Saturday’s demonstration, to me, turned out exactly as I had predicted.
The police were out in numbers appropriate for a crowd of perhaps 5,000, but not the 20,000 that I estimated were actually there.
It was also very clear from the start that, far from being a well marshalled and therefore, predictable event, that there were no visible marshals controlling the crowds and so no way that serious trouble, if it were to break out, could be contained.
The police were primarily concerned with not allowing protestors to go through Admiralty Arch or onto the Mall through Horseguards- and rightly so. The Trooping of the Colour and the Queen’s birthday trump Tommy Robinson.
I was a long way back from the podium when the trouble erupted. I could not really hear the speeches but did catch Raheem Kassam try to calm the mob down. It was futile.
Raheem, bless him, is a good speaker and writer but has not got the street credentials to stop an out of control mob of drunken hooligans.
And there is the problem. A properly self- marshalled event would not allow drinking on the march- even Tommy Robinson himself bans that- but around Trafalgar Square / Whitehall nearly all the mob were carrying tins and bottles and a large majority were obviously drunk and out for trouble and therefore politically useless.
I did not see, live, any baton clashes between the riot police and the mob, (I only witnessed that on video) but I did see plenty of cans and bottles and 2×2 wood hurled at the police. I decided to leave as I could see the whole thing about to escalate.
That it did not escalate serves as a shot across the bows.
The Police were very restrained, mainly because they were hopelessly outnumbered, but next time- if the Met allows a next time- you can bet that the situation will be quite different. If 20,000 people turn out for Tommy Robinson, just how many will turn out for a demo about a failed Brexit?
It would make the poll tax riots look tame and the Government know it. There lies our power.
That’s why I fully support the role Gerard is trying to take regarding these protests. We must unite and be disciplined. Undisciplined drunk protestors, with very little political nous and lacking of fitness may be a nuisance and may cause criminal damage – but they are no match for disciplined riot police. They are also no good for UKIP. The Vets are not daft enough to run with the hooligans but have presence, they are good for UKIP. Perhaps Tommy Robinson is the only man who can turn the drunken hooligans into disciplined protesters – which is why he is in prison.
In the meantime, Gerard has pleaded for those who wish to fight the Establishment regarding Brexit, migration, and Islamification to do it under the legitimate aegis of UKIP. We already have AMW, Janice Atkinson, MBGA and Raheem sharing a platform, but they have proved incapable of controlling the mob. Luke Nash-Jones tells me that an alliance of the groupings is difficult due to the egos involved.
However, IF Gerard IS able to nail that particular jelly to the ceiling and IF Tommy Robinson himself can be tamed, but not castrated it WILL scare the living daylights out of the Establishment.
A disciplined army of 100,000 filling the Mall, silent and stone cold sober, with 5000 police safe in the knowledge that as long as they pick no fights, all will disperse according to a pre-organised plan can change everything.
I’ll leave you with this.