A Midsummer’s day Protest against Austerity Measures in the UK.

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Saturday 1363 -21.06.2014

If you are new to my blog take a look at my about page here, you’ll better understand how this blog came about ūüôā

_1690I could have¬†had a relaxing day pottering¬†in my garden today; bathing in the midsummer sun but instead I¬†got myself up and travelled to London to¬†join up to 50,000 other people¬†in a march and rally against¬†the austerity measures in this country. The march was organised by ¬†The People’s Assembly against Austerity and I encourage you to find out more about this organisation by clicking¬†here or on their facebook page here

I don’t need to tell many of you that the governments austerity measures are causing extreme hardship in the Uk with millions of people who are actually working living below the poverty line.¬†It is sadly¬†ironic that the ¬†“traditional” family, of one parent working and the other staying at home to look after children, that the Tory government purports to support! make up a huge proportion of those who are unable to earn a living wage. This should be _1684an embarrassment to a government that espouses the idea that work is the best way out of poverty.

The number of people using foodbanks in the UK has tripled in 2013/14 with close to a million people being given 3 days emergency food supplies according to the Trussell Trust Рmore about this here including statistics about causes etc.  This is a national disgrace for such a comparatively wealthy country. I have written about the increase in food banks before and you can see that post here

_1677The irony of marching against Austerity was not lost on me as we marched through¬†a part of London, Regent Street’s “mile of style”, which is dedicated to getting people to spend as much money as possible, on things they don’t really need, but which appeal to their vanity. It’s full of shops, spas etc! see the 2 in the picture left of this who were out having a break from their pleasure!

One of the appropriate chants from the marchers¬†was “Stop shopping, Save the NHS”

How on earth do we educate our seemingly money driven , greedy, apathetic society that people are more important than things.

You will see from my photos that there were many groups represented at the march from Unions to CND to Stop the War, socialists, environmentalists, housing , disability rights and justice campaigners. This is because every part of society, except it seems the rich who have got richer, are affected by Austerity measures. 

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When the march entered Parliament Square for a rally and festival, which included contributions from politicians, writers, poets , musicians  and comedians, we passed under a statue of Winston Churchill and I took this photo as the union Unite went by him . I wonder what he would have made of this all !!

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Speakers included many representatives of Unions including the National Union of Teachers, Unite and the Fire Brigades Union, writer Owen Jones, MPs Caroline Lucas, Dianne Abbott and Jeremy Corbin, the poet Stephen Morrison Burke and musicians as well as comedians Francesca Martinez, Russell Brand and Kate Smurthwaite as well as many others.

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There was some humour in the banners¬†too, including this pink confection with Pom Poms…

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..but this banner also carried very serious messages including this below..

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Update Sunday morning¬†– Sadly this march which began right under the BBC’s windows was ignored by them until a storm of complaints from myself and I’m sure hundreds or maybe thousands¬†of others resulted in this on the BBC facebook page along with a 25 sec film with no commentary.

“Many of you have been asking to see coverage of Saturday’s anti-austerity march through central London.
It was the first demonstration organised by the People’s Assembly campaign group, which included politicians, union leaders and celebrities.
¬†Organisers say tens of thousands protested against the impact of cuts around the country.”
Still no sign of any report on the BBC News website at time of writing- it’s just not good enough from a news agency that claims to be impartial but proves it is anything but!¬†
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Finally I will leave you with a quote from the People’s Assembly¬† –

“We face a choice that will shape our society for decades to come. It is a choice faced by ordinary people in every part of the globe.

We can defend education, health and welfare provision funded from general taxation and available to all, or we can surrender the gains that have improved the lives of millions of people for over more than 50 years.”

and my favourite banner from the march from psychologists against austerity….

Equality is the Best Therapy

Amen to that !

As ever I welcome your thoughts .

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Saturday girl signing off.

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You can find my photography blog Photomania here 

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Save Lives – Talk Peace.

Saturday 1404¬†¬†–¬†31.08.2013.

If you are new to my blog take a look at my About page here

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Ok last week I wrote my 100th post and speculated that it might be my last. You can read that one here

Well here I am again .. seems I can’t help myself and the reason this week was because I was at a pro-peace, anti-war march and rally in London today.¬† That is pro-peace in Syria and anti any kind of military intervention in that country. I thought it important to share it with you.

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It was organised jointly by the Stop the War Coalition and CND . (See links for these organisations at the bottom of the page)¬† I didn’t attend the march because I don’t care about the people of Syria, on the contrary it’s because I care and stand with the mothers of that country that I do not believe more bombs are the answer.¬†

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Why not what some democrats in Syria itself are calling for?  namely a UN arms embargo, no-fly zone and safe havens for civilians. 

There was an interesting mix of people at the rally who seemed to have many reasons for being there.

I met a lovely couple Alison and Stuart who are Quakers with a strong commitment to peace through non-violent dialogue.. That’s Ali with me below. I devised a cunning way of fixing my Hands off Syria placard between my back and backpack so I was hands-free to use my camera. Good for the posture too!

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I met a policeman who was very enthusiastic about the stance we were taking. I’m not showing his face but this is him below..feeling hot and bothered in that uniform¬†in the midday sun.

the policeman.

Many of you will know that just 2 days before this protest march the British parliament voted not to take part in any military action in Syria which was a great relief but the protest¬† march continued because what really happened in parliament was that effectively the Tories and Labour voted against each others proposals, both of which would have meant military intervention with just a different time scale,¬†so it didn’t feel so much like a victory to me personally.¬† However having said that¬†it was evident from what some of those who voted against military action ( and a big thank you to them) said afterwards , that they HAD been swayed by the overwhelming public mood against it and that is both good for democracy and shows that demonstrations, lobbying MP’s etc does work. .¬† ¬†

The voice of peace needs to keep being heard because as Jeremy Corbyn¬†MP and Chair of Stop the War recently said “There still exists the danger of renewed conflict as the interests of the military, arms dealers, and others remains ever-present and very powerful”

This man’s placard said what I feel :-

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After the march there was a rally held in Trafalgar square and by far the loudest cheers were for the veteran campaigners Tariq Ali and the former labour MP Tony Benn. Inspirational as ever.

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I believe it is so important to stand up for non-¬†violent resolution to the world’s problems. Human life is precious and none of us have the right to decide whose life¬†is worth more than another.¬†

The hypocrisy¬†of the¬†American government¬†who were guilty of killing at least a million people and causing birth defects in hundreds of thousands¬†of children because of their use of incendiary napalm and Agent Orange, a super-strength chemical herbicide, in Vietnam, frankly¬†beggars belief. I don’t think with their history they¬†can take the moral high ground.¬†¬†

The knee-jerk reaction that the only way to stop conflict is to bomb your way out of it, has been proved not to work and needs to stop.

I leave you with a few other photos from the day.

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Apologies if this last one offends anyone ūüėČ

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A big thank you to The Stop the War Coalition and CND for organising such an effect protest march and rally.

http://www.stopwar.org.uk/

http://www.cnduk.org/

I have written about the cost of war and associated issues¬†before –

https://hellenjc.wordpress.com/2013/04/07/the-human-cost-of-war/

https://hellenjc.wordpress.com/2012/10/14/naming-the-dead/

https://hellenjc.wordpress.com/2012/09/23/is-this-what-we-want-for-our-sons-and-daughters/

https://hellenjc.wordpress.com/2012/03/18/white-feather-caught-in-thorns/

https://hellenjc.wordpress.com/2012/08/05/guns-what-are-they-good-for/

Saturday girl signing off til whenever.

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You can find my photography blog Photomania here 

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