London | It’s no big secret Europe is being crushed under the weight of mounting debt and austerity measures – recently proven ineffective. On October 20th, TUC (Trade Union Congress) will be hosting marches against austerity in London, Belfast, and Glasgow.
The UK, like many of it’s sister countries in Europe are fed up with austerity and cuts to the public sector “Austerity isn’t working, our country faces long-term economic problems, but our political leaders have failed to face up to them. For the next five years or more, unless policies change the economy will not grow, incomes will not rise, and there will be almost no new jobs.” says TUC’s promotional website for the march.
TUC is hoping for a record turn out in numbers, a hope reflected by citizens. “This is not a march for the NHS. This is not a march for Education. This is not a march for the Fire Service. This is not a march for our Armed Services. This is not a march for our Police. This is a march for EVERYONE.”says the Many Voices Blog, a small UK based aggregator of the publics concerns.
A local London resident who will be attending the London march tells us “I’m unhappy with the austerity measures this government is applying. The ones now are the tip of the iceberg. How many people’s jobs have to go? How many State employers will be privatised? How many disabled and elderly people will be placed in untenable positions?” Both TUC and supporters hope the marches will prompt Members of Parliament to consider the suffering inflicted by government initiated austerity measures.
The public is not alone in their concerns, Police are feeling the effects of austerity as well. London Police Officer James Patrick has documented in full detail what austerity means for the police in a recently released 380 page book.
Police Officers, who will be off duty that day tell us that they will attend the march alongside the public. We asked one officer why they will be marching:
“I’d like to attend because I believe that it is wrong that the public are being told that that the cuts are having no effect on policing. The cuts are having a massive effect on policing and the service we are able to provide to the public. I know that the public will continue to be told that crime is falling so that this proves that the cuts are having no effect. The trouble with this is that the less officers you have, the less crime gets reported and you therefore achieve your drop in crime.
They will also be told that the percentage of front line officers is up again this, is achieved by simply renaming the role that officers do, which is happening. The favourite is currently renaming everyone neighbourhood officers.
We are having to go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that the wheel doesn’t fall off, such as going a whole shift with no break in which to have refs/drink or even comfort break at times. They are having shifts changed with a sometimes days notice, how does this allow them to have any kind of stable family life- or are we not entitled to this?
The public are also not being told that there are more and more officers doing front office duties as there are no civilian staff to do it, but because these officers are usually on response. I am sure that they will still be getting classed as being on front line duties.
These are just a few issues that I have. I know that there are many that are trying to restrict police officers speaking out and I know many will face investigation/ discipline issues over this. I however have always sworn to be honest and treat the public with respect and that is why I think it is important to speak out.”
Full details including: Times, locations, routes and logistics for London can be found here – and here for Glasgow – The Belfast march leaves York Street at 11.30am, to arrive for a rally at Custom House Square around 12:15.
Updated October 18th: Official Message of Solidarity from the Police Federation Chair Paul McKeever, basically saying, the union itself can’t be there in an official capacity, but they support the marches. He also touches on what officers are facing due to austerity measures.