The story of my 26th March march

Thousands of peaceful protesters marched on Saturday and I was one of them. I heard the day described as a protest of two halves: one half peaceful and friendly and the other half violent and aggressive. Guess which half got reported in the media?

 This is the story of my march.

 My day began at the local tube where I met with friends and members of Unison. Some group members donned their Unison tabards, channelling dinner lady chic, and the giant old school trade union banner was hoisted aloft. After gathering at the London Eye (much to the astonishment of the early bird tourists) we moved off to join the main march. It was just after ten am and there were thousands already waiting. We were kept in the road for ages but there was plenty of time to enjoy the carnival atmosphere complete with samba bands and vuvuzelas. The noise was incredible!

 I wouldn’t say we marched: perhaps a gentle stroll is more appropriate with small children toddling along with parents and older children with hand-made signs. Our banner attracted a lot of attention from the press and we joked that we’d be on the front of every newspaper on Sunday. As we passed Downing Street we all booed cheerfully. By this point the police just looked a bit bored and were happy to chat with passing marchers.

 Strangely, there was a huge police presence outside the National Gallery and we joked that perhaps they were worried that we might all rush in, gaze appreciatively at the paintings, make a donation and rush out again. Pouring down Piccadilly, we swapped stories about drinking tea in Fortnum and Mason, not dreaming for a second that it would be occupied and vandalized later that day. What did a nice cup of Orange Pekoe or tin of biccies ever do to anyone?

  A few of us peeled off the main group and nipped into the pub for a swift half and comfort break and, thanks to the knowledge of some local Geography, caught up with the group at Hyde Park. We shared a packet of biscuits and listened as Ed Miliband described us as the big society and cheered as Dave Prentice from Unison thanked us for our support.

 I was home before I knew of any trouble but I’m frustrated that a bunch of dickheads with scarves over their faces spoilt the good feeling of the day. The Observer was the only national newspaper to use a photograph of the march on the front page yesterday. All the other chose to go with pictures of police officers covered in paint or masked protesters attacking Topshop (are you telling me that not a single one of those protesters doesn’t have an item of Topshop clothing in their wardrobes?) Except of course for the News of the World who ran with an earth-shattering headline about Jordan. Cuts? Libya? Japan? Nope, Jordan. And not the country either.

 I marched because I see frontline staff going while middle managers hold onto their good salaries and keep their heads down.

 I marched because I see children, disabled and the elderly suffering because of the cuts.

 I marched because I’ve been made redundant from a job I love.

 I marched because I want to have a voice.

Advertisements

Something to look forward to

This January we have the most depressing day of the year to look forward to. The complex formula takes into account things like debt and weather and failure of new year’s resolutions and the mental health wizards have calculated that this year’s D-Day is 24th January.

This year we might also add into the calculations the huge (‘swingeing’ as we’re learning to call them) cuts to well, pretty much everything and the rise in VAT. We can’t even drown our sorrow on drink cos that’s gone up too.

 For those of us being made redundant we also have the worry of how we’re going to afford life without our jobs.

 I need something to look forward to. I get the same amount of holiday leave as anyone else at the council but because of working in education, I am not allowed to take term time holidays.

 My contract ends on Thursday, 31st March and state schools don’t break up for Easter until the following week so I’m looking to blow some of the redundancy payoff and go on holiday straight away. A holiday will give me something to look forward to otherwise I know I’ll be moping around the house feeling sorry for myself come April.

Citizen R driving across Ischia

 I quite fancy doing something like a road trip rather than sitting on a beach somewhere and this is where I need some help. Where can Mr. R and I go to get away from it all and where would readers recommend? I’m really stumped for ideas so all advice will be gratefully received. If you could tweet this too and ask your friends and colleagues that would also help. Thank you, lovely readers!

 Meanwhile, batten down the hatches for Monday 24th January and hey, let’s be careful out there.

Strictly Come Coalition!

Brucie: Good evening and welcome to Strictly Come Coalition. It’s cuts for you, for you….

Plebs: Cuts!

Tess: And our first coopool onto the dance floor tonight is Michael Gove and his partner the state school system. Last week the joodges said that his University U turns were unbearable and his fees fleckles were flawed. Can he do any better tonight with his education white paper quickstep?

Brucie: Wonderful, wonderful stuff from thingy…er…Michael Gove but what did our judges think. Bruno let’s start with you.

Bruno: MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMichael!!!! That was as wet and drippy as a day old cornetto. It was all over the place. I didn’t-a like it. 4.

Alisha: What was you thinking Michael? I just don’t get it: graduates need a 2:2 or more to teach but soldiers don’t need no degree at all? Totally buttaz, blud. 4

Len: Well I don’t like all that fannyin’ arahnd with national curriculum and chewbaccalaurates or whateva they’re called. But I like the way yer brought out the discipline elements. Well done, mate. 6

Craig: O.M.G. Oh Michael Gove. What a disaaaahhhhster, darling. You haven’t listened to a word anyone has said to you, you’ve gone totally overboard on assessment and discipline. Testing at 6, an obsession with synthetic phonics and exclusions all ovvvvvaaaaaaa the place.  2.

Brucie: Don’t worry Michael. You’re my favourite.

Tess: Wow, harsh comments there from our joodges but what do you think at home? Well, it doesn’t really matter what you think because we’ve decided for you.

Brucie: And now for our next couple. It’s David Cameron and his partner Nick Clegg with the leadership waltz. Last week Len said that Nick was being dragged round the dance floor by David and was hanging on for dear life. Craig said he felt that Nick is being dominated by David. Bruno said, ‘it’s a –love!’ and Alisha said ‘wasteman, innit!’ Take it away, Dave and Nick…

%d bloggers like this: