Sunday, 5 April 2009

Is This The Handcart Going To Hell?

Last night I had completely delicious Thai dinner in the No.1 Cafe with two friends: one a city lawyer, the other, a teacher who had been part of the G20 march on April 1st. She threatened to go ‘capitalist on his sorry ass’ and they really tried to have an argument, but it was pitiful to watch, because they just get on too damn well.
The teacher told us he only realised that he had been ‘kettled’ outside the Bank Of England when he decided he had had enough & wanted to go off for a bite of lunch. Only when he got to the edge of the crowd did he see  that the normal bobbies had been magically replaced by tight ring of riot police. 
Trapped and hungry, the teacher  
wandered into a Leon’s cafĂ© that had bravely stayed open, although the manager was regretting the move. His corporate lunchtime trade had evaporated & the anti-capitalists had no time for Moroccan meatballs or lemon & ginger quenchers.  
I scanned the news footage for the teacher, but it may well have been the moment he abandoned the struggle for the sake of his stomach - although was nice to see Shirley Williams talking to reporters, saying that compared to 1968, there was a much gentler class of rioter these days.  The Filth weren't taking any chances however. 
One reason for their hardline approach was the incendiary announcements made by voice-of- the-militants, 66 year old Professor Chris Knight.  He threatened that 'thousands' would 'fan out across the city' and was quoted in the Guardian: 'inciting criminal action, specifically violence against policemen and women and damage to banking institutions'.  
Yes, women. Cunning to slip the ladies in there Prof.
It is easy to dismiss him out of hand as a barmy, bitter show-off, which is a shame, because his attempt to get big business to shut off their pointlessly blazing lights at night is pretty sensible. It is bizarre that businesses don't just do it. 
While some marchers were held for eight hours, famous faces were allowed out of the kettle spout. Billy Bragg was one.  I have a theory that the police were motivated by selfishness [rather than celeb-loving mercy], seeking to avoid an endless medley of his protest songs. 
It’s so upsetting - America has had Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Marvin Gaye & Gil Scott Heron and we have this dreary one-note droner who wouldn’t know a good tune if it baton charged him. The worst of it is that in some quarters, they are trying to pitch Bragg as a national treasure. The man is bric-a-brac. [see below. Bragg back row, 2nd right]
Prof Knight’s thousands failed to materialise.  Surely, this cannot have been due to lack of riotous will  - but might be down to them getting a little bit tired after a day on their feet & a little bit hungry, due to a failure to avail themselves of a Leon’s Moroccan Meatballs & ignoring Prof Knight's placard bearing the legend, ‘Eat The Bankers’. 

At our supper, food was not so much meatball, as a political football.  The lawyer absolutely insisted on paying, just so that she could have the pleasure of calling the teacher a fair-weather anarchist with his nose in the enemy's feedbag.  He was sanguine about this arrangement, although his conscience made him draw the line at drinking coca cola, pronouncing it a capitalist bevvy and ordering instead…bottled water.…
Meanwhile, Obama, Medvedev, Berlusconi & tippy toe Sarkozy etc search for – in the words of Gordo - a sub..stahntial global sol..ew..tion.  [Obviously, the leaders Angela Merkel & Cristina Kerchner are women, so they’ll be following their own agenda; bent on planetary destruction.]