Strands together

When I began blogging I didn’t intend to blog about ‘politics’ and ‘issues’. Over the past few months through my own work I’ve been increasingly concerned about the impact of the spending cuts. I’ve also ‘met’ some amazing bloggers struggling with difficult situations, I’ve been moved by the weight bloggers have put behind Save the Children’s Born to Campaign. I feel I can speak to fellow bloggers.

Today, I went on a demonstration, it’s not really me, I’d rather fire off an emails. I went today because, frankly, it was important to the rest of the team I work with. I took Noo and fed him chocolate biscuits as a bribe for sticking it out; he enjoyed the clapping bits.

It was one of those demonstrations where you sort of stand in one place, we stood outside the City Hall before a crucial budget meeting on spending cuts was about to begin. It was about saying we are concerned about this, very concerned.

The crowd was addressed by various speakers, some of whom referred to us as ‘Comrades’ which makes me go all Middle Class from Kent (which I am) and I kind of switch off an start thinking about Waitrose or Boden or something.

But one speaker inspired me. She had never spoken in public before and worked for a respite service. She worked with children with special needs and challenging behaviour, whom she described as ‘the most beautiful children in the world’, she was emotive and clearly passionate about her work. Her service faced closure, something unacceptable to both staff and the families using the service and so they stood together and fought and won.

It is possible (you can find a link to it here)

The next speaker began and I was back with Waitrose. Then I zoned back in because his point was joining strands together. The strength to be gained in joining individual strands together to create something stronger.

Today, the budget proposals that so concerned the group that demonstrated have been passed, but that doesn’t make it OK. It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t stand up and say we don’t agree. Things can change.

I’m glad I did. I was proud to ‘demonstrate’ that this whole issue of spending cuts is important. This is anything but simplistic, I don’t have answers and I struggle with the economics of it all.
It’s easy to go all ‘Waitrose’ and zone out. But it affects all of us, loss of services we might not be directly using, but maybe services that our friend’s child with special needs uses, or an elderly Auntie, or our neighbours. Services we take from granted such as the police. The police are losing around 10% of their budget. Imagine, losing 10% of your household income?

I guess, what I’m saying is, just give it some thought and if I can persuade you to do something, get involved anywhere, even crossing the road to stand at the edge of a demonstration and just listen and add weight of numbers. Consider it. The more strands that join together the strong the message becomes.

There is a march on Saturday 26th March in Central London organised by the TUC (click here) it is hoped that many thousands will join together and in strength of numbers say it isn’t OK.
I won’t be going, but the team I work with will. I saw a great quote on Twitter ‘I wanted to change the world but I couldn’t find a babysitter’ it applies. (Many thanks Vicky – please check out her wonderful resource for parents and kids Little legends by clicking here and follow her on twitter @vickywood).

This is me trying to do my bit. If your still here at the end – Thank you for reading, you also deserve a chocolate biscuit x

Post Script 11th March
This Post is included in Ella’s Notes from Home Friday Carnival on Activism – Pop over and check out the other entries.
Since writing this post I have been very moved by all the comments and have made a decision to attend the March for the Alternative on 26th March (child and all)
The Friday Club


  1. SAHMlovingit

    Brilliant stuff Gemma and go your for getting involved. More of us should get involved to make our voices heard. I think most people complain bitterly about the situations we are in but never get their arses off the sofa long enough to do anything about it.

    Can I have my choccy biscuit now please?


  2. lizfraser

    Really enjoyed this – well done you! It’s much better to go out and DO something, listen and learn than sit at home with a cuppa moaning ( I do.) You’ve motivated me, lady. Might even get off my bottom and come along to the London demo March. Let’s strand together 🙂

  3. Mummy and the Beastie

    I agree, good on your for going and showing your support. You did make me laugh about the zoning out bit, I am prone to that too. The key to that is to still have an interested face whilst doing this, very tough! I have replaced the chocolate biscuit with lemon curd on toast…:-)

  4. Vicky

    I am really impressed Gemma. As you say, it is one thing campaigning from the comfort of your own home but putting yourself out there is a different matter. Good for you! Maybe it’s time to change my catchphrase?

