TUC March 20 October 2012, a set on Flickr.
Despite drinking a few beers and half a bottle of red wine I struggled to sleep last Friday night. Like many people I often toss and turn when I know I’ve got an early start.
The early start was, relatively speaking, quite exceptional – breakfast at 4am in the morning ready to meet outside Swansea’s Guidlhall at 5.30am.
Dawn showed no sign of breaking as I quietly joined my fellow activists. As we waited for the coach to arrive the autumn chill began to bite. At least I had been to bed, a brave chap had been in Cardiff the night before, enjoying a few pints with old pals, and had caught the early train.
The coach finally arrived, approximately half an hour late, and we set off for London.
There was an air of excitement on the coach, hushed by the sleepy yawns as everyone settled into their seats and attempted to get some rest before the day’s march.
A few hours later we were passing the spectacular James Bond theme window displays of Harrods.
After zig-zagging across London we finally alighted the coach in Aldwych and headed down to Embankment to take our places towards the front of the march.
The day’s march was peaceful and had a family-friendly atmosphere, I noticed several kids protesting with their parents.
After walking for two to three hours we arrive at the rally in Hyde Park to listen to the speeches.
Bob Crowe, Mark Serwotka and Len McKlusky went down a storm. My own union’s general secretary, Dave Prentis, less so.
But the frosty reception was saved for Ed Miliband, who struggled to be heard above the boos coming from the activists gathered towards the front.
That said, they’ve probably done him a favor – he may now be seen as not quite so ‘Red Ed’. His speech certainly spelled out some of the tough decisions ahead in creating a ‘One Nation’ Britain.
We headed back to our coach at around 4pm, stopping off for a quick pint and to pick up a few cans for the journey home, content that we’d made our point.
Perhaps, the time has now come for less posturing and more action. The activists’ calls for a 24 hour general strike certainly make you think.