It was grey, grimy, and gobbing down with rain, but still, they came in their hundreds, and marched on Beeston. Apparently, the 1,000 or so marchers who got together on Saturday to protest about the coalition’s plans to sell off the Royal Mail made history. I didn’t, as I was late due to circumstances out of my control – I was in the throes of a serious bout of Wine Flu- but I did make catch the tail end, and was amazed to see how many people braved the dirty weather and became part of Beestonia’s biggest march for nearly centuries. I’ll allow some pictures to do the talking for me…
I arrived just as the march completed its route through the centre of Beeston, and past the Conservative Club where much booing ensued, and to the New Venture Club, on the cusp of the Rylands, for a packed meeting fuelled by chips, mushy peas and reasonably priced booze.
It’s not the first time I’ve felt something is in the air, but never before has my spider-sense been so tingled. This may have been a single-issue demo. on the surface; a very important single issue, granted; but its far, far more than that.
An old friend of mine, a mother of one with no real previous political inclination, met me for coffee recently and commented ‘this government really are awful, aren’t they?’ . I was mildly surprised by this admission: and even more surprised with the tirade that followed as she vented spleen on the NHS reforms, the (now back-tracked) forest sell-off, the swathing cuts to public services, abolition of EMA, until I had to calm her down before she took up arms and went on a one-woman mission to Westminster. It did make me think however, that if such a previously political atheist, and all-round mild-mannered woman such as she was so vexed, things were definitely about to get very interesting.
And talking to posties at the rally, that feeling reinforced. All were angry, even self-confessed Tories (I did find two, though they both admitted the ballot box X will be better placed next time). The government, they generally concurred, was pushing through as much radical policy now to ‘front-end’ the pain/ unpopularity….if you are governing with a coalition that could so easily break down, you will want to move fast to legislate. And should they serve out a five-year term, and personally I’ll be surprised if they make even half that term; then they will have had the protests, the uproar, the stark astonishment at the gross awfulness of their policies in the past, and slipping out of public memory.
Unless the people don’t let them get away with it. When I attended the meetings regarding library closures, students from the Uni pledged that they would align with the anti-closure lobby. On saturday, the posties pledged they would back the students in their protests. UNISON, who pledged support to the library campaign, were given support from the CWU who promised not to cross any UNISON picket lines, despite this being against the law. To quote the effusive CWU rep, Lee Baron: ‘We’d rather break the law than picket lines’.
This shows a new coalition forming, one of all who oppose the madness of our Etonion Overlords, and while its glib to compare such a movement to whats cracking off all over North Africa and the Middle East, it’s heartening to see that the British also know when to raise two fingers when leaders go against their mandates.
I’m now on Twitter: properly this time. Search for beeestonia (note the treble ‘e’, I did have the correct spelling account but lost it). Come follow me!
Highlights of the meeting included Nick Palmer’s explanation as to why his successor didn’t attend ‘Perhaps Anna Soubry is busy catching up on her correspondence…’ ; CWU top-dog Billy Hayes description of Mandelson as ‘a man you really don’t like when you meet him. But over time, when you get to know him, you get to really loathe’; Lilian Greenwood’s unrestrained fury at all things coalition, that sent the whole room into a blast of vuvuzela wailing; and Lee Baron’s description of Soubry as the ‘rudest, most ignorant’ politician he’d ever come across.
I went for a pint with some posties afterwards. As a former Royal Mail employee, I know this is hazardous, but I survived with both kidneys unscathed, but my sides thoroughly torn asunder with laughter. My favourite ex-colleague, the shiny-headed Big Tony was in attendance. Tony, more commonly known as Zog due to his otherworldliness, is possibly the funniest man in Nottingham and I rued not having a pint with him earlier. I have many tales to tell of this man, including one that involves the Reading Festival, leotards and farmyard impressions but decency, space and the fear of litigation means they must remain unsaid.
He was actually wearing on of the Soubry masks (see above) when I ran into him. It was possibly the most disturbing moment of my life. And I’ve been to Long Eaton.
I recently made my debut appearance on the spankingly wonderful eighteensixtyfive podcast (if you’re a Forest fan, you need to be reading it. After you’ve read this, of course) as a post-match analyst. Since the sacking of Keys and Grey, I thought there might be a good chance of a job, yet alas, it was rather ruined by
- Me not knowing an awful lot about football
- Having a horrendous cold that made me sound like I was talking via a tuba.
- Missing the crucial goal as I was blowing my nose.
So I was surprised to be invited back, and you can listen to my masterclass in soccer analysis on the podcast -click the link above and go to the first article. It proves beyond doubt that it’s not only politics I can clumsily bang on about despite being so out my depth I’m jogging down the Marianas Trench.