Striking Off

After three days of blogging about the strike action I was very much determined not to write about it anymore today. I like to presume some people abroad read this and if that’s remotely true (its not) then I hope I haven’t bored them to death with notes on an economic climate they don’t know about while probably worrying about their own. Thing is, too many things have happened in the last 24 hours that all tie neatly into yesterday’s strike action – not least me taking part in the march itself in Central London – for me not to drag this subject out a while longer. If you do live abroad, why not change area names to areas near you, situation names to things that affect you and celebrities or politicians that you know about and then read away. Or perhaps just don’t read and come back tomorrow when I’ll talk about buying my friend’s car which also happened yesterday. Or write your own blog. Seriously, I don’t see why I should have to do all the work. Ahem.

So after yesterday’s blog, I headed down to the march starting at Lincoln’s Inn Fields with all the public sector workers on strike to show my support. It was a pretty amazing atmosphere with a very feel good vibe and workers from all areas of employment. Hospital workers, ambulance staff, civilian police workers, firemen and so many more. There were easily several hundreds of thousands with balloons, banners, goodwill and a want for justice and fairer pensions trailing all the way from the start of the march back way past Holborn station and beyond. My personal heroes were the Pensioners there to fight for the rights of future pensioners and the Physio’s who banner said they were ‘standing up for fairer pensions’. Brilliant. I had to leave early to drop off a polar bear costume (long story) but despite the oppressive and way over the top police presence, the forces seemed happy enough and the march went ahead with singing, music and a good message to state that things need to change.

Then later that night I did a gig in a West London suburb which is notoriously wealthy. I have done this gig several times before and love the people that run it. It’s always been fun, but last night was tough. I was exhausted from the days activities and probably not in a very focused state of mind, but I did find them quite tough to get going. It turned out many of them had had difficult days because of the strike, due to the type of jobs they do and how the public sector’s demand for rights gets in the way. One man worked for the Ministry of Justice and explained that he was tired because he’d started his day driving through a picket line. Another woman who was a civil servant and should’ve been on strike herself complained that she had to stay at home to look after her children, both of whom were old enough to look after herself. When I asked the room if anyone there had been on strike they laughed at me like I had said a joke. The mere idea was shocking to them as though only scum would do such a thing. L overheard at the back a woman say when I asked an audience member what they did that they bet ‘he was on strike’ as though it was an insult. I told them I’d been on the march and supported the workers even though I am self employed and in no hope of a pension anyway and they looked at me confused, unable to understand. These people who will never have to worry about pensions or mortgages or standard of living. I felt very angry and then after a while realised that while some did appear to have a snooty view about it all, some just appeared very guilty, almost knowing that times are very hard for most people on standard salaries, but there’s little they can or more importantly, will do about it. I left the night feeling deflated, only for a few people to pull me to one side afterwards to say they thought it was great, but it appeared they just couldn’t support me out loud. I really wish we could change the stigma that standing up for your right have a reasonable standard of living whilst in employment and retirement is a dirty thing. It’s not. Its the bravest thing you can do, and far less scummy than those who oppose people standing up for themselves and each other.

I watched David Cameron on This Morning, this morning (I know I said I wouldn’t say that again, but duty called) as he squirmed around Schofield’s very good questions, saying that the strike had done nothing. Yet its in the news today that talks have restarted with hope of reaching a new negotiation. So if it hadn’t done anything, why do the government appear afraid? The news is full of contradictions about the numbers involved, saying only 15% of hospital staff walked out, yet then stating that the police had to help the ambulance service due to shortage of numbers. I wish the BBC would stop being so afraid to say that it was a big movement and a clear sign that things have to change. Cameron insisted on saying how little money the UK has, despite today’s reports that on bracing ourselves for the Eurozone Crisis that consistently say Britain’s banks are the strongest in the world, even more so since the recession started, probably due to the Government’s very convenient safeguarding of the banking sector. The PM also happily pointed out once again that many private sector workers get pensions far less than public sector workers, failing to point out that private sector workers often earn a lot more and have their own private pensions on top of their state pensions, meaning they get a lot more (depending on their field of employment of course).

I spent sometime on Twitter this morning mentioning all of this and was once again subject to abuse from someone called Horatio (right wing abuse from someone with a name like that? Shocking huh? Who’d’ve thought?) telling me I was a ‘d-bag’ because the talks were ongoing anyway and that the strikes were just for publicity. I responded by pointing out that the talks hadn’t happened since November the 2nd and how the government had failed to give the unions any agreeable solutions. The unions had attempted to stop the strike had such agreements been made, but they weren’t and so it wasn’t. Horatio insisted on saying I only agreed with it because I was a unionist, whilst using the wrong you’re (he used your) and calling me an idiot, as his only line of defence against fact. I pointed out his spelling error, ignorance and the fact that his name was probably in relation to his higher use of prostates than most due to his lack of likability (ho-ratio). Yes, cheap but fun. He wasn’t even following me, so yet again another example of a narrow minded twat going out of his way to be insulting and disallow people from having their own point of views.

I will never understand these people who think the democratic right to have a point of view, decent education, welfare and security is some sort of threat to them, and soon I will stop trying to. All I hope is that one day the world will relise they should probably have their own island somewhere where they can all be bigoted at each other while the rest of us stop suffering at their hands. The strike yesterday helped affirm for me that Britain isn’t as apathetic as the news would have us believe and that people do care. More than that, they’ll continue to care as long as they are being oppressed. Let’s hope another strike doesn’t need to happen again. Not because it’ll stop some private sector worker from some disruption, but because an agreement can be made to prevent these people trying to survive on a pension rate so far below the rate of inflation and cost of living that they barely live to see their last few years.