Monday, 29 October 2012

Vive le Velo Boris.......

Just got back from my summer holidays.....ok I know that its October, but as I say just got back from my hols in Northern France.

We stayed near Calais and I was pleasantly surprised to see that the town has just launched its own version of the Boris Bike.

Cheap, easy, and being French, very stylish. They got me thinking. Calais is a bit smaller than Reading and if they can do it, can we.

Looking around Calais they are all over the town, in the West, East, South, but not in the North. Obvs can't be in the North as the North of the city is sea. For a couple of Euros you can bike anywhere in the city.

I love the Boris Bikes in London, when I worked in London I regularly cycled from Paddington to Canary Wharf on one. Its a l killer journey but so so so much fun. Also cheap fun since it only cost me a quid or so to get from one side of the city to the other.

So if French can do it.....why can't Reading?

Sunday, 21 October 2012

A Two Demo Saturday

#Oct20 Demo London, a set on Flickr.
 I went to two Demo's yesterday, one I meant to be part of and one I bumped in to. Both completely different and both ultimately succesful only if the ballot box gives them power.

The first was outside the British Museum where a number of London based Greeks and Cypriots were protesting, fairly half heartedly it has to be said, about the Elgin Marbles and demanding their return to Greece. The second, much more vocal and huger (if thats a word) the #Oct20 march organised by the TUC.

It was great to march with 100,000 or more like minded people all calling for Cameron, Osbourne and the rest of the Coalition to abandon its love affair with austerity. We marched for justice, for the protection of public services and jobs. There were polititians, union members, members of the Hare Krishna sect and other fringe groups like the Communists all standing together, working together and struggling together.

A good natured march only slightly soured by the riot police having a strong presence outside the Ritz and the fact that in Oxford St there was absolutely no sign of the demo at all. This last point makes the point that struck me during the march, that despite many speakers calling for a National Strike and major industrial action the only way the Coalition will be truely defeated is at the Ballot Box.

We must work in every Ward and every constituency to undermine the electoral base of the Liberals and win back Constituencies lost to the Tories. At the march there were a myriad of fringe groups, each more radically pure than the next I am sure, however for victory the labour movement has to unite behind the Labour Party as the only real hope of unseating the Coalition. A protest vote for a fringe group, might make us all feel better but as a democratic blow it is the electorial equivelent of shooting your foot off to spite the enemy. The only people you hurt are your own.

As I hobbled away from Hyde Park I was left with a feeling of hope that so many were prepared to come out on what was frankly a rubbish day to show the Coalition that there is another way and I was left with a feeling that we have a lot to do to convince those happily shopping in Oxford St that this is their fight too.