So I went on my first protest march yesterday, and what an introduction: about a quarter million marchers out to let the government know what they think of their draconian cuts. It was really magnificent.
Now, before I go any further, let me say that, like most people, I do have political opinions and, like most people, I do enjoy spouting them off in the pub when the discussion turns toward the nefarious doings of the current pack of assholes in power (because, face it, whoever they are, whether you voted for them or not, once they get into power, they become, de facto, “those assholes running the country”). However, unlike most people, I freely admit my opinion really isn’t worth considering. I know my limitations; I’m a project manager in a small computer company, it is all I can do to organize a simple project (and beyond my capabilities, if you listen to some of my co-workers) so running a country is outside of my remit and if, god help us, that responsibility ever fell to me, you could be certain I would make a hash of it. So there will be no political opinion spouting here—the soapbox is safely tucked into the closet where it belongs.
All that said, and admitting I do not agree with all of the parties that were marching, I think the protest was a fine idea. After all, the government has undeniably pissed off a large number of people, and we have the good fortune to live in a society where we have the right to let the government know that they have pissed us off and, furthermore, the ability to come together to express discontent without the government bombing us.
So what it amounted to, for me, was a lovely walk through London. And it was. The day was cool and mostly pleasant, and we had the opportunity to view a host of London landmarks on our winding way to Hyde Park without the hassle of traffic or those pesky tourists being in the way. We actually ran into a few people we knew (in a crowd that size—what are the odds), had a nice, and welcomed, early dinner, took a train home and arrived in time to catch ourselves on the evening news.
All in all, a perfectly fine day.
Granted, it won’t make a blind bit of difference; the government will continue to do what it is doing but at least now there are about 250,000 people who can feel just a bit better because they made an effort and did something.
That is democracy in action, and why I think the march was, not only a fine idea, but something that needed to be done, if only to preserve our right to do it.