September 20, 2012 by Lorna Richardson
On October 20th, the TUC are planning a march and mass demonstration in Central London against the austerity policies of this Coalition government under the banner ‘A Future That Works‘.
I am planning to attend, carrying a banner that says ‘Archaeologists Against Austerity’. A handful of colleagues will be accompanying me. This is an affiliation-free action.
There is an unprecedented level of threat to local and regional museums, academic departments and archaeological and heritage services all over this country. Local authority services are at risk of being outsourced to private companies. Our bunny-hugging and dithering ways are under attack from a government desperate to slash “red tape”.
The past is important. It belongs to all of us, every single one. We should not have to make choices between the value of public services. Expert knowledge is hard earned. Heritage tourism is an underestimated economic benefit. Archaeology education and outreach is Big Society in action. Commercial archaeology supports jobs, families, research, outreach. Local authority services are value for money.
The rich history of this country deserves professional protection and advocacy. Jobs matter, knowledge matters, archaeologist’s families matter. There has never been a greater need for archaeologists to stand up together, wave and say ‘remember us’?