The government’s spending cuts are brutal, hitting crucial frontline services throughout the country. Today I joined thousands of people on a protest march through central London, organised by the TUC.
I’ve been on protests before but they’ve always been against war and violence in other countries. This march was about here, about speaking up for everyday things which are under threat, like libraries, Sure Start centres, the National Health Service, benefits for the sick and disabled including Disability Living Allowance (DLA) which I receive, day centres, lunch clubs, cultural centres and many other services without which this country would be a poorer and even more unfair place to live in.
The cuts are reaching into every community and the people marching reflected that. The estimated 400,000 marchers were from all backgrounds, ethnicities and generations. We were demonstrating because we all believe there are better ways to manage the economic crisis than cutting services for people who need them most.
I was with Leftwing Idiot, Ruth and a big group of other friends, including two toddlers. The march was massive, and at times I felt quite overwhelmed by the noise and the number of people, as well as by my tics. But I was amazingly well supported by my mates. The trickiest bit was walking which is difficult for me.
My friends took turns to walk with me and hold on to me. The pay-off for them was a chance to hear some Tourettes re-workings of popular protest chants:
“I say fortitude, you say sheep.”
“No ifs, no buts, no Care Bear in my guts.”
Tourettes also slightly confused the message of the march:
“More cuts now.”
“Yes to cuts.”
“I voted Tory.”
By the time I got back to the lair I was pretty tired and stiff. I’m glad I was able to go today. As with so many other things that are important, necessary or enjoyable, I couldn’t have done it without the support of my friends – and DLA.