Saturday, September 23, 2006

Bliar: Time to GO!

Well, I travelled up to Manchester on the Peace and Love train from Euston to Manchester. Luckily I was able to bag a seat in the Unison compartment (so nice of my ex-union to accept a T&Ger). It was a very, very and did I say very, long journey.... The RMT train raced ahead while ours seemed stuck on the tracks. I have to say that trying to negotiate my way through the carriages to get to the buffet car was stressful (the singin' hippie carriage did my head in..and trying to push through the sea of papersellers where I stayed well, relatively calm!!) indeed but at the same time, a trip down memory lane. Seeing people you haven't seen for yonks though there is one woman who is adamant I am a photography student at Camberwell School Of Art (don't ask.. too confusing). Obviously I have a doppelganger.

I am a sucker though when it comes to papersellers and don't always have the heart to tell them to, "Fuck Off"! Though the temptation is very strong I usually become all wussy and buy the damn paper/pamphlet and tell them they can cut the hard recruitment sell as it just won't wash with me. So I will spend my Sunday tipping out the crushed papers from my bag and reading some of them (there may be a copy of Workers Hammer lying at the bottom of my bag as well.....)

We got to Manchester bright eyed and bushy tailed and it was kinda impressive seeing the sheer volume of people coming off the train.

The march was a bit of a stop and start affair. More stop than start. And I felt a little hemmed in and claustrophobic as we were marching through what felt like side streets. Though we passed the peace camp campaigners.

We got to Albert Square and pissed off to the pub as we were early. Again, going back to the square I still felt this hemmed in feeling. I reckon there were about 50,000 people but I am crap at estimating numbers. I spotted Unison banners (I marched under the London Region banner), FBU, Amicus, and RMT. But I was dismayed at not seeing any T&G banners (but I could well be wrong). We marched to the conference centre where we stopped and chanted a bit but there didnt't seem to be any real stewarding or organisation. What was the plan? Bit of a damp quib to me.

We marched on and lay in the middle of the road for 2 minutes to symbolise the war dead. Unfortunately, I didn't finish the march as the Unison lot I was with lacked discipline and decided to go on a pub crawl instead. I heard that Michael Meacher was at the front of the march and spoke about the need for a change in Labour Party leadership. Meacher, it seems, is launching his campaign very soon. Unfortunately, John McDonnell couldn't make the demo.

After many drinks we toddled off to the square to find another pub. Sorry... this is a bad report as I didn't hear any of the speakers either! Anyway, we all staggered back onto the train. Unfortunately the carriage I was in had no lights. Yeah, you read correctly, no fecking lights!! HA! That stopped the previously oh-so-determined paperseller. There's not much you can do with the lights off though those determined and creative pissed Unison activists certainly had their own ideas that passed for"entertainment" while aided and abetted by pissed SWP members.

Oh and before I forget, I do hope those London Unison activists are reading this (as I know they read it... and are fans of the blog....!! And you know who you are..) as their behaviour in that carriage was debauched and disgraceful. It became known as the "dirty carriage". The discussions were horrendous and this Stroppyblogger had to clap her hands over her ears in dismay and shock. Honestly, no wonder I joined the T&G. It makes me want to embrace.... puritanism and abstinence.

Btw: I clapped eyes on the 'ickle Lenin from Lenin's Tomb trying to take a pic while swinging from some scaffolding. Lenin looked worried when I confronted him by saying, "Oi, you're Lenin's Tomb"! but when I said who I was he relaxed somewhat. There was so much I wanted to ask the Ditcher of the Dialetic such as, I dunno, "astroglide". Shame I couldn't stop as I was being carried along by the crowd. So... Lenin, if ya reading this, weren't you bloody hot in that leather coat..??

NB: I have photos of the demo but they are being developed....