I cannot remember a protest march that was so good natured and amiable. It was more of a gathering of people concerned with highlighting the injustice that is about to happen, and in some instances is already happening.
The issues are many but here are a few:
...Cuts to Social Services funding meaning essential services for the disabled are being cut and in some cases withdrawn by Local Authorities.
...Changes to DLA, which will be replaced by Personal Independence Payments...With ongoing reassessments, and only two components to care and mobility rates taking a lot of people out of eligibility. This is due to happen when Universal Credit is bought in in 2013/2014
...A harsher Work Capability Assessment which does not take into consideration long term and chronic conditions or real life situations and which will move many people off of benefits when they are far from the work place and in effect unemployable.
After a rally that saw Jane Asher and Liam Byrne, Shadow Work and Pensions Minister, among others, give rousing speeches to the gathering crowd, while open topped tourist buses went past with cheering occupants,we all marched towards Westminster
The above and many more issues were highlighted in various banners and in march chants, including the one by the RNIB in the main picture.
The sign in the centre says "We are being ********* by the Government.. the *'s representing Braille on the sign .. the Braille word is actually "shafted". Though I only have their word for that!
There was no malice as such, but more of a general feeling of fear of what the future held, and for many this would mean the end of any quality of life.
I think you have to bear in mind that we already have to fight for everything including health care and benefits, and to a degree accept that as the norm. This should not be the case.
Almost 8000 people managed to get there from all across the UK. There were individuals and groups representing nearly every disability and long term condition you could think of.. And some you can’t.
The attendance would have been higher but for geographical, cost, and accessibility issues when using public transport.
Carers and support groups marched together with the group and the pace was understandably slow.
It was only a short distance from the start at Victoria Embankment to Dean Stanley Street and past the House of Commons, but you could see some people flagging, including myself. I personally was spurred on by the feeling of being in a cohesive group and being part of something unique.
It was stated that this was the largest March of it’s kind ever in the UK, and I for one am proud to have been a part of it , and in my own small way a part of history in the making .
TV coverage was scant, although it appears some of the media are at last showing examples of wrong decisions by the DWP and highlighting the efforts people have to go through to get the benefits they are legally entitled to.
I hope this is a sign of things to come, and that any campaigning does not wither and die after the march, but gathers momentum.
Write to you MP , be more active , don’t just sit there and let this happen !