THEY CAME in their hundreds, placards at the ready, with slogans such as, 'Rent rise £2.70 a week - pensions increase 75p a week', and, 'Thanks for the licence - pity we can't afford the TV.' The pensioners came despite the cold weather, because they are angry with a Labour government which has reduced their quality of life.
They came to hand in a national petition to Downing Street and lobby their MPs. They overfilled one room in the House of Commons and waited until another room was found for them to voice their anger. Myself and two others managed to get into the public gallery. We threw leaflets demanding a better pension for all into the chamber itself.
We heard Tony Benn's speech urging pensioners to get active in campaigns supporting single parents, the fight against privatisation of the tube - indeed, any struggle against those who want to see the rich getting richer and the poor poorer. It was a call to arms. What have we got to lose? Pensioners have got a large number of votes, the time to fight and the intellect, stamina and experience of past struggles to give.
Around 30 pensioners blocked traffic in Leicester on Wednesday of last week. Protesters held up traffic for two hours.
Pensioners also staged a protest against poverty and means testing in Coventry.