What Bracknell Thinks: Were off-duty police right to protest?By Hugh Fort
May 18, 2012
Last week, thousands of off-duty police officers marched through London in protest against Government cuts.
We asked our panel whether they were right to protest.
Pat Kennewell of Birch Hill and Hanworth Liaison Group: “We are all in the same boat here. We have all had to make changes, some more than others it’s true, but it has to be done.
“The situation we find ourselves is due to bad management for many years and the state of the world economy has meant that we all need to do our bit, hard as that is.
“We only need to look at Greece to see what happens when difficult decisions are not taken by weak governments.
“I do have serious concerns though about some of the measures taken such as pasty tax, increasing fuel tax and still allowing our foreign charity donations to increase whilst the UK is in such a bad state.
“These things target one section of society as I have yet to meet a CEO going out for pasty and chips whilst charging their fuel bills to expenses.”
Hazel Kent, manager of the Market Cafe in Bracknell: “This and most previous governments need to step down from their ivory towers and spend a couple of months in the real world to get an idea what life is like and then make their decisions.
“None of the parties live in our worlds so how can they ever know what life is like?
“Cuts do have to be made but perhaps they should start looking closer to home and stop all the thousands which they spend on their MP luxuries.
“If we all have to cut back then why shouldn’t they?”
Ed Glasson from Priestwood: “Of course they are right. The working conditions of all public sector workers are under attack as never before.
“The Con Dem Government’s plan is, all too obviously, to so degrade the pay and pensions of public employees that the jobs of millions more workers will be ripe for privatisation.
“Anyone who’s reflected on the massive increase in electricity or gas bills, who has travelled by rail or bus over the past decade or two, anyone who has refuelled a car in the recent past or had to use an “outsourced” local council service knows fully well what that means.
“Only the most intransigent Tory could possibly cling to the idea that running any kind of public service for private profit can ever work properly.
“Private enterprise is there to serve the interests of its owners.
“The public interest doesn’t come into it.”
Peter Best, of the Better Business Alliance: “I have every sympathy with those whose pensions are being changed.
“We begin our careers and make our choices about employment on the basis of the pay and benefits we receive as well as the type of work we may enjoy doing.
“It is therefore very unfair to be at the receiving end of these changes.
“Unfortunately life isn’t fair and we are never in control over what life throws at us. All we can do is choose how to respond to what happens to us.
“One thing we cannot do is to sustain the unsustainable.
“People are living longer and therefore without changes to pensions they will simply not be sustainable.”