Campaigning Is Tough.

19 Jan

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People often ask me why do I bother campaigning.  The answer to that is a simple one.  Because I really care and I really want to make a difference to the world around me and people’s lives.  I hate injustice, really hate it.  What is happening to disabled, sick and vulnerable people is a horrendous and tragic injustice.  I could not just sit there and do nothing.  I had to act.

From a very early age, people have always said I was a maverick.  I was rebellious, and would not run with the in crowd.  My mum once said of me that my eyes would flash with defiance, my teachers said that of me as well. When I was 15,  I led a demo around the school when someone was banned for not having the right school coat because that girl’s parents could not afford to buy it for her, so to show my support to her as she was so upset by the way the teacher spoke to her in front of us and humiliated her I led a show of defiance and a 1000 girls wore every different colour coat than the one the school told us to wear.  The trouble I got into, but I had to show my support to a school friend whose father was taken ill and lost his job and money was tight, and to show the teacher what I thought of them and their judgmental behaviour to her without knowing all the facts.

Politics from an early age fascinated me.  Not just politics here at home but around the world.  I remember when I was 17 studying A level Government and Politics and meeting Tony Benn.  He made a lasting impression on me, not all MP’s have, but he did.  In the last two years, John McDonnell is another MP who has made a lasting impression on me and I have listened to John and Tony speak many times.  John came out of his way last September to my area to see what was happening to our NHS trust  and spoke passionately with tears in his eyes on the NHS.  My MP could not be bothered to come to that meeting and he lived a mile away, but John did, I can’t tell you how that galvanized the campaign in my local area.  He lit a fire under it, he spurred us on to keep fighting and never give up no matter what the cost.

I was at the unite resist conference in October in London and listened to a leading campaigner on the Hills-borough campaign and their fight for justice.  She talked about the 25 year fight for truth, for answers, for justice and for those who did wrong that day to be held to account.  She talked about the frustration, the exhaustion, the self sacrifice, the back breaking work, and how it still continues, campaigning never stops.  It doesn’t.

People think I am mad to do what I do. They say to me look you have to take care of you.  You have severe health issues, you have to rest, don’t burn out, you name it, I have heard  it. But,I was taught by my parents that there are always people out there who need the help and support, who are a lot worse than you and if I can make a difference then give it a  try, and I am too much like my father, he was unison treasurer for our local NHS Trust, we both like a good scrap, we are both determined, stubborn, and workaholics.  People wonder when do I sleep.  I wonder myself sometimes.

This week has been such a big week.  This week has been the week of the WCA Judicial Review and the Vigil that we had on Wednesday 16th January 2013 to support the two mental health claimants in their quest for justice against unjust governmental policies. As I stood in the same spot outside the royal courts of justice where I was  several months before for the application of the WCA Judicial Review to be read, the enormity of the case hit me.  Not half a mile away in court room six of the upper tribunal courts the case was being read.  So much work went into this campaign, a year’s worth of work by a great many people, and a wonderful legal team.  On Wednesday it was so cold, it was bitter.  No one could tell from that photo taken of me that I was in so much pain, it hurt to stand and my hands hurt like hell.  I felt overwhelmingly sick from the chemo meds, and I was really tired, but, despite that, I had to show my support to this case, not just for the two mental health claimants, one of whom is now a friend of mine, but for all those who so wanted to be there were with me in spirit and for all those who would never be there again, 16 of them friends of mine.

I was offered a chance to speak on a radio microphone with the biggest megaphone I have ever seen and say why I was there.  I spoke from my heart about the fight for justice, the people who are dying, going hungry, made homeless by these callous welfare cuts.  I then said, we don’t give up, we can’t give up,  we protest on Facebook, on twitter, on blogs, on protests, on demos, we write and e mail our councilors, our MP’s, and we do everything we can and keep going until this government are out.  People cheered me as I came off that microphone.  I was shaking like a leaf.  It wasn’t easy to do, believe it or not I do not have a great deal of confidence and it took a lot for me to stand there and speak out it really did.  No wonder I was sick shortly after that photo was taken, it was such an amazing experience and a emotional one being where we were and why.

Not one campaigner does what they do for recognition or awards.  I know I don’t.  Many people I know on Facebook when they thank me i often say why are you thanking me.  I even have trouble accepting a thank you, I don’t do what i do for that, I do because I want to help and I care about people so much it breaks my heart so much to see people suffering.  The tears I have cried to hearing so many horrendous stories, the anger that I have felt, and the overwhelming sense of powerless.  Its the anger that drives me, it gives me a focus and it gives me an energy never to give in despite my disabilities and illnesses and the pain I am in every day to keep going no matter what.  See, told you I was stubborn.

The frustration is horrible, so many new polices are coming in, and we have been fighting back a long time.  We may not have changed a great deal, but we can’t give up, and we mustn’t give up, because we are a thorn in the government’s side, and one which is causing them many a headache.

When I spoke to DM’s legal team on Wednesday and spoke to her barrister leading the case for her he said we must stay positive and keep going, that this is not the last legal challenge to this government, and that we may not realise it, but we have spurred a great many people in this country to take notice of us, yes, not always in the positive way, but they are aware of us and we have inspired a great many more to join in the campaigning and to act.  It may not feel like it, but the tide is slowly turning and more will join in the campaigns and the fightback as the cuts hit them, and believe me they will.

I end this blog with this.  Don’t give up, its hard, its exhausting, its frustrating, but each day we raise awareness and we fight back and we help someone to keep going who is on the verge of giving up.  It’s all we can do, and we hope, we hope one day that this cruel and inhumane condem government is shown the door and leaves power, because on that day there will be a party the likes of which this country has never seen before and I suspect nearly 60 million people will be participating in.

Protestor Poet. x

 

 

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4 Responses to “Campaigning Is Tough.”

  1. Gail Ward January 20, 2013 at 7:08 pm #

    bloody excellent piece !!

    • theprotestorpoet January 21, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

      thanks mate it means a lot, it is true its damn tough. xxx

      • Nancy Farrell February 13, 2013 at 1:16 am #

        We’re just submitting a proposal to Amnesty now that will hopefully get accepted and have a bit more impact and start another campaign. And with the workfare case today it’s starting to look like the government aren’t as untouchable as they thought, the country won’t let them get away with it.

      • theprotestorpoet February 25, 2013 at 10:46 am #

        Good luck nancy, am fully behind you on this, PP x

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