It’s the eve of the Police March in London, I’ve had a sleepless night so here I am writing another blog early in the morning so I can explain to my daughter why tomorrow I will be joining her dad, other Police Officers and supporters in a dignified march through London and attending my first ever protest.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what this March is all about. There are lots of blogs on the internet about the ‘police protest’ and if she was older we’d look at some of these, but she’s only 10 so I’m going to explain it in language that my daughter will hopefully understand from the perspective of our little family.
What it’s NOT
- It’s not a strike – whilst most employees in the UK have the right to strike, the Police are in a small minority of special cases who are forbidden to strike –it’s illegal for them to strike. Her Dad and other Officers are marching in their holiday or day off. I’m taking a day off work to join them.
- It’s not about the history – whilst British Policing has grown out of years of tradition and experience it clearly has changed with the times. She won’t remember it, but if I think back to the late 70’s when I was 10, Policing was very different than it is today. For a start the internet hadn’t been invented and no-one had heard of Twitter or Facebook! I’ll show her this clip so she gets the picture. Whilst she likes history, particularly the Victorians, really she is interested in what’s going to happen, rather than what’s happened in the past.
- It’s not about the Politics. In 2008, when she was too young to understand what was happening and more interested in Charlie & Lola cartoons, the Police last marched in protest about changes – these were changes proposed by the Labour government, this time it’s in protest about changes recommended by Tom Winsor on behalf of the Conservative/LibDem coalition Government.
- It’s not about the money, money, money – she loves Jessie J and so apparently does Constable Chaos who has explained the money issue really well in his Blog.
She won’t understand the detail of this but she’s been brought up to know you can’t spend more money than you have in your moneybox. Sometimes this means difficult choices, but if something is important enough she or we will want to spend our money on it. She also knows ‘cheaper isn’t always better’.
- It’s not going to be like the news film of strikes and marches that she might have seen on the TV or internet. It will be a silent, dignified march– As I tell her, sometimes you don’t have to say anything to make your point – she calls this the ‘mummy stare’.
At this point she’s likely to say ‘Come on Mum get on with it, what is it about then?’
What it is….
- It’s a protest march across London undertaken in Police Officer’s and supporters own time, because they care.
- It’s about making the public aware of what is intended and encouraging them to ASK why is this happening and if they feel they’ve been consulted on changes to this critical public service.
- It’s about supporting the Police Officers who do such an essential job in society.
So Keeping It Simple I will explain it to my daughter as:-
- A March for the future
- A March to show the public that Police Officers care
- A March to keep her, her friends and all the people she knows SAFE
I hope she’ll understand and I hope when she grows into a teenager she’ll benefit from living in a society that cared enough to ask :-
Why are the police marching in London on May 10 in Protest?
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.
9 May 2012