Paignton does not often see political activity or protests. So when Torbay Fightback activists gathered in Paignton town centre on what was a chilly Saturday afternoon, to campaign against the Bedroom Tax and privatisation of the NHS, we were unsure how our presence would be felt.
However our uncertainty was dismissed within moments of arriving. Upon spotting the NHS material, members of the public flocked around the stall before Fightback activists had an opportunity to get all their material and banners in place. This trend was to continue as people queued to add their names to the list of signatures. In little more than an hour all petition forms had been filled and hundreds of Torbay Fightback leaflets, including the new Youth Fightback flyer had been distributed. Even then, more people had been directed to the stall by their friends and family.
During our short time in the town centre, the public came to the stall not only to register their support, but in some cases voicing issues that affected them. People came forward with details of how they are being hounded by ATOS and of how the new Bedroom Tax will cut their already meagre incomes. They told how the NHS had saved them and how we must fight to protect it at all costs. Many people also commented on how the so called opposition parties in Torbay were not prepared to be in the streets and talking to the public on a cold afternoon.
A successful afternoon for Fightback, but more importantly a statement made that despite government pressure, the people are firmly opposed to social cleansing policies such as the Bedroom Tax and the loss of our precious NHS to privatisation.
A short planning meeting followed the stall activity. Plans for a Fightback stall outside Torquay Job Centre, plus a Workfare protest and May Day event were discussed, details of which shall appear on this site as well as our facebook and twitter feeds in the near future.