In fact, we know what we NEED. There was a well-attended march and rally today, 19th November, from Hastings Pier to the town centre. The march was led by a group of nurses, bearing the Hastings Demands a Pay Rise banner.
Talking to the protesters gathering at the pier, I was told that nurses and doctors have joined the ever-growing proportion of people in this country who are charged so much for their professional training that, even after working all their lives, they often retire with large debts that began with education and training fees.
There were also people there representing teachers and firefighters, two other hard working professions who have seen the value of their pay shrinking for years.
As with most anti-government rallies in Hastings, there were those making a point about the dangerous level of funding cuts this government has imposed on so many services, and many were there to support refugees who seem to be this government’s favourite scapegoat for our economic woes (clue: it’s not those fleeing wars and climate crisis who have been draining billions out of public funds for the last 12 years).
Given the appalling scale of funding cuts Hastings has suffered during those Tory years, it’s appropriate that Council Leader Paul Barnett came along to support the rally, accompanied by Cllr Nigel Sinden and one or two others. Deputy leader Maya Evans spoke at the rally, saying that the core funding for Hastings has gone down from £9m to £1m, and that the council now struggles on with less than half the staff it used to have.
XR brought a banner with a message few would argue with – Yes, we want to live, and that means addressing the climate crisis, rescuing our NHS and giving essential workers a pay rise.
In short, HASTINGS DEMANDS BETTER. There are so many problems that have been created, worsened, or pushed to absolute crisis during the decade and more of Tory government we have endured. That’s probably why, of all the chants the marchers joined in along the way, the ones that rang out loudest and longest were…
… and the message to Prime Minister Sunak,
Tax the rich, make them pay!
With thanks to Hastings and District Trades Council for organising this opportunity for the hard-pressed people of Hastings to have their say.
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