I am not, by nature, the sort of person who enjoys demonstrations. I’m increasingly less keen on crowds as I get older (and I wasn’t wild about them even when I was young) and chanting isn’t really my thing either.
But I’d received an invitation to a demonstration outside County Hall at lunchtime and, given that my office is less than ten minutes away on foot, it seemed churlish not to show some support. The subject of the protest was sewage pollution of our rivers and coastline and, as this is both a Party priority and a matter of local interest in the Gipping Valley, it couldn’t do any harm to play “fourth spear carrier” for a few minutes.
Our County Councillors formed a joint Group with the Greens and Independents, and are the “official” Opposition, so were putting a motion to Full Council calling for action, and the demonstration was part of the publicity effort.
I arrived to find a collection of familiar faces, including my own (Green) County Councillor, Keith Welham, and a group from Mid Suffolk, and took the opportunity to get a few “politics” things done, whilst the Greens (and the odd Liberal Democrat) sang songs in a very “knit your own muesli” sort of way. Something else I’m reminded of - I’m not wildly enthused by communal singing unless a certain, albeit modest, level of alcohol has been consumed first.
That gave me an opportunity to escape, the media having taken their photos anyway and only really wanting to talk to the Group, so I walked into town for a little light food shopping before heading back to the office for a solid afternoon of compliance.
I don’t think that I’m going to change my mind on demonstrations…