March in October

Numbers

After the Trump thing earlier in the year, another walk through London on Saturday just past. This time with over half a million people — 770,000, by some estimates. That’s a hugely impressive number, and a measure of the strength of feeling in the country against Brexit. Or at least against the idea of the government pushing it through without us having another say on the matter.

You’d imagine it might be enough to make them at least consider enquiring as to the will of the people. But I highly doubt it.

The March

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Arriving at Green Park Station
Arriving at Green Park Station

A group of us from Hackney joined at Green Park. There’s an exit from Green Park station that comes out in the park itself, which I don’t think I knew before.Then it took us an age to get out of the park, because of the crush a t the gate. Quite a lot of people were trying to get in at the same time, which didn’t help.

We milled around on Piccadilly for a while. The main march started on Park Lane, so we were ahead of it, and it wasn’t clear to us whether the head of it had already passed us, or if not, then when it actually reached us. It looked like nothing was moving ahead of us. My assumption was that they hadn’t yet closed all the roads between us and Parliament Square, but there was no way to know for sure. Eventually we started moving.

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These noisy bastards were around all day

The mood was universally peaceful and cheerful. There were hardly any police to be seen.

I tried to post a couple of photos, but inevitably the network was swamped and nothing would work. I guess even if people weren’t trying to post, just that many phones trying to register with a cell tower would slow things down dramatically.

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An idea of the numbers

The Rally

By the time we got to Whitehall Parliament Square was full, and we couldn’t get in. The organisers had set up some big screen-and-speaker systems, so we could hear the speeches (at least when the hovering helicopters weren’t too close).

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Wee Nicola on screen

Conclusion

There isn’t one, really. Like I say, the Mayhemic leadership of the country won’t pay any attention. But if nothing else it helps to keep our spirits up in these dark days.

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Trafalgar Square in the aftermath
Trafalgar Square in the aftermath
March in October

Trumping Through London

On Friday I went for a walk through central London with a couple of hundred thousand of my closest friends.

The march was due to start at 2pm from Portland Place. I was a little late. I went straight to Oxford Circus. I came out of the tube station and just stood and watched the people walking down Regent Street. It was amazing, and seemed endless. Then I saw these two with great signs:

Anti-Trump protestors with signs: 'If Adolph (sic) Hitler flew in today... They'd send a limousine anyway'; and 'Bloody Trump, combing over hair, taking our tax money.'

A Clash quote and a bad pun? Count me in.

I walked down the pavement alongside the march for a bit, taking more photos.

Anti-Trump protestors, London, July 2018

Anti-Trump protestors, London, July 2018

Before long we got to Trafalgar Square.

Anti-Trump protestors in Trafalgar Square, London, July 2018

Anti-Trump protestors, Trafalgar Square, London, July 2018

There were many speakers and a few musicians. Len McCluskey told us that the police had estimated the crowd was over 250,000, which was surprising, since they tend to underestimate. Anyway, if so, it was the biggest since the Iraq war demo. More amusingly, we were a bigger crowd than at Trump’s inauguration.

That said, I looked around and it didn’t feel that crowded. I’ve seen the O2 full, and I would guess that there were a similar 20,000 in the square.

But it turned out when I left that there were many, many people in the streets around the square. I guess they didn’t want to push forward because the square looked full. I’m quite glad about that.

The atmosphere was fantastic all day. The police presence was pleasingly low (or at least low-key), despite the stories of leave being cancelled and people drafted in from all over the country.

Did it do any good? Probably not, in the sense that it won’t have any direct effect on Trump. But it made a lot of people feel good, and it showed the world that we care.

Trumping Through London

Mouse Takes Fox

The news that Murdoch plans to sell 21st Century Fox and Sky TV to Disney is interesting for how it will reshape the media landscape. But it’s good from my point of view for a number of reasons, some relatively trivial and to do with content consumption; and one big.

