Thursday, 5 July 2012


Cross, I flung my tatty red suitcase on the bed and packed my favourite cuddly toy and blanket. I huffed and puffed shutting the lid, flinging myself down beside it. The angry mist dissipated... With nowhere to go, running away wouldn't be fun. I'll stay. The case unpacked, stowed somewhere safe until the next time my temper required it. At big school, running away was considered mature. I'd progressed from tantrums on supermarket floors and pavements. There was a nursery rhyme that described me perfectly: 'There was a little girl, who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead. When she was good, she was very, very good and when she was bad, she was horrid!' Yes, I was a little madam. One of those kids that creates a scene and embarrasses their parents with a sit-in or game of statue. Body rigid, I shall not be moved! Eventually carried off, tiny limbs lashing out and screaming. I witness this same behaviour now in the family dog, Monty, when he refuses to move if it's not the direction he wants to sniff in. Is this a stubborn phase or just early forays at full-scale industrial action?

Children do not hesitate in demonstrating their feelings. Even in adulthood, I haven't forgotten what that's like; it's very freeing. It seems more adults too are remembering... Public sector workers walking out over bonuses, pay and pensions. Every member of the general public is affected by it and has an opinion on it. Some want industrial strikes nipped in the bud, others want to allow it. We've become a nation divided. Young vs. old, rich vs. poor, public vs. private, with everyone having something to say about banking. I wonder if in future, internal war is what this coalition government will be known for. For creating friction despite telling us we're the 'big society'. Please act like one big happy family, smile for the Olympics. Simmer down, call the protests off and for god's sake don't mention public cuts or the recession.

Do you want to know where I stand on this issue? I'll tell you... I've worked in and understand the grievances of both sectors, but I want to give my point of view as fundamentally a person; as a member of the human race who respects the right to exercise voices. Opinions have been aired where I agreed and others which I clash with, but regardless of the job or my position on it, nobody should be denied their right to strike. If that makes me a liberal, well then I'm proud of it. Yes, I realise it's inconvenient. Public transport and services grind to a halt, GPs down tools and surgeries get cancelled, but ban this demonstrative action and we're living in a tyranny. A Wallis Simpson form of government – trapped by circumstances of our own making.

Rather than publicly walk-out, we should regress to our childhood. Turn to stone in the throes of work in a demonstration of no movement. Playing statues as a grown-up is estimable.