Sunday, November 05, 2006

Climate Change Demo

Took part in the climate change demo yesterday. Didn't quite get up in time to meet Lewisham and Greenwich cyclists at the Cutty Sark at 9.15pm, so did the Ladywell to Canon Street train ride instead, then unfolded my bike and joined the ride as they were just turning onto the Strand ;). Difficult to say how many cyclists took part, probably between 300-500, but it was great fun and definitely got noticed. Big bike rides like this and Critical Mass are always a good way to see London - you never get to see the tops of buildings from the pavement or when you are worried about getting knocked over by a van/bus etc, so en masse cycling is a great chance to take in the views. We went down the Strand, over Waterloo Bridge, along South Bank, over Westminster Bridge, around Parliament Square (several times, to say hi to Brian Haw and savour the moment of being allowed to protest there), down Whitehall, past Trafalgar Square and various other streets via Oxford Street to end up at the Climate Change Rally in Grosvenor Square outside the US embassy.

The square was packed and there were speeches from Green MEP Caroline Lucas, Lib Dem Norman Baker, would-be Tory MP and editor of the Ecologist Zac Goldsmith, Labour MP Colin Challen and George Monbiot, plus music from Seize the Day. Met up with loads of Greens from all over the country, a friend from Worcester who I hadn't seen in a couple of years, Lewisham WDM and Oxfam campaigners and even a 'Green Lib Dem' from Greenwich.

After the speeches we marched/ambled to Trafalgar Square. The square was packed and there wasn't room for bikes, so I had to chance it and lock my bike to some railings alongside a load of police and hope it would still be there when I got back (it was). The Trafalgar Square rally was organised by Stop Climate Chaos, a coalition of NGOs, as part of their I count campaign. Whereas the US embassy rally, organised by the Campaign Against Climate Change had lots of worthy speakers, the Trafalgar Square rally was going more for pop culture appeal and featured Razorlight, KT Tunstall and some bloke off the telly called Simon Anstell, whose risque jokes went down like a lead balloon with a crowd full of Christian Aid campaigners and eco-activists. I count is looking like it will be to the climate change campaign what Make Poverty History was to the drop the debt campaign, ie probably a good thing overall, which will get loads of publicity, but not everyone's cup of tea.

Big Green Party presence in the square (nice to have more banners than the SWP/Respect for once!), and at times people were clamouring for our membership forms and Green Energy Works leaflets, which was certainly a first ;).

And after the demo? Well, I, er, went to Blackheath Fireworks of course!

1 comment:

Jim Jay said...

Yes - it was a good day alround I thought