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.
This film explains why campaigners closed a factory in Pysons Road industrial estate near Broadstairs earlier this week.
A THANET WATCH REPORT On Tuesday 17 February protestors closed down a Broadstairs factory owned by an Israeli drone manufacturer. The protestors, mainly made up of pro-Palestine campaigners, camped on the roof of the Instro Precision factory which is part of the Israeli Elbit company. One of the protestors chained herself to the gate of the factory. Elbit’s drones were used in the conflict in Gaza last year in which over 2000 people were killed including 495 children and 253 women. http://www.thanetwatch.wordpress.com
On Monday January 20th UKIP leader Nigel Farage came to Margate to meet supporters. Protesters met him outside the hotel to make their feelings clear about UKIP policies on animal rights, live exports, gay marriage and immigration.
Councillor Ian Driver says Thanet Council is institutionally homophobic, racist and sexist.
He’s determined to drag it kicking and screaming into the 21st Century.
And he believes two councillors, Ken Gregory and Mike Harrison, should be drummed out of the chamber for their behaviour.
“Thanet really is another planet when it comes to treating people with respect,” he says, “It’s like we’re in a parallel university.”
A rally for equal rights in Thanet is planned for Thursday July 12 in Hawley Square, Margate, at 5pm, followed by a march on the council building.
For the full story see the summer issue of Thanet Watch magazine in newsagents across Thanet now. If you have problems getting a copy, ring Thanet Watch on 01843 604 253.
Angry patients protest outside Broadstairs Health Centre because of concerns over poor service.
The health centre was recently taken over by Concordia Health Ltd, a private company which owns a string of health centres in London and one in Dover.