The reason why I have little enthusiasm for political demonstrations is that a while ago, fifteen years ago, I went on a march with the Anti-Nazi League. I can’t remember what it was for specifically, although I’m guessing it was probably against Nazis. I remember, though, the main reason the members of our university Labour club had decided to go was that the Manic Street Preachers were giving a free concert at the end of the march.
Now, I’m not going to complain about the Socialist Workers who always hi-jack these demonstrations by distributing their placards. Well, I am going to complain, but I’m not going to complain any more than I have already in the previous sentence. I’m also not going to waste more than a sentence on expressing my irritation at the ‘Class War’ loons who, as far as I could tell, were basically a bunch of skinheads who wanted a fight and weren’t overly concerned about whether they were on the side of right or left.
But, in a way, that was the problem with the whole thing. I remember there were leaflets being handed out, about an East London bus driver who was a member of the BNP, saying he should be sacked. Now, I consider the BNP utterly repellent, but unless someone is somehow managing to drive a bus in a racist and bigoted manner, I don’t think they should be prohibited from doing so. As soon as you start persecuting ordinary people for their political beliefs... well, then you’re becoming as bad as the guys you’re protesting against.
They even had an effigy on stage. An effigy of a Nazi! To be mocked! As soon as I saw that, I thought, you can count me out.
And the Manic Street Preachers were rubbish.