Monday, 28 March 2011

Travelling from Tyneside to march for the alternative

Tim Adams from The Observer was on my coach from Newcastle to London on Saturday. He wrote a superb report, based on conversations with the wonderful range of people on board, which appeared prominently in yesterday's paper. I recommend reading it in full here - Newcastle, 5am: the tired and weary take the bus south to fight the cuts

It begins:

'The first thing to note about getting from Newcastle to London is the obvious one: it's a long way. No wonder it took the Jarrow marchers 22 days. Fortunately, the Coalition of Resistance (Tyne and Wear section) has arranged coaches (£25 waged, £10 unwaged). But still.

At 5.15am at Newcastle Central station, where the last stag-nighters are still trying to remember which hotel they checked into, the marchers are mustering, blinking themselves awake and attempting to summon appropriate levels of solidarity. A banner is unfurled displaying the coalition's logo: a huge pair of scissors and a little pale paper chain of workers and families. Huddled together in the misty morning Geordie light, the symbolism feels about right.

As soon as you talk to the assembled protesters, though, the vulnerability gives way to a shared sense of determined expectation. In contrast with single-issue protests of the past, almost everyone seems to have come for a different reason. Many are first-time marchers; some have never been to London.'


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