On budget day Jackie Walker from Broadstairs was outside parliament.
I was in London for (what I later found out) was an illegal protest in Parliament Square.
You have to understand, in the last 6 years or so there have been so many bans on what you can do outside Parliament it’s astounding they let people walk on that patch of grass at all. Apparently, I’m told by a reliable source, most MPs are very sensitive souls and they don’t like to see things getting all shouty – unless of course it’s at Prime Minister’s Question Time and the shouty people have been to public school.
Notwithstanding the wardens who now patrol Parliament Square in their Trumpton uniforms being jumpy and officious, the police seemed as chilled as the crowd and it was all pretty well tempered, the sun shining, banners unfurled and all that.
We heard speeches – though because of the restrictions it was hard to hear what was said above the traffic as no amplification or standing on steps above the crowd was allowed.
Jeremy Corbyn, the left’s candidate for Labour leader, was the sole MP who came out of the house to make his feelings known.
He spoke as news of the most major redistribution of wealth from poor to rich sent Tory backbenchers apoplectic with triumphalist joy.
George Osborne, of course, backed by his friends in the media, recast this decimation as “reforms” that would in fact help the 31% of children who live in poverty in Thanet and the 20% of people on welfare payments (mostly people in work) to get off their sofas and actually strive rather than skive.
Big business was also part of this neo-liberal jamboree, winning a reduction in corporation tax (yes, even though they already pay the lowest tax in any G20 country).
Even the housing crisis was addressed, with help for people with properties valued at £1m and over, feeling the stress of austerity, to leave their wealth intact to their loved ones …..even if their loved ones had never done a day’s work in their lives.
Given the assault on most people’s quality of life, the crowd remained pretty mellow as Natalie Bennett spoke about the injustice that was being sold to people as a fair deal for working people.
And it looked as if all would pass off quietly until the wardens, backed by police, removed a sound system playing John Lennon’s ‘Give Peace a Chance.’ You couldn’t make it up …really.