DPAC at Maidenhead

As regular readers will know, I seldom travel outside London simply to photograph events, the main exception recently being a number of visits to Yarl’s Wood for the protests their about immigration detention. But when Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) announced they were going to protest at Maidenhead, I added that to my diary.

‘Please Sir, I want some more’ and a lunchbox – May was promising to replace free school lunches with a 7p breakfast

Maidenhead is the constituency of Prime Minister Theresa May, and the General Election she had called was only a few days away. The disabled have suffered most from the Tory cuts since 2010; DPAC say Tory polices are heartless and are starving, isolating and ultimately killing the disabled and that they regard them as unproductive members of society, a sentiment recently stated rather clearly by the Chancellor, Philip Hammond. They also point out that a UN investigation has found the UK guilty of grave and systematic violations of disabled people’s human rights – though of course that verdict was rejected by the Conservative government.

Maidenhead is also not very far from where I live, a part of the true blue London fringe of wealth tax avoidance and complacency (though my particular area is rather more down-market, but electorally swamped by its neighbours.) I could have gone there by bicycle, mostly a pleasant ride of around 13 miles along towpath and various tracks with just a little on main roads, or slightly faster by keeping to the roads, and it was a nice day. But it was rather hot and I was feeling lazy and decided to take the bus – or rather two buses – which was only a little slower.

Buses still exist but are neither frequent nor very liable in these outer areas, and the service to Maidenhead from Windsor was roughly hourly in the main part of the day. And should there be problems I could always return – if rather slowly and expensively by train. By three trains (and a short walk between stations!) Most of those taking part in the protest had a much shorter journey than me with a fast and direct service from London Paddington, and they met up with local protesters to march from the station.

The bus journey to Maidenhead proved a little more difficult that expected, when my bus arrived at a different stop to that shown on-line, I think thanks to a one-way system, and a quick look on my phone showed I needed to be a quarter of a mile away in two minutes. I made it, somewhat out of breath, and the second bus was seven minutes late in arriving. Things came more or less to time on the way home, and the schedule meant I had 19 minutes to make the change – and from the same stop. All would have been fine had I not reached into my pocket for my phone when I arrived home and found it missing – I must have left it on the second bus.

I was able to confirm this, tracking its progress on my computer as it slowly made its way back to the depot at Slough, with nobody answering my calls. But the software enabled me to put a message on to it with my phone number, and I was relieved an hour or so later to get a call from the driver to tell me he had found it and it would be in the depot at Slough where I could collect it the next working day – Monday.

This time I did get on my bike, though it was a rather cooler and windy day with the odd spot of rain in the air, and was pleased to get to Slough rather faster than the bus would have taken me (it does go a rather longer way round) and relieved to get my phone back in one piece.

There were no problems in photographing the protest, though it was rather less lively than some by DPAC, and there were relatively few Maidenhead residents in the pedestrian area outside the shopping centre where the police suggested was the best place to protest (and I think they were probably right.) After the protest they marched back to the station where they had met, and a couple of photographers who had travelled by train from London left. I stayed on because I was sure something would happen.

Most of the police had left too, and the protesters then turned around and as I expected, blocked the road at a busy junction close to the station. The police were soon back and trying to persuade them to leave, with rather less patience than the Met usually show.

Police were a little mystified when one of the protesters identified himself as identified himself as General William Taggart of the NCA and claimed the law gave the military privilege a right to block roads in times of national emergencies such as these, but they shortly decided to argue with DPAC’s Paula Peters instead, threatening her with arrest unless she got off the road. Slowly the protesters moved off the road having blocked it for around 15 minutes, and the last were just leaving as I walked away to try to find the bus stop for my bus that was due shortly. Fortunately it was a few minutes late as the stop was not quite where Google marked it and not in the street it was named after.

Theresa May of course won comfortably in her constituency, though her share of the vote was down very slightly at 64.8%; the Labour vote was up 7.5% but still under 20% and even the Lib Dems gained slightly to get 11.2%. The remaining ten candidates shared a little over 4%.

DPAC Trash The Tories in Maidenhead


There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

My London Diary : Buildings of London : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

To order prints or reproduce images


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.