  5. Flora

    Like you as soon as I hear the word “comrade” I groan. But I am going to take my 2 kids on the big London march. I’ve been reading about all the mums coming from children’s centres around the country with their babies in pushchairs. Even the Woodcraft Folk are bring all their children – if the folkies are there it must be ok! I think that the march is bringing together so many different people from around the country that it won’t be ignored. I’ve never been to a protest before – but this time round, as a mother who can see how these cuts are going to affect our young children, I just can’t stick my head in the sand. Great post Gemma

  6. Roberta

    Hiya Gemma,
    Thanks for dropping by to visit my new blog. Its great to know that people are liking it. I’ve just read your recent posting, and like the others have said, Good For You! Its so hard to think sometimes that one more person can make a different, but it does. And it is such and important issue. As a teacher, I am really torn about the budget cut issues. I make decent money, but everything keeps getting more expensive….. My school is facing cuts, and while little old me, the classroom teacher certainly wont be the first to feel the pinch (my job is secure, unlike the council people), we will soon be doing more with less. But maybe we should (Do my kids really learn that much better because I have a new interactive whiteboard? I doubt it. But try telling OFSted that!), who knows? Also, doesnt something have to be done about all the over spending and debt? I just wish we could wave a magic wand and fix it all, without the people who dont deserve to feel the pinch ( like the respite carer), having to suffer. I just dont think there is a simple answer. Do you?

    1. helloitsgemma

      Roberta, thank you for your comment. You are right, there is no simple answer. Other political parties think there is an alternative way, I think the arguments are too complex for me to try and set out. What I struggle with is the lack of accountability in respect of the Banks. Suddenly, we are all accountable and making savings, while they still justify a bonus culture, one bonus would buy many many white boards *gets off soap box* Thank you for dropping by.

  7. Mummy Beadzoid

    Hi Gemma,
    Great post and it’s great to see that you were moved to actually do something to have your voice heard. I’ve been concerned about the impact of these cuts since before the coalition government were elected and I have to say that is turning out even worse than I thought it would be. I have very strong poltical opinions but like you, I try not to be too vocal about them in this arena. What’s the saying? Never discuss politics or religion in the pub, and I guess this is my social club at the moment!

    You wrote in your response to Roberta that there are alternatives to the way the cuts are being handled according to other parties, and while I agree with the point about the interractive whiteboards (being a teacher who finds IT often hinders rather than helps!) I think it’s an oversimplification to say that all budgets contain such frivolities that could easily be cut. I don’t agree with that in relation to types of service like the woman’s speech that grabbed you, and I don’t believe it to be the case with services like the NHS who are already stretched to their limits.
    Well done you for writing this excellent post and making us think that perhaps we should all be doing more than simply firing off emails

  8. Aspergers, family life and me

    Brilliant Gemma! I once went on a local demonstration with baby in pushchair and older toddler – quite an experience and enjoyable too. (NB: There was no threat to the children; the protest was about a local environmental issue which was attended by all ages in the community.) Nevertheless, I found it an empowering experience and a great opportunity to exercise my voice!

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  10. dichotomyof

    Just wanted to say, along with everyone else what a fantastic post this is. I laughed so much at the comrade stuff – my poor lovely dad was, briefly, the other person in our local communist party and zoning out was the only way my teenage self got through!
    I’ve put a link to your post and site on my post today – I hope that’s okay. If it’s not and I’ve done something incredibly rude and ill mannered please let me know and I’ll whip it off. All the best comrade 😉

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  12. Jacq

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I had meant to join with this campaign before but didn’t get around to it- you post and given me the push I needed to do it.

  13. ella

    Brilliant post Gemma, I’m an armchair activist, mostly due to having lots of small children but I can’t wait for the day when I can get back out and do something proactive again too x

  14. Sara

    An interesting and funny post (I loved your reference to ‘going Waitrose’). I came here via a link from dichotomyof. Like one of the other people who commented, I feel it has given me a push. I’ve never attended a demonstration, but I have been holding on to the leaflet I picked up at work about the march on the 26th. Your eloquent post has made me think about the value of going and adding my voice. I also have a fridge magnet with the ‘I wanted to change the world but I couldn’t find a babysitter’ maybe it’s time to take the kids with me and get out and make some changes! Thanks for the inspiration.

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