|Vanessa and I arrive in London like the crazy crackpots that we are.|
What actually happened was that everyone tried to gather as instructed, heads down and obediently separated, for about thirty seconds. Firstly, most of us had arrived by public transport and were ridiculously conspicuous by having a whole face. Secondly, there were so many of us that we simply fell into each others bubbles and gave up. Thirdly, the sun was shining, something exciting was afoot, and everyone was loving being close to like minded others and so began to party. Nicely.
There was no need to link arms. We were such a huge number of people we would have got in each other's way, under each other's feet and fallen over each other in a million strong rugby scrum and so without further ado, once the starting flares went up, we all started to walk. "Hooray," we all shouted, and those with horns blew them, those with drums banged them, some with saucepans and spoons bashed them and off we went like the jolly conspiracy theorists that we are. And actually, for conspiracy theorists, the people around me during the five hours of marching that I did, were very moderate. They just did not want to see their freedoms spirited away from them with weasel words by the Government. They did not trust all the figures, did not like children wearing masks (did not like anyone wearing masks). They were furious about the old people left to fade away and die in despair and loneliness, for their own good. They did not want to be forced to have vaccines and no one, absolutely no one wanted vaccine passports. "Wake up!" we all wanted to say, "much of this Government and media stuff is madness!"
I did go to the anti Iraq war march on 15 February 2003. I am not a great march goer, but I did feel very strongly about the Iraq war. There were coordinated anti war protests across the world, the London one was called the million march. I was very glad to have joined it though it did no good at all. War was declared and everyone went about their business as planned, we marchers had had our say and it was nice of them to allow it. Yesterday, as I met up with, walked alongside, chatted to and laughed with the ever changing sea of people around me, I thought that perhaps we won't change our government's minds but we will show each other we are not alone. We are jolly well not alone. For all of us who feared we would be the only person in the supermarket without a mask for ever, we saw we are one of an enormous crowd of like minded others.
There were all manner of ages, sizes, colours and types with us yesterday. There was not a typical freedom protester. You could not look at the miles and miles of marchers and say Ha! Knew they were all freedom protesters! You can tell! The banners were a give away, that is true, but the people carrying them ranged from a young woman with beads in her hair and flip flops to an older woman who looked like everyone's favourite granny. That really was the point of the march. It was not just a crackpot minority who believed that this virus came from outer space helped on it's way by winged dragons. It wasn't simply a fringe group who wanted to change the world into a place where everything is free and who dance in the streets to tin whistles. We were, are, a collection of people for whom the facts do not add up. For whom, once the cracks in the story appear, cannot disappear. What we see and experience do not match the things we are told are happening all around us, and now that the cracks in the story cannot be unseen we notice how mad everyone has become and how that is applauded. "Stop it!" we want to say, and yesterday, we did say it.
|Ha ha ha|
Many people yesterday said how difficult it was to think differently to their friends, families and neighbours. Our voices and opinions, they say, are removed from the public space and we are made to look like the baddies that are causing all the trouble but because we are banned from being heard, we cannot always argue back. And so the misrepresenting, the tarring and feathering, the wholesale silencing continues not only unchecked but officially sanctioned. This is hard enough for we, the common plebs, but we see people we trust and want to listen to, officially removed from the airwaves, from social media platforms and from the print media. Not only are they officially shut down, they are put onto a metaphorical ducking stool and ducked into the water to shouts of raucous abuse. We, the hoi poloi, fear that if it can be that hard for the scientists, virologists, doctors, epidemiologists and other such professionals to speak up, then we do not stand a chance if we disagree with the official line. We feel we are being lied to and sold a pup. It is hard to deal with this alone, knowing that everyone else thinks all the nonsense is fine while we make little forays into the darkness of non compliance, and we don't wear our masks. Or we don't get a vaccine. Or we veer into people on purpose who are trying to avoid us on a windy walk on top of a hill in the middle of nowhere.
So back to the walk yesterday. My friend Vanessa and I walked happily for five hours. We left before there was a bit of police action at the end, but looking for any mention of the march at all on any kind of news outlet later, we only heard about the police bit at the end. We also read that a group of covid deniers were marching down Oxford Street trying to make people remove their masks. Not sure that actually happened because Oxford Street was completely shut down and very few shops were open. But it was telling that about a million ordinary citizens marching against bizarre, restrictive and frighteningly damaging and illogical rules in their own country, was passed over.
|This went on for miles and miles. |
What we did not hear was how wonderful it was to meet so many people who were not afraid of being together. To laugh at how things like having a hug was not only bad for you, but possibly both illegal and lethal, and how many of us were simply not complying, quietly ignoring all the rules, and not only remaining alive but all around us remaining alive too. Fancy that, we all said and carried on walking side by side.
|My friend Amy and I giving out copies of the spoof tabloid newspaper The Covid Chronicles|
See the Covid Chronicles spoof tabloid newspaper on my website here. Paper copies are £3 each. A work of art, words and drawings by yours truly. Contact details on the website.
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