  1. The X-Men and the Fantastic Four will come under the control of Marvel Studios. Just in time for Infinity War. Well, of course, far too late — even, I would imagine, for Infinity War Part 2. I expect that’s at least planned by now.
  2. Even more trivial, Lucasfilm can put the Fox fanfare back at the start of future Star Wars movies (and add them in to future reissues of the recent ones).
  3. It will become ethical to watch Sky TV. More of which below.

Above all: better Disney than Murdoch.1

Will Disney own too much? Hell yes. But see above.

On the ethics of watching — and paying for — Sky TV: see this blog passim for my thoughts on that. Like here and here. If Sky had not been owned by Murdoch we might conceivably have got it in the past. But I feel we’re highly unlikely to get it now. Buying a dish in 2017 would just be weird, and our side of the road is not cabled, by some odd historical aberration. But there’s the online version, which I think is called Direct TV. If we had had that I would have been able to watch the new Twin Peaks when it was actually broadcast, instead of now, on DVD, as is actually happening.

Loving it, by the way. And managed to hear no spoilers whatsoever, surprisingly.


  1. I mean, better almost anyone than Murdoch. []
Mouse Takes Fox

Mayday for Human Rights

More evidence, as if it were needed, that this government is not just incompetent, but actively malevolent:

The EU (withdrawal) bill, published on Thursday – known as the “great repeal bill”– which will formally enact Brexit, includes a clause which says: “The charter of fundamental rights is not part of domestic law on or after exit day.”

Yes, Theresa May and her cabal of crazies do not believe that British citizens should have the same fundamental rights guaranteed to them as citizens of the rest of the EU.

Link

General Election: Vote!

TL; DR: Vote Against the Tories

This is long, and I’ll understand if you don’t want to read it. So, a summary.

The election should never have been called; Labour should have resisted it when it was. But now that it’s here we need to take advantage of it to protect the NHS. And maybe hold out some hope for stopping, or at least softening, Brexit. Because with the Tories we’ll only get a disastrously hard crash out.

Vote to stop the Tories and save the NHS.

Continue reading “General Election: Vote!”

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General Election: Vote!

Right Wing Pirates to Plague the Med

This is a disgrace on humanity:

Far-right activists are planning a sea campaign this summer to disrupt vessels saving refugees in the Mediterranean, after successfully intercepting a rescue mission last month.

Members of the anti-Islam and anti-immigrant “Identitarian” movement – largely twentysomethings often described as Europe’s answer to the American alt-right – have raised £56,489 in less than three weeks to enable them to target boats run by aid charities helping to rescue refugees.

From The Guardian.

A right wing organisation that wants to stop aid agency boats that are trying to rescue refugees. I hope the coastguards of Italy and Greece shut them down hard.

Also on:
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Losing the War on Terror

The front page of today’s Guardian has a picture of what it looks like when you let the terrorists win:

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Armed police used to be almost unknown on British streets. Now they’re becoming alarmingly commonplace. I saw two outside Liverpool Street Station yesterday; armed, like the two above, not just with pistols, but with big, two handed things that most people would call “machine guns.” This increasing militarisation of the police was taken a step further this week when the Maybot ordered actual troops onto the streets. And I read that armoured vehicles were going to be deployed at the FA Cup final.

Armed police on a beach: why? Was there a reasonable expectation of some sort of attack on Scarborough beach? And if there was: would weapons have helped? Armed police would not have stopped the tragedy in Manchester.

The aim of the terrorist is to cause terror. All this escalation does is make ordinary people feel more worried, more scared. Worry and low-grade fear aren’t terror, but they’re on the same axis. Overreacting like this is playing into the terrorists’ hands. As well, of course, as being a cynical political move in the runup to an election whose calling was, itself, a cynical political move.

Meanwhile Jeremy Corbyn gave speech making reasonable, uncontentious points about the links between foreign policy and terrorism. Predictably the right-wing press and Tory politicians went ape.

Losing the War on Terror