Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Well here's a surprise.

Just to reiterate, this is a party that 3/4 of a million people voted for last year in the European elections (and got some results in the general election that the Greens, for example, would have been delighted with). We are not talking about the tiny minority we should be.

At some point on ilwtt.org I wrote about how I'd been at Trafalgar Square and witnessed the BNP hijacking an Al-Mujahiroun demonstration (and if only the two groups knew how much they actually had in common). There was a moment, after a depressingly obvious "Osama" chant from the men in black, where the police imposed a sudden, huge cordon around the suddenly teeming mass of people invading the space in front of the fountains (like a football crowd surge, for those of you who remember the days of terraces), and I found myself trapped inside the line of policemen - and otherwise surrounded, as far as I could see, only by Griffin's fascist acolytes, in their trademark Burberry and, predictably, football paraphernalia: Brentford and Chelsea daubed on the ubiquitous union flags, I remember in particular. So I will always be grateful to the policeman who took pity on me when, after trying unsuccessfully to break back out, I pleaded "I don't want to get stuck with the Nazis" - not least as, if he hadn't bundled me out, I was about to get one hell of a kicking. The copper even managed a comforting "good on you, son", and for the first (and probably last) time I could have kissed a policeman.

Right now, this battle for fringe supremacy is being played out in the papers and press, rather than around Nelson's Column on a balmy bank holiday weekend. But with an inescapable editorial theme implying that the UK's Muslims should somehow be spending their time apologising to the rest of the population, rather than being allowed to mourn and then move upward and onward with the rest of us who share in this sadness, you know that there will be plenty of would-be voters prepared to lap up the propoganda which takes the pundits' self-righteousness only a stage (a shade) further. The police know that, which is why they're having to stand guard at city mosques, and that in itself shames London, because it means that not enough of us have stood up against the relentless, repetitive subtext that the attacks are all down to "them", "them" being the 1,500,000+ people in British Muslim families rather than the 15 Al-Mujahiroun agitators with megaphones who would have claimed, then at least, to have sympathised with the bombers' actions. And if there's really "no smoke without fire" then everyone in the UK needs take a long hard look at themselves and offer each other apologies, when our society, in living memory of WW2, has collectively spawned 750,000 who can go into a polling booth and place an X by the name of a fascist candidate.

And yes, I do feel even worse in the knowledge that what's happened to London just once in the last decade or so is happening in Baghdad on a seemingly daily basis. I'm hoping that in weeks to come we will start to identify rather more strongly with their plight again.

And I know this is just blog-standard therapy, but I don't even have the energy to proof it for sense. I keep meaning to write about music but when some people in east London, despite the coming together for the Olympic bid and the coming together in grief last week, show they can be so hateful, so quickly, it seems rather pointless, doesn't it ?

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