I Marched for an Alternative on the 26th of March 2011, on the 27th I was out getting Labour Candidates signed up for the coming elections, so after midnight on the 28th I visit my blog to make some points.
Firstly, What a great day it was, great praise to Glen Newstead for the organisation of the day, thanks to Unite the Union for the transport to our capital city. We arrived in New Convent Garden at 10a.m, it was a grey day by the river Thames, we made our way to the Lambeth Pier for a boat to Blackfriers Pier, a great start, with waves from the police we landed onto Victoria embankment.
We walked to the beat of drums and music from a Tower Hamlets band, this adding real buzz to the day, the absolute diversity of groups that was protesting was amazing. We saw small community groups that have lost their small community council grants, the groups that makes society tick, now are going out of business, the obvious public sector workers who are taking the pain of the public sector cuts, whether nurses, teachers, council workers, construction workers.
Then you had people that made this March for an Alternative a carnival atmosphere, whether the bands or those who dressed up, this was a family event, we took over 4 hours to go from Victoria embankment to Hyde Park, we had no time for speeches before it was time to leave.
I did see the windows in Piccadilly put in especially the banks and the Ritz had been paint bombed, this of course was outrageous, this had nothing to do with the March.
The police were great, helpful and bored I would say, they looked it.
My memory of the March was a diverse group of people, young and old, people from London, Wells, from the North from the south and the east and the west, from Scotland and Wales, a family March, optimistic, people saying there is an Alternative, cutting public services to fast too hard when the economy has hardly recovered from the worse recession in 60 years, why should billionaires be allowed to transfer his income to his wife in Monaco or the avoidance of inheritance tax by setting up off shore tax havens or the tax evasion of our multi national corporations.
We cannot consign the young to years of unemployment, governments should intervene to protect against the harsh markets.
I was on the March for an Alternative, I was proud to be Labour and a proud trade unionist as well, the headlines may be grabbed by a few hot heads who do not respresent anyone, but the decent majority who deeply care about their country and the sort of country we want to live in made their voices heard, the Labour movement now needs to develop it's vision of the decent society, of fair taxes an active society and a state that intervenes to protect those without economic power.