Campaigning Graffiti: How an older generation of pension protesters are using the tactics of young activists

My image and blog on the side of the Bank of England

Disruptive protests are seen mainly but not exclusively as the preserve of the young. Whether it is blocking roads like Extinction Rebellion or organising street protests they are not the natural first choice of people old enough to be grandparents..

Yet the government’s refusal to even discuss any compensation with 3.8 million women born in the 1950s who are now waiting up to six years longer to get a pension has seen the first disruptive action organised by ” oldies” in the capital.

First there was a rally in Hyde Park and march which ended in Parliament Square where spontaneously some of the protestors blocked the road forcing the police to divert traffic for nearly two hours.

Then there has been an extraordinary partnership with young people in a guerrilla marketing organisation to project on to prominent buildings like the House of Commons, the Bank of England and the law courts – slogans demanding action to redress the problem. I am told there are no laws to stop anyone projecting slogans on any building. It also included one of my blogs revealing the Thatcher government’s decision to all but end the Treasury contribution to the National Insurance Fund.

Then in the dead of night graffiti started to appear on the pavements outside prominent London landmarks with slogans as part of the BackTo60 campaign to compensate the women.

Here are some of the pictures:

BackTo60 logo sprayed into the Westminster pavement
Graffiti praising the lawyer Michael Mansfield who represented the 50s born women in the judicial review demanding compensation.
Logo outside the entrance to Portcullis House, Westminster
Graffiti outside the Treasury.

None of this has been reported in mainstream media. And the public who see the graffiti may be puzzled about what it is all about.

But there is a deeper issue. This particular group of women are a large bedrock of the older generation. They have been until now mainly apolitical, bringing up their families, going to work and living normal lives.

But the total refusal of the government to even discuss the issue has transformed this. Shocked by this attitude they are becoming radicalised and for the government this is very bad news. They did form a large part of the group who traditionally voted Conservative. Very few will vote Conservative at the next general election. Some will vote Labour, some Liberal Democrat, Plaid Cymru or Scottish Nationalist, some the Brexit Party and some not at all.

This means given the antipathy to the Tories among the young that many Tory MPs who think they have secure majority may find themselves out of a job at the next general election. And the government will only have itself to blame for not listening to them.

55 thoughts on “Campaigning Graffiti: How an older generation of pension protesters are using the tactics of young activists

  1. Reblogged this on Fear and Loathing in Great Britain and commented:
    None of this has been reported in mainstream media.

    Like

  2. Wonderful women. I’m a 1950’d woman too, I’m not going away ! So angry, I was at the JR. Thank you so much David. We are making Her Story at last !

    Like

  3. We were socialised to be subservient to our “superiors” … it takes a lot for our age group to speak up for ourselves.

    Like

  4. Wonderful report. I am a 1950’s woman. Lost something in the region of £42,000 so far. Worked hard, paid full NI.
    So angry, well done David and #backto60.
    Lets hope for a good result very soon.

    Like

  5. I would like to take this chance just to thank you for taking up our cause. until back to 60 and you I was lost .now I have fight in me due to all of you keep up the good work

    Like

  6. So true.I am 61 ,ravaged by arthritis with both hips needing replacement and still work full time as well as helping to care for my elderly disabled mother and my father in law.I have no private pension as I have always worked in low paid jobs to enable me to bring up my children and help with my grandson.I have paid tax and national insurance since I was 16years of age and now have been robbed of 6years pension.
    This is theft from a government I no longer trust We paid in you pay out.

