Heartfelt plea to stand with others against Isle of Wight budget cuts

Colleen is asking Islanders to stand together on Saturday to protest against the proposed £5.5m of cuts to be made by the Isle of Wight council. She explains why she believes it’s important for Islanders to come together over these plans.

Collection of No Cuts banners

Colleen shares details of this upcoming rally in Newport. Ed


Dear Islanders,

I’ve sat here staring at a blank screen for half an hour, thinking about how I can effectively explain in a few paragraphs, why it is my sincerest hope that you will take to the streets with us this Saturday (10th November from noon in St Thomas’ Sq, Newport), and exercise your democratic right to demonstrate against further cuts announced in this year’s budget.

It’s hard, everything sounds contrived, or has been said so many times that the words have lost their potency.

Desensitised to the visible signs
Most of us have become desensitised to the more visible signs; the increased homeless, the filled beds in corridor queues at St Mary’s, the now boarded up job centres and other public service buildings, the constant requests from the Isle of Wight foodbank for the most basic of items, our friends and neighbours, many of them vulnerable, being denied access to essential services or the basics they need to be healthy, or to be educated, or to have any quality of life.

Those things don’t get us demonstrating in the street, and they should. What possible difference could a few paragraphs make?

Unnecessary suffering
Some, I must hope, cos here I am. I’m going to resist the urge to list the many millions of pounds worth of cuts we have suffered, cos a quick search of OnTheWightarchives will paint a (bleak) picture.

When it comes to it, it’s not about figures, not really. At least, that’s not what gets me off the sofa. It’s about people, and unnecessary suffering, and what’s fair.

Who is affected?
You know someone, probably several people, bearing the brunt of these cuts:

  • It’s the parents working, and yet forced to use the foodbank.
  • It’s the mum at her wits end because her child is not getting the support they need to access the education that is their right.
  • It’s your mate, waiting more than a year to receive any kind of treatment for their mental illness, or your friend at work, distracted worrying about the lack of support her elderly father is receiving.
  • It’s your uncle travelling to the mainland for cancer treatment, and your family being unable to afford to visit him.

The effects of austerity
Last month, our Prime Minister told us austerity was at an end, and yet our services, already at breaking point, face more cuts to come, whilst costs rise. Our Isle of Wight MP, Mr Seely pops up at every flash of a camera, to tell us he’s fighting for the services his party consistently cuts.

The effects of this era of austerity will be felt by us all, for generations to come, and we must do all we can, to publicly oppose it, to unite and respond in solidarity with all those who are struggling, to raise awareness, to learn, to find solutions and to implement change.

Stand with us
In the spirit of hope and unity, we warmly invite you to come stand with us this Saturday (10th) in Newport, following the meeting of the IW Council Cabinet on Thursday 8th, to peacefully and publicly oppose this austerity budget and the mis-truths that have come with it.

We’re very proud to have some very guest speakers:

  • IoW Save Our NHS*
  • Save Our Schools Isle of Wight*
  • Ryde Town Cllr (Binstead) Diana Conyers
  • Mindfulness and Mental Health Author, Sylvia Clare

All speakers will be able to give a unique insight into how cuts are affecting our local services and communities from the specific area of expertise.

All are welcome, bring placards, banners, whistles, bells, and your friends (prize for best placard/banner).

Donations for foodbank
If you can kindly bring a donation of NON-PERISHABLE FOOD or TOILETRIES, we will be collecting donations of food for the IW Food Bank*.

If you are compelled to act, we very much look forward to meeting you.

Colleen Brannon, On behalf of the Isle of Wight Labour Party

* These groups have kindly offered to speak, but are not affiliated with any political party

** Please note, if the weather is terrible, the event will be postponed

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Opinion Piece

Wednesday, 7th November, 2018 9:55am

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ShortURL: http://wig.ht/2lMH

Filed under: Budget Cuts, Government, Island-wide, Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight Opinion Pieces, Top story, What's On

Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

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