I saw a passionate cri de coeur on Facebook this morning from a literary agent. ‘Our libraries are valuable’ she said. ‘We need them. We mustn’t let them be closed.’ Perfectly true but saying so, won’t make it so. All over the country people are coming out on the streets to say the same sort of things about a whole variety of jobs and social services. There’s a splendid determination about them all. If by saying ‘Look this has got to stop’ they could achieve the results we all want, then they would do it.
Look at the wonderfully determined backs of these firemen. They know very well that closing fire stations will not improve the service, but will make their lives and the lives of people caught in fires, much more difficult.
Look at the doctors and nurses and hospital support staff. They know that closing A&E departments, starving the NHS of the funds we’ve all paid towards it with our NICs and our taxes, is making their work ten times more difficult and putting patients lives and well-being at risk. They care about this very deeply and rightly. Talk to any of them and they will tell you how dire the situation is.
Even the libraries are not immune from cuts and privatisation, despite library supporters coming out onto the streets and hanging banners in front of the libraries they are trying to defend. Thousands of libraries have gone already. 111 are planned to go. The cuts go on despite what people are saying. And they will go on, because saying ‘Don’t do it’ won’t make our political leaders stop.
Look at the teachers, very aware that their schools are being privatised to make money for private companies, that children are being given more and more tests and examinations to satisfy the greed of the private companies who run them and are paid to do so from the taxes we have all willingly paid to ensure a good education for our children. Here they are saying ‘No to pay cuts.’ ‘No more examinations.’ ‘Let our children learn.’
And now in the last few days when our leaders thought we would all be on holiday and not notice, what is left of our once great steel industry is threatened with closure. Is it any wonder the steel men have joined all the rest of us in our protests. ‘This has got to stop.’ ‘Save our steel communities.’
But sadly, sadly, every single one of our voices will be ignored by a government determined to privatise as widely and thoroughly as they can, no matter how cruel it can be because there is so much money to be made out of it by them and their friends and because it seems to be a foolproof way of pushing the ordinary people in this country back to the subservient state they were in, in the thirties. There is only one way to stop a government as determined as this one, and that is through the ballot box. One of the few good things that could come from all this unrest and all this angry protest is that groups could eventually make contact with one another, could organise joint demonstrations, best of all could spread the word about what is actually going on.
If a funny, old woman can advise you, oh all you wonderful, angry, necessary protesters, don’t just get aggrieved, get together.