By Lucette Davies
On Saturday 20th October many people travelled to London to demonstrate against current government policies. This demonstration attracted many different people and all of them upset and angry with this government. The anger was evident by the noise and I found it pleasing to see such a variety of opinions expressed in so many different ways. The photo shown highlights that clearly all ages were protesting! The day left me thinking and questioning my own beliefs, so I chose to write this piece to reflect my thoughts.
A group of us eagerly met on Saturday morning at Eastbourne Station to get the train to London and join the March for a Future that Works. The TUC had allowed Eastbourne a number of free rail tickets. Considering that the travel was free and there was no early morning start I hoped that there would be a sizeable group attending. I cannot seem to be able to grasp why so many people do not want to engage in politics.
The group was very small and we had a think about how much money was wasted by the TUC on train tickets not used. Someone told me that numbers were expected to lower than of those that turned out for the March for the Alternative in 2011. That also puzzled me as I know there were many people who in 2011 said they had some confidence in the government but now believe the opposite. I thought on the train about the local people I know whose living standards are very poor as a result of coalition policy. I wondered why they were not with us.
The march was upbeat and many people had made a lot of effort with placards and banners. It was quite amusing to see how many placards had the word ‘pleb’ within the caption. I hope Andrew Mitchell has realised that he drew a lot of attention to himself with delaying resigning until Friday.
Twitter was telling me that the rally in Hyde Park had started long before we got to Parliament. Quite exhausted we arrived at Hyde Park even if it was towards the end of the rally. We saw a few speeches and used copies of the Morning Star to sit on the wet ground so we didn’t get wet. The train was not till quite late and if we had sat in Hyde Park any longer we would have been cleared away with the litter! The only thing left was to head towards Victoria station and a convenient pub.
Walking down Victoria Street made me remember that I find this side of London odd. There we were; walking boots on, placard rolled up and heading for a pint, when we had to stop as a ridiculously long limousine tried to get round a corner. People bustled in and out of expensive office blocks while others were sleeping rough in doorways. (I have read there are 50% more rough sleepers in London this year than last). We passed Harvey Nichols and I quietly hoped that if I ever became rich I wouldn’t be spending that much on a skirt.
I saw a young man walking along the pavement and I wondered how he could walk as the soles of his shoes had half torn away. Immediately after this I saw a group of gentleman off to somewhere in black tie. This bizarre existence where there are people with vastly more than they need, alongside people with so little of their needs met, is what I find extraordinary. I wondered why these so wealthy people cannot give to ease the suffering in others. But then I wondered why I had walked past so many of the rough sleepers and not given a penny to any of them.
I claim to be a socialist and to not understand why inequalities happen. However, I need to think about why I didn’t give to those rough sleepers on Saturday myself.