DEMO AT SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT THURSDAY 27TH SEPTEMBER 2018
The Scottish Pensioners' Forum held its yearly demonstration outside the Scottish Parliament on Thursday 27th September 2018 to mark United Nations International Day of Older Persons. Over 70 affiliates and friends brought their banners along to show their support on the day. This year's theme was "Celebrating Older People's Champions" as well as celebrating 70 years of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Speakers included SPF Chair Maureen Gardner, Vice Chair Rose Jackson, John McAllion, Dundee Pensioners'' Forum, Neil Findlay MSP, John Mason MSP and Alex Rowley MSP.
A message of solidarity from the STUC Youth Committee was delivered by Sarah Wiktorski who called on young and old to campaign together to bring about common change.
Sandra White MSP, Convenor of the Cross Party Group on Older People, Age and Ageing also lodged a motion in support of the event.
Maureen Gardner spoke to demonstrators and thanked them for their support. Drawing on the theme for the event, Celebrating Older People's Champions, Maureen went on to declare that she felt all older people were indeed champions. Touching on the success of the SPF Hands Off Our Bus Pass campaign and the contribution which both Unite the Union and UNISON Retired Members branches brought to its success, Maureen stressed that this was only the beginning as the bus pass did not serve everyone, particularly those in rural areas, therefore the campaign must continue to include rail and ferry services too. Maureen went on to say that the SPF believes that the ability to get out and about helps combat the loneliness and isolation that many older people experience and that perhaps the time was right to call for the re-regulation of buses and bringing rail services back into public ownership.
Maureen went on to say that there were many other issues on which the SPF campaigned and asked demonstrators to continue to work with the organisation to ensure a better deal for older people.
Maureen finished by venting her annoyance at many sections of the press and media who were trying to drive a wedge between young and old.