We live in perplexing times.
For instance, I’m on holiday but today my union were on strike. So am I, actually, on strike?
Putting aside the niceties of this tricky theological issue that could well leave me struggling to sleep tonight, I decided not to worry for the moment and joined a rally in support of today’s strikes.
As ever, I experienced the euphoria of marching with other like-minded people. I was moved by the young people who came out in support of their teachers and to remind us of the decimation of youth clubs in Oxfordshire.
I saw another tee-shirt which I am now desperately searching for: ‘Tolpuddle Martyrs World Tour’. Really have to have that one.
And I also enjoyed a natter and a laugh with a couple of new friends I’ve met through the Labour Women’s Group and the March for An Alternative.
I also enjoyed learning some new chants. As the demo was predominantly made up of teachers, these were rather more complex than I think any of us were used to: “David Cameron: In Detention. Keep Your Hands Off Our Pensions.” (Still think ‘You Say Cut Back, We Say fight Back’ scans rather better, but still. A++ for creativity.)
But I am worried - and confused, if truth be told - by the line of the Labour leadership. Ed M tells us these strikes are wrong. But when you are dealing with a government that is not listening, what other action is left to working people but to withdraw their labour? And I am worried that Labour is in danger of losing its role as the voice of the Labour movement more broadly defined. If we don’t fulfil that role, who will?
I got home to a late lunch, and watched a bit of television which included an interview with Maurice Glasman, the man behind the other thing that leaves me deeply confused: Blue Labour. I found myself rather liking him, and I particularly warmed to his willingness to talk about low pay and the need for a living wage. So as someone who feels very Red Labour, I now feel even more confused than when I woke up this morning.
As I say, we live in perplexing times.