Monday, 23 February 2009

Passing the Buck

I'm back from London. The protest took place outside the Home Office with a comfortable group of five people. N. provided the leaflets (thank you) and negotiated with the police so that we did not stand in the designated demonstration pens.

At the end of an hour J. and I took the letter into the main entrance. We refused to go through security. I explained why we were there.

We went up to a woman with the letter. She refused to accept it. J. , astonished, asked if she was categorically refusing to accept a letter for the Home Secretary. The Home Office employee called up a man who said it should be taken to the post room which was at the back of the building.

Unbelievably, we went out and P. came with me. We passed the side entrance with it's tight security and waved out a guard who came and told us how to find the post room. Down the side we went and turned along the back and saw nothing that suggested a post room.

At the end of the street we went up the other side and saw the same security arrangements. A lady emerged who was helpful. She said look for vans and a barrier. Also we backtracked and met two police.

They had no idea where the post room was. The policewoman gave me the number of the Events Office from where it would be sent to Downing Street. That seemed to be a good idea. We set off and lo and behold inset into the building we saw a barrier.

A workman, just inside, confirmed that this was indeed the post room. I had explained about the letter. I made to go through the barrier. An elderly man in a fluorescent waistcoat, obviously an employee left the office and walked to meet me. He was confused because it was not in an envelope and had no apparent address but agreed that 'Dear Jacqui Smith' would be enough in the circumstances. He was adamant that it would be put in the post and he would see that it got to Jacqui Smith. Thank goodness for honest British workmen I said. I felt I had been treated with patience, kindness, and dignity at the tradesman's entrance.

I can't help thinking of the 1st labour conference in Bournemouth. Every meeting I went to we told that Labour had been elected to listen to the people. I believed them. When I gave the conference report to constituency meeting I ended it saying - if this Labour government fails it will be because of our failure to communicate with them. They are going to listen to the people. How wrong I was.

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