From 5 to 85, even peakingat 90. The 5000 public workers striding through the streets of Birmingham side by side, many arm in arm, brought the city to life.
For such a metropolitan area there was a communal feel to today’s proceedings. People of all ages showed their dismay, dissolution and disgrace at the country’s leaders in a positive way that would prove the country proud.
No violence needed. The impact the united unions projected was one of sheer resistance. Each person had a story to tell and a belief to march for.
Starting on Livery Street and ending at the National Indoor Arena, the chief steward told of how “thrilled” he was to see such a positive response.
“We have 12 unions represented on our official poster but about 22 altogether, including high profile ones like Fire Brigade Union”
There were giant balloons plastered in union slogans, thousands of people carrying signs. Four men carried a fake, but life-size guillotine, on the woodblock were three mannequins of the men at the top of the food chain that is British Government.
Written by Huw Hopkins – MA Journalism Student
85 year-old Mr Oulaghan “I’m very excited, it’s a really good turn out, everybody can’t be wrong.”
Despite the angry political reasons behind the point of the rally, the event itself was quite a jovial affair. The mixture of parents, pensioners and children all represented themselves in with honour.
There was a disappointing void in proceedings. Amongst the sea of flags, it was tough to spot a single National Union of Students banner. The teenagers and young adults missed out on a vital opportunity to show their support. This may be the reason the Prime Minister labelled the event “a damp squib” the following day.
This is likely to be used during the all-important Fresher’s Week. This is the time of year the CUSU need to establish themselves as a point of contact as a support system for students in times of distress. They must also establish themselves as a leader when students don’t which path to follow.
Although the void was apparent, this didn’t distract from the task at hand.
“Its great to see everybody together but I’m angry about the fact that a lot of wealthy people are telling us to tighten our belts” Alan Taylor reminds us. He was in Birmingham representing the Foxhollies Special School, who promote art, performance and sport for special needs teenagers. The school was closed but the Deputy Head teacher Keith Youngson said, “We’re here for them, we’re all here for them”.
Follow Huw on Twitter @HuwLHopkins. Photography by Simon Pipe.