Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Waiting for the Off in Northumberland Street

At around 11 am we were released from the union building in Northumberland Street, next to the Sherlock Holmes pub, and Alice, she with the megaphone, gave us some instructions for the march.

You can see yours truly in his trade mark flat cap, psyching myself up for the event!

YeeHaw...we're off!

The Text of my Hyde Park Speech on Saturday 26 March 2011



Hello Comrades, I’m Seán McGovern a disabled trade union activist; and, I’m honoured to be here today part of this anti-cuts movement. Which is growing daily!

Comrades, disabled people are fighting for the most basic of human rights.

  • The right to work;
  • the right to a living income for those who can’t work;
  • the right to sustenance;
  • the right to decent care support;
  • the right to live without hate crime; and
  • the right to dignity!

May I congratulate some of our popular media? Well done the Daily Heil, the Sun and Express, you purveyors of disablist propaganda. Along with the rubbish-end of TV and attention seeking politicians you’ve managed to demonise disabled people.

In times of recession and economic downturn governments and their media hounds need a scapegoat; history has shown us this; today it’s the turn of disabled people – who’s next?

No wonder hate crime against disabled people is on the rise.

While the bankers caused this economic crisis disabled people’s support and benefits are being blamed.

So much so that we are feeling the brunt of the ConDem ideological cuts.

They say these cuts aren’t ideological – liars!

· Replacing Disability Living Allowance with a Personal Independence Payment, with predicted savings of 20% – naked ideology!

· Introducing a draconian set of Work Capability Assessments – viciously ideological!

· Migrating disabled people from Incapacity Benefit to poverty level JobSeekers Allowance – driven by ideology!

· Removing hundreds of items from Access to Work; a scheme that earns 20% for every pound spent! – stupid ideology!

· Supported employment schemes such as Remploy under threat; thus adding to an ever-increasing unemployment queue and benefits bill – misguided ideology!

Not content with attacking our jobs and benefits they’re bent on depriving us of life enhancing resources. And calling it the BIG SOCIETY!

Day centres are closing. Council care is being cut. Direct Payments bills slashed as eligibility criteria are squeezed to critical only.

Comrades, every day disabled people are dying due to ConDem ideologically driven policies. They must go!

Today the struggle shifts up a gear! From here we must return to our cities, towns and villages to organise everyone against this ConDem regime; these enemies of disabled people, these enemies of the people – our class!!”

A Poor Night's Sleep: with a strange interruption

Woke up Saturday morning in quite a bit of pain and after an indifferent night’s sleep. The usual pain-halting sleep coupled with having to pee every hour or so isn’t exactly the remedy for a good night’s kip. However, another factor was added to my fractured sleep via a strange dream.

Dreams are dreams; some from which I wake up screaming, though not so often these days. Yet, this dream did kick me back into consciousness not in a nightmarish way; no, more in an uncomfortable, even slightly embarrassed way – though, I’m not sure why I should be embarrassed with my dreams

Briefly, in my dream I was on a stage in front of a massive crowd. In my hands I had some notes, from which I knew I was about to address the sea of humanity who were spread before me, almost to the horizon, waving arms, banners, flags and assorted wavy kinds of things.

Coming closer to the front of the stage, I noticed I was wearing a three-piece-suit with massive lapels and flared trousers. Getting to the mike I took a closer look at the audience which, on closer inspection, was made up with long-haired people dressed in 1970s clothing – I guessed the ones with the beards were the men, and the others women

As I reached for the mike the noise reached a crescendo that only abated as I began softly singing à la Harry Nilsson:

“No I cant forget this evening
Or your face as you were leaving
But I guess that’s just the way this story goes,
You always smile
But in your eyes your sorrow shows...”

At which point I woke up in a cold sweat scratching at a beard I didn’t have and wondering why the hell Harry Nilsson, a singer I had little time for when he was alive and at the height of career in the 70s, was invading my privacy nearly forty-years later.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Start of the Great March 26 March

Shan’t attempt to give a broad canvas of Saturday’s march, as the day didn’t pan out that way for me. No, the event was a veritable whirligig of wonderful snapshots; a kaleidoscope of different activities fused together to create one of the most successful labour movement demos ever!

After several incidents on the way to the event we were led out by the march stewards and invited to take up positions behind the lead banner – you know, the one held at about chest height. The TUC had allocated me a steward for the march, Karl a Unite organiser and good Comrade; and, Karl spotting the last remaining place along the banner’s length pushed me towards it.

There had been an agreement that, due to the disproportionate punishment we were receiving by these cuts, disabled people should visible at the front of the march.

So far so good; however, as I put my arm forward to hold the banner, as if from nowhere an elderly woman rushed past me and hopping over my legs and footplate gripped onto the remaining section of banner.

Not very comradely; and, of course now there was no visible representation of disabled people at the very front of the march; something we’d been promised. The banner snatcher being taller blocked me from view.

For the sake of solidarity, I won’t name the sprightly 76-year old Vice President, and London Region secretary, of the National Pensioners Convention; but may I ask next time, please pick on someone your own size!

Sean's March 26 Hyde Park Speech

The first link is to my speech to hundreds of thousands of people in Hyde Park at around 3:45 pm on Saturday 26th March, 2011; and, the second opens up the other speeches.