What a mess.
As any halfwit could have predicted the gathering of anti-racists in large numbers achieved one thing before all others and that was to wind up and coax out (or rather dredge up, and not as if they needed much persuasion) the right wing to make a big mess even messier. The right wing of Britain are about as deluded as delusional, intelligence bereft anarchy can get and if watching news footage this weekend hadn’t been so depressing I think I may have actually hurt myself laughing. I should be clear that I’m not directly defending the anti-racists (although I fully agree with all their core goals); they were daft enough to make people think it was suddenly OK to gather in large numbers on the sharp edge of a global pandemic and they were also daft enough to make everyone suddenly feel the need to topple statues and think that not only was that the right thing to do but that such an act should then be allowed to sweep through history.
But all acts of idiocy, individual or collective, on that side were blown clean out of the water by the right wing ‘movements’ which almost literally shitted the streets of our capital on Saturday. There is a place where anger and ignorance meet and that place can almost always be found in the empty spaces of a racist skull. And make no mistakes: very few spaces echo for quite so long and with such resonance as the space between the ears of a right wing foot soldier; a red, veiny, fogged up surge of anger that articulacy cannot hamper. They like to say they are trying to protect history when their version of history is only a fragment of a vast whole. Most of them are vast holes. They like to say they are defending their proud nation when in reality, and it is a total reality, they are nothing more than a humiliating stain; a dangerous reminder that misinformation and misguided hatred can sometimes be disguised as something worthwhile to those least in the know and easiest to lead astray (oddly enough Islamist terrorists fall comfortably into the same bracket – perhaps they have more in common than they’d like to admit). Black Lives Matter. All lives matter. Well, almost.
You’ll want proof, I imagine. Mais oui. The ‘Football Lads Alliance’ are so utterly clueless that they already have a break off rival group called (presumably they had more important things to consider than a better name) The ‘Democratic Football Lads Alliance’, which not only questions their understanding of alliance but also, given their firm feelings on most matters, democracy. Quite how awful the AGM for either group must be can surely only range from abysmal to absolutely fucking awful but meet they must because they do hint at some semblance of organisation. They must have secretaries who can write and treasurers who can count and all those ranks which make them tick as something other than a group of frighteningly racist football fans with nothing left in life worth living for. And just imagine living a parallel life somewhere with the FLA on your polling card – if you do then it’s likely you are in one of the less fortunate corners of this buggered up little island.
Then of course you have the much more fancy ‘Britain First’, which was created from the soiled man-nappy basket that was the ‘British National Party’, a party that was apparently so centre left that the ‘English Defence League’ considered it a little too communist for their agenda. ‘Britain First’ swings the motto “Taking Our Country Back” proudly before it, and in fairness that is pretty much what they’re doing, but we just don’t know quite how far back they want to take it or even whether they’ll know what it will look like when they get there (hint: it’ll look dreadful). ‘Britain First’ are another level of confused because they want to protect the legacy and statues of Winston Churchill, a man famed for helping rid Europe of the Nazis, just so that he could be celebrated 75 years later by another bunch of Nazis. British ones. Little, silly Nazis. Nasty, stupid Nazis. Aimless, pointless, toxic, red faced little Nazis. Bless their little red faces.
One banner on Saturday read ‘BRITIAN FIRST’, and that gives you a clue about who we’re dealing with, in case you were after one. Other clues are abundant but some are just so perfect. Take Andrew Banks as cretin evidence number 1. Here is a man that had swept into London on Saturday morning having had no sleep the night before and 16 pints to go with it. He’s that chap that then found himself, unsurprisingly, caught short and in need of relief; a relief he chose to direct immediately outside Parliament and next to the memorial to PC Keith Palmer, an officer of the law murdered by a deranged Islamist 3 years ago and a victim of the kind of extremism that men such as Andrew Banks claim to be firmly not in favour of. Come on Andrew Banks! You really must make your muddled mind up. Andrew Banks handed himself in once it was abundantly clear that his actions had been captured on camera in what must be one of the most security camera heavy spots on the planet and that it was pretty fucking obvious that it was he, Andrew Banks, taking a piss on a memorial to a dead police officer. He told the court that he had been in London to ‘protect statues’ but also admitted that he did not know which statues he was there to protect. Again, bless. The court also heard that he had mental health issues, though I would say that emphasising such a point in this case seems fairly redundant.
I wrote a post last week about my feelings regarding removing statues and wiping history clean but in the end I didn’t publish it because I didn’t want to give anyone the chance to fiddle with my words and get the wrong impression through a false interpretation that was theirs alone. There’s too much of that happening as it is: people exercising free speech only to be attacked at speed and reminded that, tragically, truly free speech is just a memory, perhaps not even a memory of something that ever properly existed. Much easier then to let the right wing stagger drunkenly through the crowd and do all the hard work for me. They won’t go away, you know. No matter what anyone does they’ll always be there, an livid, boiling swamp of intolerance, and I suppose as some kind of warped compensation they prove that what shattered pieces remain of the ideal of speaking ones mind often mount up to not much better than a load of bollocks. Football Lads Alliance indeed. Whatever next?
G B Hewitt. 16.06.2020