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Wednesday 21 September 2011

March for a Secular Europe: Hmm

Rain was forecast but held off until later in the day, as a disparate collection of individuals and organisations gathered together for last Saturday’s ‘March for a Secular Europe’ near London’s Embankment. The title of the march was rather ambitious, particularly when considering that the protesters numbered no more than some 250 to 300 people. It was a peaceful and somewhat sedate affair, but the whistles of the self-declared LGBT contingent were an irritant, and placards demanding such things as ‘equal reproductive rights for lesbians’ struck me as out of place and not something with which I wished to be associated. Indeed, judging by a considerable number of such slogans, the protest appeared to have been hijacked by the militant homosexual lobby for concerns highly tangential to secularism. 

Most of the other banners and placards, irritatingly, seemed to concentrate on the rather soft and largely irrelevant target of Catholicism, rather than the obviously dangerous and alien ‘religion of peace’ [sic]. Nonetheless, Maryam Namazie did turn up at the final destination opposite Downing Street to deliver a speech in which she attacked Sharia, but then sought to excoriate unspecified ‘racists’ (evidently the unjustly stigmatised EDL and SIOE singled out for attack in her recent ill-researched ‘Enemies Not Allies’ report) and to embroil us in a global struggle against political Islam. That is her wont, naturally. It is as much of a characteristic of Namazie as her apparent aversion to exercise, clearly demonstrated by her taking a rickshaw between Trafalgar Square and Red Lion Square at a One Law for All protest a couple of years back, whilst everyone else marched the very modest distance between the two locations. I didn’t see her on Saturday’s march, so take it that whilst the other protesters were taking a leisurely stroll along the Embankment and up Parliament Street, she was probably busying herself with eating pies or whatever their Iranian equivalent may be. 

As for the other speakers, they were far from inspiring. This wasn’t helped by an inadequate PA system which rendered them largely inaudible, and the lack of any clearly defined objectives on the part of the protest. Never have I witnessed such a high proportion of a crowd (if this rapidly diminishing knot of people could be dignified with such an appellation) flake off during the keynote speeches. Peter Tatchell turned up to say something, but I can’t remember what. I’ve a feeling that he wasn’t talking about secularism per se however.

When did I leave? A long time before the end. Was it worth it? I can think of other rather more productive and enjoyable things that I could be doing on a Saturday. Would I go on another such march? Probably not. It was too unfocused and seemed to have degenerated into a pseudo-LGBT outing (pardon the pun), which is not something I’d wish to be involved in. Rather like train spotting, I’d rather leave ‘LGBT’ issues to those for whom they are a hobby. I’m not interested in either. Still, at least a number of people were afforded some hilarity by the sight of the self-styled transgender, lesbian biker witch, which was possessed of long greasy greying hair and a bald patch. Rather stomach-churning really. At least it wasn’t asking for ‘reproductive rights’. That said, I can imagine it giving birth to many fleas from its unkempt and greasy hatchery.


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