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by RAY FLEMING

THE police estimated 250'000. The TUC said it was nearer 500'000. Whichever.
Even the lower figure would be an impressive turnout of trade unionists from all over Britain marching peacefully in London to protest against the government's economic policies which they believe will hit the poorest and most disadvantaged hardest. Calls to the TUC to propose better policies miss the point. The march was a shot across the government's bows to warn of the depth of concern about its choice to cut too deeply and too quickly.

Two recent opinion polls have produced somewhat different results. A Guardian-ICM poll found 57 percent supportive of the government's cuts and only 37 percent against them. A Sunday Times/You Gov poll found only 25 per cent saying the cuts were at the right level and a further 29 saying they were right but should be introduced more slowly; asked about George Osborne's Budget, 34 per cent said he had got it right, 37 per cent thought the reverse and 29 per cent weren't sure.

Meanwhile, in other polls Labour retains its probably meaningless three point lead over the Conservatives in the event of an election being held tomorrow. The only conclusion to be drawn is probably that opinion is not firmly set and likely to be affected considerably as cuts, unemployment and reduced public services begin to hurt later in the year.