Saturday, October 08, 2011

The march of time

Hailed at the time as the great working man's protest (although there was a huge element of stage management), the Jarrow Hunger March of 1936 has gone down in history.

But now, 75 years later, attempts at re-enactment collided with the realities of modern Britain. The organisers, the Youth Fight for Jobs (YFJ) movement, were told by Labour-controlled South Tyneside Council that the parade through Jarrow to celebrate their departure requires a temporary traffic regulation order, costing £2,230.20 plus VAT.

South Tyneside council also said that the protesters were required to pay the cost of physically closing the roads.

Faced with a storm of protest, however, the council backed off – but not to the extent of waiving the fee. It simply dipped into council funds to give the organisers a grant, so that they could pay the bill. Thus, at modest expense, we get an illustration of how low we have sunk in this Britain, land of the free and the brave – and the over-taxed.