TUC March for the Alternative: the best banners

“As a Braille reader I think these cuts are dotty!”

Five hundred thousand demonstrators gathered in central London on Saturday to protest against cuts to public services by the coalition. Here is a selection of some of the best banners. Add your own choices in the comments.

Demonstrators in the rain

Not blind to the costs of the coalition's cuts.

A young demonstator and her mother watch the TUC rally in Hyde Park. (Getty Images)

Robin Hood Jr and Robin Hood Sr watch the TUC rally in Hyde Park.

"Meet your Big Society, Mr Cameron"

A demonstrator warns David Cameron that he should be careful what he wishes for.

The Prime Minister and the Iron Lady. Sort of.

Estimates of the number of demonstrators ranged from 250,000 to 500,000. Even David Cameron turned up. And he brought a friend. Not a banner, but a good effort.

A recession-hit demonstrator.

The cuts hit protesters hard. (Paul Parkinson)

There are bargains to be had in the recession. (Paul Parkinson)

With so many cuts, there are some bargains to be had. (Paul Parkinson)

Erudite political commentary.

Two children make their feelings felt about the coalition leadership outside the Ritz on Saturday. (Jason Stamper)

He doesn't sleep. He waits.

Another child makes his point clear. (Jason Stamper)

Tesco value

One protester skewers the coalition's plans for a cut-price welfare state.

(All images Getty unless stated otherwise)

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The Brexit select committee walkout is an ominous sign of things to come

Leavers walked out of a meeting of Hilary Benn's "gloomy" committee yesterday. Their inability to accept criticism could have disastrous consequences

“Hilary Benn isn’t managing a select committee. He’s managing an ecosystem.” That was the stark verdict of one member of the Commons' Brexit committee on its fitness for purpose yesterday. If its meeting on the eve of Article 50 is anything to go by, then Benn’s fragile biome might already be damaged beyond repair.

Unhappy with the content of its “gloomy” provisional 155-page report into the government’s Brexit white paper, leavers on the committee walked out of its meeting yesterday. The committee is a necessarily unwieldy creation and it would probably be unreasonable to expect it to agree unanimously on anything: it has 21 members where others have 11, so as to adequately represent Leavers, Remainers and the nations.

Disagreements are one thing. Debate and scrutiny, after all, are why select committees exist. But the Brexiteers’ ceremonial exodus augurs terribly for the already grim-looking trajectory of the negotiations to come. “As I understand it, they don’t like analysing the evidence that they have,” another pro-Remain member of the committee told me.

Therein lies the fundamental weakness of the Brexiteers’ position: they cannot change the evidence. As was the case with the 70 MPs who wrote to Lord Hall last week to accuse the BBC of anti-Brexit bias, they assume a pernicious selectivity on the part of Remainers and their approach to the inconvenient facts at hand. None exists.

On the contrary, there is a sense of resignation among some Remainers on the Brexit committee that their reports will turn out to be pretty weak beer as a consequence of the accommodations made by Benn to their Eurosceptic colleagues. Some grumble that high-profile Brexiteers lack detailed understanding of the grittier issues at play – such as the Good Friday Agreement – and only value the committee insofar as it gives them the opportunity to grandstand to big audiences.

The Tory awkward squad’s inability to accept anything less than the studied neutrality that plagued the Brexit discourse in the run-up to the referendum – or, indeed, any critical analysis whatsoever – could yet make an already inauspicious scenario unsalvageable. If they cannot accept even a watered-down assessment of the risks ahead, then what happens when those risks are made real? Will they ever accept the possibility that it could be reality, and not the Remain heretics, doing Britain down? How bad will things have to get before saving face isn’t their primary imperative?

Yesterday's pantomime exit might have been, as one committee member told me, “hysterically funny”. What’s less amusing is that these are the only people the prime minister deigns to listen to.

Patrick Maguire writes about politics and is the 2016 winner of the Anthony Howard Award.