Friday, 17 May 2013

Lobby of Albert Bore's Surgery, and Other Matters

It's been a hectic week. I had a bad cold all last week, which left me fit for nothing. Then on Saturday I was in Westminster Central Hall, opposite the Houses of Parliament, for a national anti-cuts meeting. There were over 300 people attending, and we decided to form a national anti-cuts federation, open to all the groups fighting the cuts.

I spent most of the day sitting there in a daze, then had to take a service at my church next morning. One of our Worship Leaders did everything but the sermon - that's the advantage of my church; we're very participatory, with a lot of talented people, so the preacher doesn't have to do too much - and preached on Revelation. This was quite apposite, as I always feel it was written as a warning to a church which was getting too comfortable with Roman rule. And here we are, with many of the congregation being kicked in the teeth by the government.

Then I had to rush straight off after a cup of tea, to the first Birmingham Anti-Cuts Federation meeting. 38 people were there, from sixteen different groups across the city.

That was quite constructive, and I ended un in a small group afterwards discussing standing Left candidates for the Council. I think this is important; the Labour administration is hopeless, there are wards like mine where nobody ever bothers to campaign, and we need to shake things up and offer an alternative.

Then on Wednesday I was at a meeting of the local Ladywood group. We hadn't done the leafleting we did last time, but nineteen people came, we heard more awful stories, and it's beginning to feel as though we have a campaign going.

Tonight we had a lobby of Albert Bore's surgery at the Council House - which is an odd, intimidating place to have it - with about twenty people picketing outside. We met in Ladywood, and six people walked up the canal into town together while i dashed back home as I'd forgotten the camera.

The people at the Council house responded by bolting the door, and only letting two people in at a time. That was rapidly reduced to one. So rather than several local residents seeing him together, and delivering a petition, everyone had to see him one at a time, and it took up his whole surgery, which ended up overrunning. Towards the end, the guy on the door got quite stroppy; Bore didn't want to see any more Bedroom Tax people. We had an argument with him, and insisted on his letting the last one in. She had a very perfunctory meeting, with Bore complaining about the time.

I didn't see him myself, but apparently he wasn't very helpful at all, and wouldn't commit himself to anything. Altogether not the response we'd have hoped for; refusing to see us together was particularly bad, and made it far more intimidating than it needed to be. We seem to be making an impact, though!

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