You may have noticed there’s a special guest in town. Well, not actually *in* town or at least not more than briefly. He stopped off in Regents Park last night but hightailed it out before any of those very, very sad protesters turned up. He felt unwelcome, apparantly.
Which is a pity because so many of us came out to mark his trip! It’s hard to pin down exactly why we’re all compelled to come out on the streets against Trump when other despots visit London with minimal fuss. But it’s hard to ignore the motormouth tangerine Tweeting machine so we’re all more than familiar with his words and actions.
And there is plenty to protest about. Do you dislike sexism? Racism? Bullying? Homophobia? Islamophobia? Sexual harassment? Cruelty to children? Nepotism? Aggressive capitalism? Fascism? Plagarism? Reality TV? Pick one, pick any and tell me again why there’s no point in protesting. I don’t often get active in my activism but this time I felt I should. For all of the reasons above and more.
A weekday protest is a tricky one when you have a job and kids in school and stuff but I got round it by putting the kids into afterschool club and going down to the protests after work at 2. That gave me a solid 90 minutes or so and I was determined to use it wisely.
I’d seen on Facebook that the Commoners Choir were looking for extra singers to bolster their numbers and you know me, any excuse to sing. They were meeting at Regents Park tube at 2 but I got there a full half hour later than that, so totally missed them there. And there didn’t appear to be any kind of protest either. A few protesters, sure, wandering in various directions but no massed crowds.
I took a punt and turned down Great Portland Street. Still nothing. So I took a right towards Portland Place, hoping to find a friend even if if I didn’t find the choir. And I did find a friend! A WAM choir friend. So unexpected and lovely in the midst of the crowds. Because yes, I’d finally found the protest as well.
Reassuringly, it was huge. Stretching down all the way to Oxford Circus and (I was guessing) beyond with people queued up Portland Place towards the park. I’d started to worry that no one was gonna turn up.
Then I found the Commoners! For those of you who don’t know they’re a politically charged choir from Leeds, who sing about injustice, ignorance, prejudice and fascism. The perfect fit for a protest against someone like Trump. There was a little maneuvering to do before we were in a good position to sing, away from the loud music and brass bands, but once we were on Oxford Street we marched and sang “Citizens of the World” and “Get on Your Bus and Go Back Home”. Obviously I didn’t know the songs but they were pretty easy to pick up as we went along. I can only apologise to the proper choirsters if I was singing something completely different to what I was meant to be but hey, it was pretty noisy so I’m not sure anyone could hear all the detail.
I hadn’t taken the kids because I was worried that the atmosphere would turn ugly, especially in the light of England crashing out of the World Cup. But actually it would have been fine – the vibe was sunny and polite. Maybe we’ve taken the example of Gareth Southgate to heart as a nation and have decided to tackle tricky issues with a good spirit. All kinds of people were there – from kids in slings to older protesters, like camel lady here:
I couldn’t work out what it meant so I asked her and it was a representation of Donald Trump’s hair. You see – now it all makes sense. There were signs about Trump’s foreign policy, his harassment of women and the simple but eloquent “Trump Means Fart”.
So welcome to the UK Donald! Maybe next time you’ll be brave enough to come out and see us all.