|March 26th 2010|
Sunday, 10 April 2011
Not being a habitual marcher,(Ok I have only ever been on 2 marches); I thought I would roll up and show my face on Saturday 26th, especially as the Branch committee was urging us all to support it. I was asked to meet the others outside the Savoy hotel in the Strand at 10.45am. When I got out of Embankment station, the crowds of people were overwhelming and there were police everywhere. Feeling slightly claustrophobic, I made my way to the Savoy,but the others had gone and left me apart from 2 other members who kindly waited for me as I was 1 minute late ! We went down to Victoria Embankment where I ran into the new Comms officer who I roundly told off for not waiting, I think he was keen to march.
Well I waited and waited, there was a carnival atmosphere, reminiscent of Notting Hill carnival, steel bands, whistles, people from all walks of life, young old, you name it, it was there. I was wondering when we were going to get started, and Sara Wright Branch Chair a veteran marcher smiled pityingly at me, ‘you haven’t been on many marches have you, they never start on time’. At 12.00, the Top of the march, which seemed miles away, started to move, and then very slowly filtered down to us in the middle, and we began to move at a snails pace, underneath the Middlesex Banner.There were people shouting slogans from loudspeakers, and police all at the sides of the march.People reminded me not to drink too much water as loos were in short supply.Too late I was dying to go, and it started to rain as well! Luckily a friend in the crowd bought me an umbrella, andI munched on a tuna sandwich as we walked down Whitehall, past the Houses of Parliament and past the statue of Earl Haig. I wondered why the powers that be honoured him considering his conduct brilliantly described in Alan Clark’s book, ‘The Donkeys’. All these random thoughts were in my head as we got stuck in the crowd at Trafalgar Square. ‘Stick the kettle on’, 1 wag shouted at the police, a reference to their ‘kettling techniques’ and they smiled back good naturedly, I think they were sympathetic to our views. on saying No to Unfair spending cuts.
Walking past Haymarket and then past Green park on the way to Hyde park to the rally the crowd thinned out, but it was still dense enough that I lost most of the Branch committee members I had started out with.
When we got to the Park, here was a huge stage with massive screens erected for all the different speakers. I headed like a gazelle for the toilets and it was whilst queuing up that I missed Ed Milliband’s speech. There were lots of speakers from lots of different Trade Unions and the NHS, who all spoke up about the injustice of Public sector workers losing their jobs and being asked to accept pay freezes whilst Out sourcing companies and bankers are making record amounts of money. One fact that particularly resonated is that Philip Green head of Top Shop, avoided paying half a billion pounds worth of tax by banking in Monaco, and this present government instead of telling him off for this, have rewarded him by making him a Government advisor in how to implement Public spending cuts! The hypocrisy is incredible.
I thoroughly enjoyed my day on the March, and would highly recommend it to all Union members, it was perfectly safe and I will definitely be going on the next one.