March for the Alternative. 26th March London 2011

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It was an overcast day as we left Wellingborough by coach to go to London for the Anti-Cuts Protests. There were four coaches in our group from this area in Northamptonshire and although the day was cloudy, our attitudes were determined and positive.

The ride to Wembley was short, only an hour and a half and to my surprise there were twenty coaches already parked by 9.30.a/m. After disembarking we strolled to the nearby tube station to be met by crowds of people queuing for their tickets, where police were handing out advice leaflets for the day. There were four ticket offices open and the free standing machines but, the queues were getting longer and longer.

Suddenly the loud speaker interrupted the sociable chatting to bark “Please move onto the station to catch your trains and buy your tickets at your destination.”

As we were near the front of the queue, we quickly purchased our tickets, then followed the banners, balloons and placards and were on our way. We chose to go to Westminster tube station after being told the Embankment may be closed then, as there was no sign that the march had started as planned at 11a/m, we decided to stop for some coffee.

The event was very well organised plenty of stewards and policemen to ask for directions where to join the march.

It started at 12 noon and was well attended, folk blowing whistles, children with hooters and a Caribbean Steel band, some musicians dancing, whilst they played their instruments. There were members from every walk of life, from the TUC, Unite, Unison, Fire Brigade and the Prison Service.

Placards of every shape size and colour, they messages as diverse.

“Hands off our pensions”

“You’ve had your education David, I want mine!”

“No cuts just cut the coalition!”

“What parliament does the streets can undo.”

“Save our English Classes.” “Give our children a future.”

“Con/Dem GO NOW” “Cut Trident Not NHS”

“A Million jobs now.” One that made me smile was a photo of Samantha Cameron and “You’re not the only one David is screwing!” “Students and schools have been Con-Dem’d”

“Fight all cuts” “Cut warfare not welfare”

“Bankers greed or peoples needs”

“Silence is consent. Be silent no more.”

“People over profit” “Coalition-Demolition”

Walkers of every age group, from young mums with babes in buggies, children, students through to OAPs. Also there were people in wheelchairs and folk struggling to walk with sticks, all with the same aim. Reputedly, 8 coaches of policemen came from up north, experiencing the same cuts and redundancies. When a policeman was asked how many were marching he said 660,000.

We met protesters from Cornwall, Belfast, Wales and Scotland.

We all progressed slowly to Trafalgar Square where I spotted Ken Livingstone wearing a light suit, a smile on his face and happy to shake the hands of those who asked.

Also there, I spied a Buddhist Monk wearing his saffron robe, serving vegetarian curry from a heated device attached to his bicycle. This was in sharp contrast I felt, incongruous with so many with their I.Pods. The atmosphere was light hearted the policeman smiling.

There were several factors why we chose to go

1 Why are the tax loop holes not being closed and the unfairness of the banker’s bonuses?

This ditty has gone on Twitter

If the bankers bonuses make you sore

Have your sweet revenge within the law

Withdraw you money to make them poor

Bank with Coop or Triodos for evermore.

2 Belgium is currently without parliament or P/M but hasn’t come to a standstill.

3 I feel MPs should take a 10% drop in salary.

4 How can the cabinet most of who are millionaires begin to understand the problems of folk earning £5.80 per hour?

5 Re health cuts some of these mothers are just bumping along the bottom, getting through day to day. Two with ADHD children, have already committed suicide from the Northampton area, as they cannot take any more hassle.

Ryta Lyndley – Green Candidate in Raunds

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