Not long in from OH’s little stroll. I would have stayed longer, but the Snowolf doesn’t understand and needed a walk of her own.
I’ll not do a complete re-hash, but I will say that I was surprised with the reception we got from the phalanx of armed forces vets in the Westminster Arms and around Parliament itself, good men and women who seemed genuinely interested in what we were doing, why were doing it and as far as I witnessed, wishing us all the best.
Some people get very snotty about ‘The Walk’, and I don’t understand why. Is there a ‘look at me!’ aspect about it? Perhaps for some. Did we change anything? Not in the slightest. Did we make the 646 quake in their boots? No way.
When asked by a friend why I was doing this, my response was ‘Well, if I don’t, who will?’ Did it matter if I did it? No.
The same friends also display a certain nervousness, the expectation that I will get into trouble. Well, why would I? There is no law in this country about wearing a mask, or walking down the street, or doing both simultaneously. As disturbed as I am about the way things are going in this country; things haven’t got that bad yet. It is not an offence to go out sans ID, unlike some of our fellow EU members. Yet.
Doing what we did today, we were never going to get into any trouble. There isn’t any there to be had. I’ll let you into a little secret. What we did today was not daring in the slightest. It was not subversive, not radical, not anything.
From my perspective, OH’s line about it only being a walk is not some mechanism to get around protest laws in Westminster, it is a clear statement of fact. The way some people react when I tell them about it, you’d think that we were running the risk of being cast into some Cat. A prison somewhere, never to be seen again.
The sad thing is, this says more about the public’s perception of what is permissable, than it does about any laws Westminster and Brussels have passed. If they can suggest that doing this is likely to end badly, if they can insinuate that going for a walk and wearing a silly £5 plastic mask is some form of civil disobedience, then the gig is up. They don’t need to pass any laws, they don’t need to explain to the electorate why they’ve done it. We’ve done it for them.
It makes me very sad that people’s automatic reaction to the act of wearing fancy dress, walking down one of the busiest streets, in one of the world’s busiest cities, carrying nothing but a few quid in your pocket, could somehow result in ‘trouble’. As a result, they don’t do it.
I don’t think they should do it, it’s up to them. Most halfway sensible people wouldn’t even consider it. But isn’t it amazing that this equates to trouble? How conditioned we become to accepting authority over us, and fearful we are of questioning it.
So, that bring us back to the question put to me. Why did I do it?
Because I wanted to.
Because I could.
Because I was able to meet a group of likeminded people. Young and old, male and female. I was able to meet the two young Geordie girls who had spent what must have seemed like the last week on a bus down from Newcastle, just to do this. The residents of France and Switzerland, showing that whilst they may be ex-patria, they still think of home.
The main reason I did this was because it was fun.
Remember folks, the only real barriers in your way are the barriers you put in place yourself.