#nov30 march and rally in #derbyuk

As a teacher in a union, I was on strike today.I also gathered and rallied and marched to defend our pensions. Pay more, work longer, get less, is not a lesson we want to hear. I also checked the grammar on the posters and banners. One school had its own poster and I made a note to myself that, if we go on strike again, designing a poster/banner should be included in citizenship curriculum.

The turn out was good

: apparently better than the organisers had anticipated. At the end, we squeezed passed the ice rink and the impending Christmas market, to gather round a marquee, far too small to accommodate us. As a result, I heard none of the speeches and people drifted away sooner rather than later. As someone has just tweeted me:” The march was back to front! We definitely missed that moment of collective affirmation…” Will it make a difference to our pensions? It might give the negotiators slightly more power…other than that, I doubt it. I could probably have stayed at home and caught up on paper work and no one wouldn’t have been noticed.

As an individual, resident of Derby for 27 years, I gathered rallied and marched. I met up with some old faces- the usual suspects you might say- and recalled what we did in the late 80s- anti gulf war, anti poll tax(I made the frontpage of the DET), setting up the law centre. We retired to the pub and talked about real ale in Derby, mass trespass on the Derwent and, inevitably, reading schemes.

All of which could be dismissed as old folk reminiscing except that there is this: I felt in touch with people as I did on the bombardier march. We came out of our boxes that we can ill afford and talked about something other than reality tv. Young and old mixed and talked as we did during #derbyfeste when we reclaimed the streets.

For me, today was also much more than about pensions, it was also about cuts. Cuts to the arts, cuts in education, cuts in care homes, cuts in youth services.

It was also to me about Derby. This city has been on the up. Derbyfeste is a great example of bringing the city together, out on the street and into the parks. The march against the Bombardier decision showed a sense of solidarity. In my opinion we should build on this solidarity. I was disappointed that those campaigning against these cuts did not appear to support the strike- a creative banner at the Quad for instance, would not have gone amiss. The banks around Market Square were left in peace.

We are being told that cuts are inevitable. No they are not. With the help of the press, the govt have played a great game of divide and rule. The cuts are not inevitable, the bombardier decision is not inevitable, cuts to our pensions are not inevtable. The private sector relies on the public sector and vice versa. There is a real need to connect, locally and nationally.


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