Apathy & cynicism are already failed strategies. I’m trying activism & optimism for a while. #EndAusterityNow #JuneDemo

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End Austerity Now National Demonstration 20th June 2015

I’ve never been to a public demo before, at least nothing of any size, and to my shame I didn’t join the protests against the Iraq War in 2003. I doubt that my additional, lone presence would have made much difference, but maybe if those of us who were apathetic had bothered, together we might have made a difference.

To ameliorate my guilt, I have decided to get off my arse and go to join the big, anti-austerity protest in London. Like many, I believe the so-called “austerity” policies of the current government to be a con, and I will be there to tell them so. I am also a member of Stop The War Coalition and will attempt to meet up with them.

I will be documenting much of it on video, and it will be interesting to compare what I witness with what is reported by my duet of bêtes noire, BBC News and Channel 4 News.

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Pictured here is my general-purpose travel survival kit, everything I think I might need for a bit of non-violent civil protest in any location away from my home town of Sheffield.

In the days when I had hair, I could feel fairly comfortable in most circumstances if my hair had been washed, my teeth brushed and my fingernails clipped. They were things that These days I only need the toothbrush and nail clippers. A recent new addition to my travel kit is the anti-bacterial handwash, in case I have to shake hands with any Conservative MPs. Unlikely I know, but it is always best to be prepared.

I normally carry a cork screw but I might leave this at home in case it could be creatively misinterpreted as a weapon. This was an essential on a recent trip to Paris but I doubt we will be celebrating the overthrow of the government and the installation of a utopian socialist collective on our return journey. However, if that happens we’ll just drink Champagne!

The medication is paracetamol (which I never take) and antacid tablets (which I do take). The padlock is for my sac, rather than the doors of the Bank of England, to deter and opportunistic pilfering. For documentation, I will have my iPhone 5s with clip-on fish-eye lens, a GoPro Hero, which I shall attempt to wear as a bodycam, RODE SmartLav+ lapel mics which I might use if there is any opprtunity for interviews or voxpops, and a 12,000 mAh NiMH battery for recharging the cameras. I might also take an SLR.

Not pictured here is food and clothing, but I am going to try to be mostly self-sufficient as M&S Food will probably have a rush on.

As an admirer of Gandhi, I will not be throwing molotov cocktails, setting fire to police vehicles or defiling monuments. I will be employing far more scary tactics, made famous by Monty Python and the notorious Piranha Brothers; and they are sarcasm, dramatic irony, metaphor, bathos, puns, parody, litotes and satire.

Screen shot 2015-06-18 at 13.18.09Having never been part of a major demo before I am a bit unsure about placard-etiquette. It would be embarrassing to turn up with placards that are not a-la-mode and I am torn between going for the Chanel of protest banners, little-black capitals on a white background, or for more of a LaCroix day-glo. Above is one of my favourites, so far.

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