help stop two families being detained and forcibly removed from the UK. Please consider helping this work to continue by sending a cheque made out to ‘The Unity Centre’ to 30 Ibrox Street, Glasgow, G51 1AQ.

Angry crowd halts Lewisham council meeting

An angry crowd brought proceedings to a standstill at Lewisham Town Hall on November 22nd as Mayor Steve Bullock presented the first round of cuts to public services to be made in the borough. Around 100 people of all ages and backgrounds gathered outside the Town Hall. Impassioned speeches were heard as Lewisham residents demanded No Ifs, No Buts, No Lewisham Cuts. The protesters then moved inside where some people were admitted to the meetings but around 40 people were refused access by security. Chants rang out again from both inside and outside the meeting until eventually the door was opened and the last remaining protesters entered the room to join the noisy crowd inside. Bullock had several tantrums before halting the meeting all together. Police were called, a large security presence entered the room and the meeting was reconvened about fifteen minutes later. This allowed petitions containing the names of around 20,000 people to be presented to the Councillors demanding that Lewisham Libraries stay open. A Lib Dem and Labour councillor were effectively drowned out in the noise as people banged on the walls chanting Shame On You and No Tory Cuts. When Bullock spoke, chants of Cut Your Wages appeared to leave him visibly shaken. Another demonstration was planned when councillors were to meet on September 29th to vote on cuts.

On the Frontline: Workplace roundup

General strike in Portugal

Last Wednesday saw Portugal largely paralysed by a 24-hour general strike protesting the government’s austerity policies. Unions hailed the action as a massive success. The national strike is Portugal’s first since 2007, and the first called jointly by the two big trade union confederations, CGTP and UGT, in 22 years.
Incoming and outgoing flights were cancelled in Lisbon, Porto, Faro and the Azores islands and in neighbouring Spain, 41 of the 53 flights between Spain and Portugal were cancelled. Most counters were closed at Lisbon airport.
According to rail operator CP, more than 70% of scheduled train connections were cancelled in the morning. Most Lisbon buses did not circulate, and ferries did not operate on the River Tagus in the morning. The Lisbon underground remained closed, and 90% of Porto underground engine drivers had reportedly joined the strike.
Ports remained closed, rubbish collection and postal services came to an almost complete halt in many places, while many hospitals and health centres were only offering minimum services, according to union sources. Several large factories in the car and shipbuilding sectors reportedly came to a standstill.
Meanwhile, the police denied union accusations that they had violently dispersed post office pickets in the capital.

Postal walkout in Winnipeg

A number of Canada Post employees in Winnipeg walked off the job Monday to protest a change in the mail sorting procedure. Canada Post's website says the corporation is undergoing a "postal transformation," with Winnipeg being the first location where new sorting equipment and delivery methods are being rolled out before the changes are implemented across the country.
The new automated way results in postal carriers having to carry three bags along their routes. Under the old sorting method, done by hand, carriers ended up with two bundles because the sorters were able to combine flyers with mail destined for each house.
A man who was sorting the mail the old way on Monday at the Wilkes Avenue facility was suspended, according to Bob Tyre, head of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers' Winnipeg local.
That prompted 40 other employees at the facility to walk out in solidarity.
"They [Canada Post] suspended him on the spot. And the other carriers decided that that was the line in the sand and they left, too," Tyre said.
Carrying the three bags "makes walking treacherous [and is] hard on their necks and their backs," he said, adding "there's been a skyrocketing increase in injuries."
"And [the carriers] have tried to, and the union has as well, talk to Canada Post about the delivery method, how it's causing injuries and it's not safe and it slows the delivery down on the streets, so they're all working overtime. They've been working that way now for about six weeks.
"And they've gotten nowhere with Canada Post so they just decided that they can't work that way and they went home."

Spanish air traffic controllers on strike

Spanish air traffic controllers went on strike last month in protest over the ridiculous working conditions they face. The strike made the news worldwide as flights in and out of Spain were grounded. A typical media backlash ensued which makes one wonder if journalists are happy to fly in a situation where the people responsible for their safety work 22+ hours a week?
"Before I was working 140 hours a month and I've never done overtime. Do you think it makes me happy to work like an animal? I don't give a toss about the money, I need some time to sleep, to go out, to see my family. Working 200 hours a month you can only work and sleep, and sleep's out of the question with the shifts. That's the life of a worm and it doesn't interest me. In fact if this doesn't change I'm inclined to leave the job."
The Spanish government eventually brought in the military to break the strike threatening strikers with arrest if they did not return to work, a tactic not employed in Spain since the fascist dictatorship of General Franco.

Recession: Winners and Losers

Tory toff Lord Young of Graffham last month declared over lunch with the Daily Telegraph at Roux’s (three courses for £55 plus wine) that most people had ‘never had it so good’. Resistance’s expenses don’t quite stretch to Roux’s unfortunately (main courses include ‘John Dory fillet, caramelised chicory, spiced polenta and orange’ and ‘violet artichoke barigoule, broad bean tortellini, piquillo pepper and kalamata olive’) so over a cup of tea in our local caf’ (total cost 60 pence) we thought we’d put Lord Young’s claim to the test and see who the winners and losers in this recession actually are.

Losers weren’t hard to find. How about the 500,000 public sector workers who will lose their jobs? Or the 500,000 private sector workers whose jobs will also go as the government’s £81 billion of cuts start hitting? Then there are the students who will have to pay up to £9000 a year to go to university (plus living costs). They may be the lucky ones. One in five 16-24 year olds are currently unemployed and the numbers are rising. The old do not do any better. A pensioner with £10,000 savings will have seen the interest they receive fall by as much as 80 per cent since 2007. People in work are also losing out. Most are facing pay freezes. Prices though are rising and taxes are going up. Workloads are also increasing to cover for those jobs which are being cut. This means workers are actually experiencing pay cuts.