    Like

    • I think your case is not unusual, people in their 60’s & early 70’s have a number of roles, carers like yourself and I have been in this position of juggling roles between carer, worker, and suffering multiple health problems. Others have to look after grandchildren as a one wage household is becoming as rare as the Snow Leopard. I know of people who delay operations because there is no-one to look after elderly parents. The fact that many pensioners look after their parents in their late eighties and 90’s and save the state a considerable amount of money as never entered the calculations of people who seem to live in a different world to most of us and in the case of Boris lives on another planet to the rest of us. I am afraid the biggest lie in the media is not Brexit, but the one that states that the present 65 year old is as fit as your grandparents 55 years old.
      What we forget is that we have a chronological age born on the 01/04/55 and of course the body clock does not recognise the 24 hour clock, In fact in the last year life expectancy has falling for the first time since the Victorian period.
      In conclusion, most of us can remember visiting our grandparents having Sunday tea and eating rock cakes or our grandmother would come for Sunday Dinner then disappear for another week as she went out to beetle or whist drives or a short holiday in the countryside. Now grandparents have a totally different role in society and unfortunately the state seems to conveniently forgotten this.

      Like

  7. What consecutive governments have done and imposed on 3.8m 1950s women is theft of their SP! Evidence was presented at the JR and is clear for all to see. Young and all uniting to right this injustice.Nowhere to hide!

    Like

  8. I’m a #50sWoman and at 64 galvanised into action by #Backto60 Campaign. I was at Rally, joined 100’s on pelican crossings in Parl Sq 10/10/18, at RCJ for Oral Hearing 30/11/18 & June ’19 Substantive Hearing. I took part in #Backto60LondonTakeover too: this is my fight for 3.8m #50sWomens DUE pensions & Gov’t need to ‘get’ #WeArntGoingAway so PAY US NOW!! David, your journalistic revelations/reporting are so essential to our fight & I can’t wait for your next report!! Thank you!!

    Like

  9. Do we need permission to use these logos, can we print/post/distribute posters ourselves to highlight the situation more locally?

    Like

  10. Thanks David for highlighting the innovations we at Backto60.com have had to make to get 50sWomen voices heard. We are still fighting and will continue until we gain recognition from Government (and Labour etc) that we have been discriminated against by raising our pension age so rapidly to 66. We had no notice from the DWP -indeed evidence at the substantive review found this fact was hidden deliberately! Our films Claim Granted, Backto60londontakeover and others are on our website Backto60.com. The graffiti is in fact reverse graffiti – paving is cleaned to reveal the messages😊

    Like

  11. I am amazed at how many women from the 1950’s are ignorant of the fact that there is all this campaigning going on.
    I keep telling people, even random women to back the backto60 and waspi women who are doing a Stirling job, we need to get it out there! I have sent e-mails, letters and petitions constantly.
    We paid in they pay out! 1956 and still working!

    Like

  12. Why is the mainstream media simply ignoring this? I have written to GMB/BBC/SKY and, because they mentioned the removal of pensioner benefits, LOOSE WOMEN. Janet Street Porter did mention the witholding of women’s pensions the other day, almost in passing.
    They don’t seem to care at the dishonesty, victimisation of women or misappropriation of NI funds. Has someone with great power been exercising it to stop reporting?

    Like

  13. Dear Back to 60 Campaign
    Please may I have a printable poster (A4) which I can print and put in the front window of my home?
    And
    Please may I have a reasonably priced opportunity to buy a T shirt with the
    back to 60s / for 1950’s women / 3.8m 50’s women have to do without their pensions for up to 6 years
    kinds of designs.
    Sold in both men’s and women’s options.
    Please?
    This campaign cannot go quiet and what better place to build public awareness in the warm weather than messaging on the fronts and backs of women all over the country.
    For once I would be thrilled as people stare at my boobs!
    And, now I think about it, maybe a short leaflet (printable on an A4 sheet) that I can give people if they ask what the T shirt is all about…….
    Best, Helena
    Helena Brown
    Redmore Brown
    Tel: 020 8748 1492
    Mob: 07970 600 104
    Email: helena@redmorebrown.com

    Like

  14. Top class journalism and top class efforts we all owe so much for the wonderful support we have. Love the modern twist with the projection onto buildings.

    It’s amazing to see 1950’s women making such a stand. Most 1950’s women have been compliant all their lives. Brought up in a generation of never being equal whether in salary, pension or opportunities. We were brought up to put up and shut up, not to rock the boat. Accept what ever crap was been thrown at us.

    At last we have a voice and boy are this government and the DWP going to hear it.

