Monday, July 25, 2005

Return to the Valley of the Lettuce Crunchers


A few days ago I received an email from a researcher who had found some of my pictures of protest marches through a web search …

… I am currently working on a programme, about the history of modern day protest. We're looking at protest and demonstrations that have taken place over the 20-30 years. I'm looking for people who have taken part in demonstrations from any perspective, be that, observer, peaceful demonstrator or maybe taking part in direct action. I'm also looking at how the process of protest has changed, from a more organic word of mouth situation to being more technology driven. Would you be interested in having a chat? …

I replied today indicating that I’m probably not the best person to speak with about such things. I’m quite cynical about the effectiveness of anti war marches and the lettuce crunchers who attend them.

Coincidentally, round about the same time I found out about this

Following the death of Jean Charles de Menezes on Friday 22nd July Lambeth Stop the War Coalition have called a Peace and Solidarity Vigil at Stockwell tube station at 6pm on Monday 25th July. George Galloway will be speaking.

All sections of the community are invited and strongly encouraged to attend. Please find a leaflet for the vigil attached.

John Rees, Stop the War Coalition, said: "However horrific the bombings in London on 7th July and however important it is to secure the safety of the public, there can be no excuse for the police adopting a shoot-to-kill policy which guns down innocent people in cold blood. This is precisely the crime for which we hold the terrorists responsible. The police in a democratic society have a duty to act with higher standards. They should be trying to diminish the climate of fear, not add to it."

So, I strolled over the see what was going down.

Not much as it happens. During the time I could be bothered to stick around, the total number of people never exceeded something like 150, roughly broken down into

  • 10% Uniformed Police
  • 5% Plain clothed police (sticking out like sore thumbs)
  • 15% Amateur street photographers
  • 5% Press Photographers
  • 10% TV Crews
  • 25% Apparently at wrong demonstration
  • 29% Genuine demonstrators
  • 1% George Galloway

A few of the ‘hordes’ of people at the vigil were holding up hand written placards with slogans like

‘The Metropolitan police are the new Gestapo’

‘The police are racist killers’

Tossers. I don't believe our police are Nazis. I'm not even sure that poor man was killed by actual London policemen. I do have my suspicions that the police are being misused and misdirected by politicians, and maybe even their own bosses, but I would never go so far as to describe them collectively as racist killers. Seeing crap like that meant I couldn’t stand with the the protestors as I originally intended, the stupid fucks.

Some other people in the crowd held up a banner demanding a four day working week. What the fuck were they doing there?

I watched from the opposite side of the road seething with scorn and contempt.

Oooooooh, I bet the Military Industrial Complex was quaking in its collective boots


I got home from that celebration of lameness just in time to catch the news that the bloke who was shot...

  • May have been here on an expired student visa

  • Was actually shot eight, not five, times

The media seems to be working on the suggestion that the expired visa was the reason why the guy apparently was running from the police.

Oh, that’s alright then

Well, if we’re going to start putting eight bullets into every Latin American here on a dodgy visa we’re going to have to set up belt-fed Gatling guns with interlocking lines of fire on every street corner in South London.

I remember a cleaner in my old office once telling me that 50,000 people just from Colombia alone were working full time in the UK on student visas. London is full of hundreds of thousands of overseas nationals here illegally, doing dodgy deals or wary of the police for all sorts of other reasons. We’ve been packing them in like there’s no tomorrow. I’ve been unhappy about the change in the nature of London for years now but I’d never stoop so low as to connect a dodgy visa with a potentially unlawful killing.

Clowns to the left of me. Jokers to the right. Here I am stuck in the middle with you. And I’m wondering what it is I should do…


Another new contender for the most ludicrous London Bomber story has popped onto the radar today.

Yes, one of the '77' bombers used to play on-line flight simulator games, so he just has to be fucking terrorist doesn’t he…

"Jermaine Lindsay" joined the group in December 2003. He listed his nearest major airport as London Heathrow, and clocked up nearly 30 hours honing his skills over the next two months.

Presumably, if the police had found porn on his PC the story would suggest that he was planning to masturbate people to death.

If the security services really think that playing 30 hours of Microsoft Flight Simulator is all you need to hijack a 747 I have a few jars of penis enlargement cream I’d like to sell them.


On the subject of people who keep massive amounts of porn on their computers, fans of operating system command line interfaces may enjoy this witty spoof of the War on Terror written entirely in UNIX.

My favourite line is...

$ cd ..
$ rm -r bin/laden
bin/laden: No such file or directory

haha, good one


Anonymous said...

the cops mightnt be nazis but the slag in buck palace is

Stef said...

ahem, if you're referring to the royal family, no, I'm not a fan either

as for the Met, yeah, I'm sure there are some nazis lurking in there - after all there are 30,000 of them but my personal experience is that they are mostly decent people who have become jaded through dealing with scumbags a lot of the time - after a while you start thinking that everyone's a scumbag

another problem is that most of the London coppers I meet aren't very 'London', neither in background or ethnicity. They're not very representative.

they're also not the brightest bunch of people you're likely to meet either

bottom line, even though I don't think met coppers are nazis I don't doubt that they could be manipulated by nazis

and that's a major problem

but pissing them off by calling them nazis ain't exactly going to win over hearts and minds is it?

homemade said...

I have a query regarding George Galloway...

150 protesters there (your estimate) - 1% of which are George Galloway. Does this mean;
a) George Galloway is a fat bastard? or
b) that he has multiple personalities, hence making up more than one person in the rally?
c) he's a "larger than life" MP?

Answers on a postcard to....

Interesting blog, on the whole. Don't always agree, but like the scepticism. Its good to see.

Stef said...

Sceptical? Moi?

Answer d) all three, plus a small element of rounding

Agreement is far from mandatory and I am always open to being put straight if that's in order. Thanks for reading.