A very polite march with the Gore-Tex guerillas losing final-salary perk

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AS MOBS go, they were awfully nice.

Hundreds of not so ordinary working people marching through Sheffield concerned about their futures, conjuring up their pasts.

All around the country public service groups are dusting off their placards and defiance and taking to the streets in their walking shoes and waterproof leisure-wear - the forecast was a little uncertain, even for these Gore-Tex guerillas.

The march is polite and orderly.

A vicar helps carry a placard, mums and dads hold hands, two small boys wave NAPO flags - but surely a march containing so many teachers with school-trip experience should have fewer stragglers.

They file past the bouncers on the doors of Barclays who smile their close-cropped smiles and say nothing.

Further along somewhat uncharitable chants of: “Cleggy cleggy cleggy - die, die, die” lose out to Greggy, Greggy, Greggy pie, pie, pie as the march passes its third Greggs shop.

A few slope off for a sneaky steak bake then return, munching as they march to a lone trumpeter who pipes up with Aker Bilk’s Stranger On The Shore outside Atkinson’s - shouldn’t that be Stranger On The Moor?

“Where are they all going mum?” asks a little girl with ice cream all over her face,

“I don’t know, they’re protesting about summat,” says mum as the kid gets the dreaded spit-moistened hanky to her sticky chops.

Back in Barkers Pool we had emotional tirades on right wing press conspiracies, billionaire bankers, Tory toffs and some sensible remarks about pension rights and honesty.

A speaker demand strikes, strikes, strikes, another demands fairness and justice and one just wants to smash the Tories and their millionaire robber baron David Cameron.

Emotive stuff, but these are our teachers and council workers who were promised a decent pension to compensate for what used to be lower wages and in some cases long hours.

They feel aggrieved about losing their promised final-salary perk, didn’t we all?

Why shouldn’t they fight to try and keep it?

But the same argument says why should they keep them just because they work for the state?

They blame the bankers, the bankers blame the market, Tories blame Labour and we have to work until we’re 68 and cough up more to pay for it all.

The protest ends with a song, members meander off chatting about where they’ve parked and where they’re going for their holidays, some nip into Holland and Barrett.

By the time they get to Fargate they’ve melted back into the mass of shoppers in the sunshine, all sense of the collective dissipated.

Until next time.

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