Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Nice day for a strike - by Theo

Despite the fact that I don't yet have a pension, nor a job to go on strike from, I figured I should show solidarity with my future colleagues and join in the Bristol demo. I am in fact a member of all three main teaching unions (NUT, ATL, NASUWT - PGCE students join free), so even more reason to turn up.

Today was, conveniently, a study day, so I was in the library anyway having taken my QTS numeracy test that morning (more of that later), and only had to wander down Park Street. I managed to time my exit from Berkley Square perfectly so I could tag onto the UCU members as they marched down from Senate House to join the swelling ranks of protesting public sector workers gathering near the Occupy Bristol tent city on College Green.

It was perfect weather: clear blue skies, little breeze and warm sunshine. Loads of kids (well, the schools were on strike!) and lots of colour, with various flags and banners waving back and forth. The Ambling Band, dressed in resplendent pink, had turned up to provide a welcome jaunty accompaniment and there was also a samba band further down the procession. I bumped into a couple of old pals (Richie, Tom) as well as most members of the English Department at my first placement school. The school where I'll be next was also closed today, so I guess some of my future colleagues may well have been there too.

Honestly it is such a shame that the so-called progressive parties in the UK seem to be terrified of fighting the corner of the public sector, for fear of affronting all-powerful private interests presumably. There was meant to be 2 million-odd people on strike across the country today; that's a sizeable chunk of the electorate. If only somebody at Westminster was brave enough to say "Yep. We're with you."

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