Like a lot of people I’m not very happy to hear about rising energy bills and the other costs, and the expectation that we’ll probably have higher interest rates soon as our Conservative government reacts as its predecessors did to rising inflation. Although employment and unemployment figures are good at the moment, we are in the bounce back from the low base set 2 years ago, and can still see things turning by the end of the year as the squeeze on incomes gets worse. We might yet hear the word “stagflation” back again.
So I thought I may as well go and see the protest in Parliament Square about the Fuel Price Crisis, as I haven’t seen any big gatherings like that for a long time and that one was as good as any. As expected SWP and related also had stalls there, but it’s very easy to avoid holding one of their banners. They are just a fixture, like the man playing the bagpipes and the other guy protesting about plastic waste in the sea.
I got a train in to Victoria station. I would say mask-wearing was a bit below 50% but not much. There is no simple or obvious divide (young/old etc.) between maskers and non-maskers, and I have not seen any signs of friction between them. It seems everyone is used to the division on this issue and they simply screen it out; there are also no signs of anyone enforcing the rules anymore on buses or trains. I walked from Victoria to Westminster and saw police TSG vans already in the area, and the sound of a helicopter overhead which always accompanies any demo in central London.
I was startled by this:
Asking some guys sat smoking nearby and they explained they were part of the crew for Netflix’s The Crown, which must now have reached the late 90s. I asked if Olivia would be turning up later but they said it wasn’t a filming day. What a missed opportunity for a Gangsters-style framebreaking finale moment that just condensed the last 25 years of British history in to 1 big scene.
The stage for the meeting was being set up on the green:
People were gathering:
The 2 old Liberal Party reformists standing aside what came afterwards:
I went away to get a cup of tea and something to eat and things had got underway. Here is Mandela and the crowd:
There were lots of leaflets and pamphlets being given out, including one about the strike by security guards at Great Ormond Street Hospital. Here are some others:
I also saw the February 2022 edition of The Socialist Standard, which did lead with articles about Ukraine and Kazakhstan but also had some interesting things about “population explosion” mythology, a critique of E.O.Wilson, and a sketch of “The Charity Shop Manager” which dealt with glib explanations of awful people in terms of “human nature”, and could have been a companion to the piece about Wilson.
The picture at the top is a defunct van I saw parked in Norwood near all the other wrecks and write-offs.