Monday, October 22, 2012

Layer 548 . . . The Streets of London


The streets of London were busy on Saturday. Situation normal? Walking through the almost car-free, semi-pedestrianised streets of Soho and Covent Garden there were crowds of people of every age and ethnicity; hundreds of people - shopping, socialising, enjoying themselves. Prosperous-looking people, many of them laden with shopping bags - the majority of those bags bearing the names of up-market brands; none of them filled with ordinary groceries - none of your cheapo plastic bags from Tesco, Asda, Sainsburys or Lidl; or Primark, or Poundstretcher.

Recession? Falling incomes? Unemployment? Poverty? Not here, it seems. Maybe a metropolis is always different from its hinterlands. Over in Mayfair there were Bentleys and large black Mercedes on every street; huge Rolls Royces oozed silently like giant black slugs around their spiritual home - the streets between Berkeley Square, Grosvenor Square and Park Lane. It has to be said that nobody in Mayfair looked as though they'd been hit by austerity, or looked like they were 'in it' with the rest of us.

Meanwhile, that very afternoon, 100,000 people, many of whom had travelled to London from far away cities and towns, had marched in a huge demonstration against the government's failed austerity policies - setting off from the Victoria Embankment and wending their way via Westminster, Parliament, Whitehall, Trafalgar Square, Pall Mall and Piccadilly to Hyde Park for a mass rally. This was an event organised by British Trade Unions, and the rally was addressed by many of their union leaders, and Ed Miliband.



100,000 may sound like a lot of people - but how come there weren't 1 million or more? Just how much social solidarity is there in this country? How many people, or how few people, are prepared to stand up and say, "We're mad as hell, and we're not going to take it any more!"


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Incidentally - memo to Unison. Which complete prick within your organisation thought it was a good idea to buy shedloads of nasty plastic vuvuzelas and distribute them to the marchers? The cacophony made by these things was unbearable, and utterly alienating. A stupid, brain-damaging awful sound that stopped people talking, chanting and singing. A cretinous thing to do when half the point of a march is to hear human voices, to meet and talk with other people, and to raise consciousness - not dull it and blast it with ridiculous noise. All credit to Unison for getting thousands of its members out on the demonstration - but enough of the appalling racket already!



Contrast that with the brilliant sounds in other sections of the demo - brass bands, drummers, even bagpipes. Yes - even bagpipes sound better than bloody vuvuzelas.

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Will any of this make any difference anyway? Probably not, but it's worth making an effort to do SOMETHING.

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Was Brother Ed's speech any good? Not really, but at least he turned up and showed some solidarity and support. Which is a lot more than can be said for many of his so-called comrades.

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All photos (c) Oxzen Images


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