    Enough is enough the worm now turns, we will get what’s rightfully ours. We will fight till we win.

    Never in all my working life have I felt such loathing for a government that treats a group of hard working women with so little respect. The blatant arrogance and attitude of the government and DWP are beyond shameful.

    I hope every one of the DWP & Government think about those struggling to live and work because they can’t get their pension. Moreover I sincerely hope they can never eradicate the memory of those poor women who’ve died before receipt of their pension. Working through all manner of illness, caring for elderly parents and looking after grandchildren so their family can work.

    Your a bloody disgrace !!!

    Dee

    Like

  15. Thank you David for continuing to highlight our plight. Anyone interested please search for support groups on Facebook, Twitter etc.

    Like

  16. You’ve hit the nail on the head there. It’s not rocket science do they not realise the by not given us what we are due , will backfire on them. If they let us retire and try and enjoy done of our lives having worked over 46 years. Our jobs would then be free for youngest to get a job, we would have money( hopefully to shop, upgrade items in our homes) go on holidays, upgrade our very old cars which in turn helps the economy, this is a no brainier, but hey we’re not dealing with normal people, but idiots who are digging there feet in. Well we will too and we won’t let go till we get what we deserve and is due to us. You can forget us backing and voting for you as you have truly shown your true colours with your deceit and lies. We back to 60’s lady’s are in for the long haul.

    David what you have done for us is beyond thanks. You are like glue you don’t give up and stick at it and speak the truth. You are one in a million.
    Please make sure this post is seen to the relevant people David and thanks again. Are we ant nearer hearing a result??

    Like

  17. Brilliant! What a great way of getting the attention of everybody. Keeping our cause high profile can only be a positive thing, as long as it is within the law which it appears it is.
    These weeks are dragging by, one minute I am so hopeful of a fair decision, then I plunge down and worry that nothing will happen to help us. Please let justice be done .

    Like

  18. Thank you David Hencke for your formidable blog and support. We 50s Women have become MAJOR ACTIVISTS!!💪💪🌷🌷

    Like

  19. I was born in 1954, I started work in the health service in June 1971. I have now reached 48 years paying National Insurance contributions. Surely, someone in government will recognise I’m tired, and give me a chance to retire and allow a younger person to step up?
    PLEASE!!

    Like

  20. The low life’s in this Government will dig in their heels and make sure we will never get our pensions back, because even if they loose the case they would probably make sure that any payouts will take so long to be paid out that most of us will be dead before we receive them!!!!!! That’s how underhanded handed this lot are!!!!

    They made sure they have never let it go public that they are turning the State Pension into a benefit!!!!!

    How many of the public realise that this is what they are doing because they are doing it behind everyone’s back!!!

    They will not touch their ‘Gold Plated Ring Fenced Pensions’ just JOE PUBLICS!!!!

    Like

  21. Great news this and any government that went along with putting a vulnerable group of women pension up six year, should not run the country.

    Like

  22. Dear David Hencke, might you care please to email me the company name and contact details of the guerrilla marketing organisation that project slogans on public buildings please, so Grey Swans can fight for the state pension weekly income threatened with extinction from next Tory government, for all pensioner ages, old and new? Once the Judicial Review wins, Grey Swans will be the last pension campaign group going forward into the future that includes all 1950s and 1960s ladies and gents and oldest pensioners alike.

    Like

  23. I am retired, and enjoying my full pension, but my wife Frances, who is obliged to continue working full time in a bank, and part time as a cabaret artiste (as seen on Youtube), would never engage in this sort of hooliganism, and I would not allow her to do so, even if she suggested it: what sort of example does it set for our young folk?

    Like

      • I take great offence at that suggestion. I may be getting on in years, but my wife is only 29. Despite her youth, she has never tagged a tube train with graffiti, nor misbehaved in any anti-social way. Can you say the same, now that you have apparently aligned yourself with these anarchic trouble makers?

        Like

    • Well aren’t you the lucky one then,if you were in our position that it might be a different story. This campaign is about 50’s women so why are you getting involved??

