ON FRIDAY 2nd June, whilst the UK’s two major political leaders, Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May, went against the Question Time audience in the Ron Cooke Hub, a group of protestors assembled outside in a rally, described by The Sun as “a threatening 200 strong crowd”. Vision attended the rally to meet the real protestors and hear what they had to say.
The rally started with a rendition of the chart hit “Theresa May’s A Liar”, accompanied by dancing. The song has stormed to the top of the charts in the past few days.[Video Courtesy of Meryl Rowlinson]
Speaking in the rally, Katherine Louise, a Social Policy Student at the University of York said, “I want to talk to you all as a student at this university, someone effected by this cuts, and a disabled person with an uncertain future.” and referred to the tragic circumstances of David Clapson, Stephanie Bottrill, Elaine Lowe, and David Groves. all who some argue died due to the effect of conservative wellfare reforms. Mellor added “You won’t have heard as much as the people who are still living with the effect of these cuts, still surviving, still hanging on in there despite everything. People who need your support not just your vote every day.”
Charlotte Rowley, York Momentum and UoY PHD Student, shortlisted for a UoY Excellence award for Promoting Inclusivity and Diversity, said to the crowd, “York is such a fantastic city with such a great group of people I’ve never felt so invigorated to get involved in politics as I have here”.
You can watch the full rally here.
The abundance of SWP members was at first a huge concern. The group, who have been banned from campus and condemned by campus political representatives, were out in force at the rally – highly visible through their placards and creative attire – some SWP carrying protestors were Fox outfits and Dalek Costumes. However beyond this, the rally was mostly subdued and cordial.
Shelia Stoddard came with her mother and family from York and Sunderland to the Rally and projected a voice of optimism for the General Election campaign “I’m here to protest against the conservatives, my partner’s ill all of the time it’s gotten worse because they’ve been sanctioned. I think there’s going to be a Labour Landslide, my mother’s more doubtful. She expected a majority, but Theresa May won’t become Prime Minister. She certainly won’t get a majority. There’s too many people angry at the Tories.”
York Action For Animals voiced their support for Corbyn’s continued support of the Fox Hunting Ban.
Hands of HRI told Vision “we’re campaigning against the closure of Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, we’ve come to raise awareness for our campaign asking all parties what they’re coming to do to protect our NHS services and keep HRI open. Labour have promised to halt the closures to A&E and re-look at it all, so we’re pretty much saying that we’re supporting them.”
University of York Student, Edwards Lines told Vision “I’m here because I live nearby. Bit exciting. I wanna see Big Man Jeremy. That said I’m more of a Gordon Fan. Jeremy’s more charismatic and connects with the people more but I prefer the politics of Big Man Brown If people in our flat leave their doors unlocked we sneak in Gordon Brown to surprise them.”
A group of trainee teachers told Vision “The pressure on schools has become quite obvious in our training placements, and the cuts are making teacher redundant. That’s why we’re supporting Jeremy Corbyn Today.”
Protestors from York4EU told Vision”We’re here to support Jeremy Corbyn, show our opposition to Theresa May, and show our support for remaining part of Europe. We’re hoping that people will ask questions that unravel Theresa May’s Spin. This Election will define what Brexit is, our hopes are that we will remain a close as possible link to Europe.”
All in all, a mostly harmless bunch hoping to voice their concerns about this election to a wider platform.