The TUC organised a major march and rally in central London today, to highlight that many people are facing the biggest squeeze on their incomes since Victorian times and that wages have fallen in real terms every year since 2010. Unions believe that as growth returns to the UK economy, everyone should get a fairer share in the recovery. To this end, there was a march through London from Embankment to Hyde Park, culminating in a rally with speakers and live music arranged and booked by myself on behalf of the MU.
I began the day setting up banners and flags for the entertainment union contingent by the river, with valuable support from Mark Batchelor and MU Campaigns and Public Affairs Officer, Maddy Radcliff. We greeted Jonathan Stokes and the musicians from Bad Ass Brass who were to perform as our marching band. I then took the tube to Hyde Park to be present as our bands soundchecked for the rally. The Venus Bushfires, featuring hang player Parker-Jayne, The Coal Porters and the Roving Crows, were all present and being assisted by a superb sound and stage team managed by Alex Burrow and Doug Maddison.
The rally kicked off at 1pm with the Bushfires first up delivering their ethereal and percussive Nigerian soul. There followed a series of speeches prior to the Coal Porters delivering their excellent bluegrass around 2pm. At 3pm the Crows took to the stage and rounded off the afternoon with their stirring Irish-tinged folk to the many thousands of marchers and activists who had now gathered. The event had proved a good-natured and heartening success and my thanks go to the marchers, the MU personnel and especially the musicians who contributed to a memorable day.