      Like

      • I don’t really know, Erika, to be honest. I’ve finished my crossword puzzle book, and there is nothing on telly, and I’m at a bit of a loose end.

        Like

  24. What sort of example do this Government show in the way they have behaved with all of their ‘lies, deceit, and cover-ups’!!!!!!!

    Like

  25. Sheila: surely no husband should allow his wife to take part in anti-social behaviour? That would be grossly irresponsible. I am shocked by your attitude.

    Like

  26. I’m a 1950s woman, having to wait an extra 6 years for my state pension. I’ve worked since I was 16, and have already paid well in excess of 40 years NI payments, with another 4 years to go! How many of today’s generation will have paid what we paid? I’m proud to be part of the back to 60 campaign, it’s wonderful that people are coming together to fight this injustice. We’re not asking for anything other than the money owed to us. This is not a benefit, as we often see written about the state pension nowadays! It’s our money! And we’re not ‘all living longer’. This is a stupid comment. There is no way that I am now as healthy or fit as I was even last year. When you reach your 60s, you’re dodging metaphorical ‘bullets’ every day. This govt should listen to all its people…not just the chosen few.

    Like

  27. Well done to everyone involved! I am a victim born 1957 and it is outrageous that the government think they can make it up as they go along!!!

    Like

  28. Vernon.
    If only I had a husband to keep me in check!! I have had to survive on my wits and precious little money nearly all my adult life. Thank goodness for you and others like you keeping watch over us and guiding us to keep within the man-made parameters of society. Keep up the good work.

    Like

    • If only I wasn’t spoken for, Sheila (although my wife is very broadminded) … I like a feisty woman, and you might even keep me in check! Perhaps we could go out one night with our cans of paint and decorate a few pavements together?

      Like

  29. As usual nothing reported in MSM! Well done David and all the 50’s ladies for your determination to get justice for us all. I will be 65 this month, forced to sell up and move miles from friends and family to downsize, but still no pension until next May!

    Like

  30. Vernon
    Yes, such a shame that you are spoken for but I am surprised that you would consider taking cans of paint out to the streets. It appears that maybe you are softening to the publicity for our, very justified, cause and perhaps you and your wife could arrange a “date night ” and spread the word about us 50s ladies.
    In anticipation -thank you.

    Like

    • Sheila: between you and me, Mrs Vernon works most evenings and wouldn’t notice if I slipped out to meet you. I might not feel able to take part in criminal activity myself, but would be very happy to hide around the corner and watch. If you are worried about the impropriety, we could ask Mr Hencke to come along and act as chaperone/gooseberry?

      Like

  31. Dear Vernon
    I love your humour but I feel we are deviating away from the issue which is at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Justice for us ladies. Mrs Vernon is a lucky girl, in another time……. Sheila

    Like

    • Oh Sheila: I fear you are giving me the brush off. Never mind. Yes, Mrs Vernon is a lucky woman, as I keep reminding her. I wish you luck with your campaign, of course, and do let me know if you ever feel you need the use of my spray can. x Vernon

      Like

  32. I have just seen , online, some adverts that the government used to inform people of the rise in pension age. One is a monopoly board and the other two dogs talking on the beach !! David, do you know if these were included in the bundle of paperwork at the JR? They were completely inappropriate for such a massive change. Also two dogs? Dogs??? What is the government implying?

    Like

    • Sheila
      The answer is yes they are in the bundle. When I wrote the story I concentrated on the internal DWP memos admitting nothing was being done. These advertisements are inappropriate because they have nothing to do with the raising of the pension age for 50s born women. They were advertisements aimed at getting people to take out a second private pension on top of the state pension. I checked this with Lord Rooker who agreed – the focus at the time was getting people to take out another pension – they didn’t do anything to advertise the raising of the pension age.
      I think they are included in the bundle to bamboozle the judges to say the DWP did something but I hope the judges see through this.

      Like

  33. Thank you, David, for clarifying that. Could they be any more devious or misleading? So disheartened by the fact that the goverment really doesn’t give a fig for decent , hard-working people but are first in line to feather their own nest

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.