Last Saturday I participated in my first ever protest march entitled – A Future That Works.
To sum up in one paragraph – Organised by the TUC (Trades Union Congress), it pretty much brought anyone and everyone together in one place who cared about public services, sustainable employment for all, equality and peace. To walk three miles from London Bridge to Hyde Park and hopefully, in large numbers show just what we thought of the shameful austerity measures currently being taken by our Government.
I had no pre-conceived ideas about the march. Sure I’d seen them on telly and followed them with interest on Twitter but never thought I’d get the chance to participate and if I’m honest, before the march all I was worried about was how we were going to get back to the Coach that was taking us to London, without getting lost.
It’s a little bit jammy to say but nothing quite compares to a large group of people all in the same place for the same reason. It’s what atmosphere was invented for and this was no exception. I heard the drums and the whistles and the maracas before I saw the crowd and once we joined it it felt like I was part of a unity of something great. I felt great.
As we walked along, slowly, from one London tourist spot to another, my sight and hearing were completely engrossed. There was so much to take in, an array of many banners and signs that people were carrying to read and smile at. There were people there that I’d never meet in my day to day life, students, new agers, sub groups protesting on women’s rights, middle east charities, gay rights, communists, disabled – they were all there along with the old, the young, the eccentric, the posh and all those who can’t be grouped. I saw men carrying tiny tots with mini banners attached to them and I saw a lady in a wheelchair surrounded by family, who got out from a bag a china mug and a flask of tea – all while walking the march.
It all felt so good. I felt like I was really part of something. There was no shouting (other than chanting), no fights, no violence, nothing bad just all goodness.
Ever so often you’ll find me on my political soap box about one thing or another but at the end of this day I need not say anything that the march didn’t make clear itself, that being that the 150,000 people there that day, inc me, don’t like the way the Govt is pushing through one cut after another. The most vulnerable in our society are receiving the brunt while the majority work longer hours, with less pay and the final minority of people haven’t even got a clue there is even austerity taking place while their bonuses just keep growing.
Of course, all this marching is no good if we don’t come up with alternatives and there are, absolutely loads of alternatives to cuts – green industry, capping bonuses, chasing tax avoidance but I’ll leave that for another day.