I am a political commentator who up until yesterday has not protested in person about the ludicrous lockdown restrictions, but has certainly written a great deal of commentary on it. On Saturday, though, I felt, enough is enough, time for me to show support in person rather than with my pen! It was time to get on the streets and do my bit. I was aware that previous protests against lockdowns had steadily grown in number and felt that this rally would be even better attended. That turned out to be a very correct prediction.
I arrived early at Trafalgar Square so was able to secure a position near to the front where the speakers were. There were plenty of media in attendance, all struggling for space. As the thousands started to arrive for the event, there were so many people there, it was tight standing room only, and from my commanding height I could view the probably 20,000 to 30,000 thousand people who were in attendance.
I am someone who was instinctively been concerned about rushing into lockdown back in March and who has been concerned about the chaotic manner in which the covid-19 crisis has been handled since then. It was thus an uplifting experience to see such a true cross section of British society amongst the extensive crowd I was part of. It was indeed inspiring to join with others in this protest. It is said that it is only when their backs are against the wall does the British fighting spirit come out, and this seemed just such an occasion.
As I have attended numerous party political conferences and political meetings over the past few years, I have become used to giving my own judgement as to the quality of their organisation and the speakers themselves. I did not have huge expectations about this rally, except that it would be a rallying call for people to turn up and show they were doing their bit.
This was the main value of the rally, to demonstrate to ourselves and to the wider British public, that there are a growing number of us who simply do not consent to the how we are being treated by the government’s restrictions in respect of the covid-19 crisis. “We do not consent” was in fact a most apt name for the rally as it embodies the thoughts of many of the public, who feel the many and varied restrictions brought in, have been done so without the people’s consent. Also, there are many who are fed up with the narrative of fear which some government advisors and indeed many of those in the government have been promoting. Another slogan used at the rally, “we are the 99%” echoes the fact that it is well over this figure who are not at risk from any serious covid-19 health risk, and that this needs to be recognised.
My verdict after attending this Rally is that I can only see such protests becoming larger and more spread across the country at large. The message of the rally, that “we are the majority” up against the minority (meaning the vested interests minority, who stand to make a great deal of money out this crisis), certainly hit home.
To an extent it did not matter that there were some speakers who spoke for too long or who went off message into their own pet hobby horses which are separate issues to the covid-19 lockdown, the point is that we were all there as one. One placard stated “United we stand,” which was so true. People were not there largely because of some of the speakers such as Piers Corbyn and David Icke. They were there for a cause. The cause being to end lockdown and for life to return to normal.
Not much different to the EU referendum, when people of differing political persuasions took one side or the other. The same with the covid-19 crisis, the nation is moving in the direction of people deciding which side they are on. People are also furious that there is no real opposition to what the government has been doing. The official opposition have actually been egging the government on to be even worse, and this has been noticed. It is perceived that no one is standing up for the people. This has now been recognised at last and a growing number of Conservative MPs backed by some in other parties, are now insisting there must be proper accountability, transparency, and democratic decision making. Nigel Farage has now been threatening to set up a new political party to oppose lockdown. This is because of the pressures put upon him, and also because he knows when there is a political opportunity to exploit. Now Lawrence Fox has been given 5 million in funding to set up a new anti-lockdown return to British values party called Reclaim.
Personally, I cannot see the pro-lockdown zealots winning in this evolving battle of two sides. Even though they have had much of the government-supporting media on their side. Eventually the arguments of truth will prevail, and more and more people will realise that the government has grossly misled them and let them down terribly. It is noticeable that the media, too, are getting tired of the government’s ramshackle methods of dealing with covid-19, none of which seem to work. Both the Mail on Sunday and the Mail have featured articles putting the case for dispensing with lockdown, and these articles, especially by eminent people such as former Supreme Court Judge, Lord Sumption, are compelling. Another article looking at the facts showed how much better non-lockdown Sweden has performed against lockdown UK. These all add to the reasons as to why so many people attended Saturday’s rally.
There were certainly some excellent speakers, who stuck to the point, were brief and had good soundbites. There was also, an anti-lockdown song, which the thousands assembled joined in on to sing with gusto. To everyone it was heartening.
I don’t think we minded that it was a little course and rude, it was like a pub song, and so many of them are like that. We need more of these protest songs because they add to the sense of camaraderie and togetherness and boost morale tremendously. Almost like a Second World War song, sang when the chips when done, but there was still hope.
[Stay tuned tomorrow for Part II.]