People who are lucky enough to own a house have seen its price fall by 14 per cent in recent years. Anyone using a public service is going to be a loser. Three-quarters of public libraries in London are threatened with closure – the figure is similar across the country. The NHS has to find over £20 billion of savings – a fifth of its budget. Some areas have already stopped providing services like IVF. Legal aid has been slashed. Spending on social housing is plummeting. The list goes on and on and on.

What about winners then? We searched high and low and we found some. Well, two to be precise. First there are the wonderful people who got us into this mess – the bankers. Unlike the health, education, construction, council and care workers facing the axe this lot did actually screw up, big time. But in their case the state stepped in and bailed them out to the tune of £850,000,000,000. And then there are Lansdowne Partners – a hedge fund who made £100 million from the collapse of Northern Rock. Oh and I guess you could include Lord Young. He got a nice meal and one can safely assume will not be worrying too much about his heating bills this winter, unlike most pensioners.

Time to Care, Not Cut - Save the NHS!

The Con-Dem government claims in the current round of savage public sector spending cuts the NHS is a ‘winner’. They claim that they are sticking to their election pledges and increasing spending on the NHS. This is a lie. The NHS is under real threat. In a recent article that well known leftie newspaper The Financial Times set out the huge cuts that are being made to health care:

The NHS will get a paltry 0.1% rise in funding. This won’t be enough to pay for the rising cost of medicines let alone other pressures on services.
£1 billion a year is being taken out of the health budget and moved into social care.
The NHS has to make a massive £20 billion of efficiency savings. That’s a quarter of the health services whole budget. ‘Efficiency savings’ of course in reality means cuts – longer waiting lists, poorer quality care and fewer doctors and nurses. The nurses union, the RCN, has already identified 27,000 jobs that are currently at risk. More redundancies will come. In fact The Financial Times reckons these will cost at least £900 million.
The NHS faces an increase in its tax bill to the tune of £300 million.

Both workers and patients will be the losers. NHS staff have been told that their pay will be frozen and worse is to come. The government wants to try to get local hospitals to set their own pay – something even Margaret Thatcher abandoned! The government has dropped waiting list targets. Before the election patients with a serious illness had the right to be treated within 18-weeks from seeing their doctor. That has now gone. Worse still the responsibility for commissioning services is going to be given to GPs who will be able to buy in private sector treatment and decide locally what services are provided. This will lead to a post code lottery with patients in one area being able to access services like IVF but not those in another area. The government believes that competition will improve health care. It won’t.

Sabotage at Work: Behind Enemy Lines

The term sabotage derives from French factory workers throwing their wooden shoes ("sabots") into machinery to stop production. Individuals and groups of workers such as the Luddites and Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) have used sabotage as direct action against working conditions. This piece is the first in a series on the history and practice of sabotage in the workplace.

“Sabotage in a Food Factory: an Account of Open Sabotage” by Patrick
I worked in a food production factory. I stood at the end of a conveyor belt where boxes with a dozen bottles came whizzing down to me, about one per second. I would stack them on pallets and the forklift driver would take them away. Occasionally, when we got a major shipment of boxes with plastic bottles for the front end of the assembly line, the foreman would take me and a few others off the line and send us upstairs to the old storeroom.

One day we were called to unload a major shipment. The boxes were coming at us at an alarming rate. Two co-workers and I were running like fools, arms stretched wide, grasping these boxes. It was sweltering hot up in the attic storeroom in this old factory. We were sweating and running with these boxes. The conveyor belt was crammed with boxes. The foreman, a despicable Marine sergeant type, sat on a stack of boxes and picked his teeth, chiding us to go faster.

There was no let-up in boxes, and with sweat dripping into our eyes and cardboard dust irritating our skin, the three of us exploded into open revolt. Tim punched a box off the conveyor belt, and in a matter of seconds, we were punching them all off the belt, one after the other in a wild, deliriously happy frenzy. We ran to the stacks of boxes and started pulling them down with a crash onto the floor. The foreman was grabbing at our arms, trying to stop us, hollering as loud as he could over the din of the boxes and conveyor motor.

Finally we stopped. The foreman told us to go home, to take the day off. The next day we came to work as if nothing had happened. I took my place on the line. The boxes came whizzing down to me, about one per second...

Thanks to for the extracts from “Sabotage in the American
Workplace” by Martin Sprouse.

Please send your own experiences of sabotage at work to Resistance at:

Bastard of the Year awards

Politician Bastard of the Year:
Iain Duncan Smith. For effectively introducing slave labour for jobseekers, forcing them to do 30 hours per week of unpaid work or face having their benefits stopped for up to three years. Bastard of the highest order.

Police Bastard of the Year:
PC Simon Harwood. For contributing towards Ian Tomlinson’s death and getting away with it.

Sycophant of the Year:
Aaron Porter. For condemning the occupation of Millbank Tower during student protests in London, claiming that the demonstration had been hijacked by ‘a very small minority of violent protesters’ and for generally being a crap, ineffectual lackey of the establishment.

Honourable mentions:
The entirety of the Labour party, for pretending they weren’t planning to do exactly the same things as the Coalition government.

Hero of the Year:
Nick Clegg. For shattering an entire generation’s illusions of parliamentary politics as a means for positive change.