This morning I took part in one of the many anti-cuts demonstrations that took place today. It was a miserable day, cold and wet, and I was therefore surprised by the numbers who turned up to march from Castle Park to College Green. We were told by one of the speakers that the police estimated the turnout at 500 and the organisers 5,000. All I can say is that it was somewhere between the two.
When we reached College Green we were addressed by a series of union leaders sheltering under unbrellas as they roused the crowd with their well worn rhetoric. No concensus politics here! I'm opposed to these cuts, especially in relation to higher education, but I do wish we could get away from the language of confrontation. It's outdated and not particulary helpful.
As the mother of two daughters, one just embarked on a four year university course and the other due to start the year tuition fees are set to rise, I was particularly impressed by the Bristol University student who put her case very eloquently against the recent announcements.
There was a minor skirmish, not particularly well handled by either the crowd or the speakers, but it was soon under control. It was the first time I've witnessed any trouble at a demo, and I've been at a fair few. I hope it's not a foretaste of what's to come, as we all need to keep our heads if we're to be taken seriously.
Anyway, by the time the speeches were over and the crowd settled, I was so cold and wet that nothing but a mug of builder's tea and a crisp bacon roll would do. These were both amply provided by the Revival Cafe in Corn Street (unfortunately no website to link to), which I would highly recommend to anyone needing sustenance after any outdoor activity, be it political or commercial.
PS I'm proud to say that my elder daughter was at a similar march in Edinburgh where the sun shone and the protesters were accompanied by pipers.
PPS I did take a photo of my placard, but it was corrupted during upload so I've had to make do with the poster. And I only thought of taking one of my bacon roll after it was eaten!