Amidst the Barricades the Captain spots a Ray of Hope
Most of you won’t have noticed it amongst the atomic meltdowns, earthquake’s, tsunami’s and attempted disposal of rubber faced dictators but we are witnessing a momentous event, the birth of a new geopolitical movement, our very own epiphany.
The joining together of two, not so great nations, to produce a philosophical tremor that is to sweep the world, a rival to conventional politics, destroyer of formal religions, a breath of fresh air blowing through the cobwebbed strewn corridors of convention.
Any avid readers of science fiction will be familiar with the trend, amidst the concentration of strife and confusion the observer registers a discordant note, an anachronism or an uncharacteristic scene which flickers almost subliminally for a split second leaving only a sense of slight bewilderment.
Such were the Captain’s feelings after another hard days toil, bent double over a steaming laptop when, upon adjourning for a brew and a doss, the television soundtrack droned on about the mass protest in London recently. Endless lines of herberts almost as scruffy as the Skipper himself trudged angrily through the streets of the Metropolis shouting abuse against Government spending cuts.
Mixed were my feelings, firstly how come they had the time to protest if they all worked so ruddy hard? I haven’t got time to go fishing and for some of us that’s a short head away from a bronze medal behind breathing, eating and sleeping. Fair enough, we know savings have to be made but not one of these anonymous souls seemed to disagree with that, excepting perhaps the odd union boss or two before collecting their enormous salaries as professional hecklers from their ‘members’ (and we all know what we call our members).
What of the mass of protestors though? Once again, as with the ‘Poll Tax’ riots we saw a huge bunch of people complaining about something but apparently with no real idea of a suitable alternative – we’ve run out of cash dear, there is none, what do you suggest, borrow some more and let the kids pay for it later?
So let’s get to the point (not the original point, I’ll be back there shortly) if you want to protest then so be it, realise however that a typical individual from the great British silent majority has no sympathy for the average Public Sector worker whom he considers a feckless, time wasting, clock watching parasite. Nurses used to be exempt as did coppers, not so any more, there’s no automatic pass these days but the medical profession still manage to command a modicum of respect.
Tabloid press reports (and it’s all tabloid now regardless of whether it’s broadsheet or A5) loves to report the extremes, devoted cancer carer to Munchausen by proxy murderer alike, and this exercises a strong influence on public perceptions. When you have to earn your own living, with no guarantee of income, when you’re only as good as your last job, when you’ve no publicly funded pension pot, it’s hard to muster sympathy for people who work 9 till 5 with an hour for lunch and a regular salary higher than yours, sick pay, perks and the rest.
But what really lights the blue touch paper for us independents is the sight of compulsive anonymity, the legions of hooded, scarf wearing protestors who seem to think hiding one’s identity is a prerequisite to public dissent. Surely if you are going to be struck down by a baton wielding rozzer you want the TV to see who you are for the ensuing no win no fee court case? Or is there another deeper, darker reason you don’t want recognition? Up to no good perhaps, windows to break, bricks to throw?
Being frank shouldn’t anyone turning up at an event where someone is almost bound to start trouble, as we witnessed last week, be compelled to at least dress in a manner where they can be eliminated from enquiries?
So it was that, even more bitter and twisted than usual that I noticed him. A fleeting glimpse, a slight figure almost lost in the sea of similarly garbed, trudging morass of humanity. Like them he clutched the skinny pole that supported his placard, his plea from the heart, a small whisper of sanity amongst the roar of abuse.
It said simply ‘Down with this Sort of Thing’.
Could it be? Did it mean what I thought? In an instant he had passed from the camera’s eye but the emotion remained, a tiny internal smile which grew steadily, burgeoning upward and out, reaching inexorably until the corners of the Captains mouth crept into a half smile whilst deep, deep down a laugh was born.
Amidst all the misery, anger and confusion came the thought that at the last roll call it wouldn’t be the protest that lingered in the memory, just the humour. Back to the smaller screen, a quick surf and there it was, evidence that a momentary amusement from the Emerald Isle and the great white haired giant himself had developed into a crusade now embraced by the British love of eccentricity.
A nation which has entered ‘Jedi ‘ so many times on its Census forms it is now the fifth biggest religion in the UK.
A country which spawned Major Allison Digby Tatham-Warter, awarded the DSO after leading a bayonet charge on a German position with an umbrella and when it was pointed out the contraption was useless in combat merely replied,
‘Yes, but what if it rains?’
Major Tatham-Warter DSO
So bearers of the placard we pay homage to your meaningless, selfless act.
Bear witness all to the armies of insolence who can find the wit to write a proper placard and prick the balloon of pomposity which typifies the street protestor of this wonderful state that allows you to shout your complaint aloud in the streets of the capital.
The great man himself (and perpetual sidekick) in the original protest.
Protestors against protests, we salute you!
And finally and best of all Fathers Ted and Dougal in the original protest against the fictional film The Passion of Saint Tiberius (if you’re not familiar then this video is essential viewing).