Courage in the face of


I walked past several Greenpeace activists today. Gave them a double-thumbs up as they stood on the railings of the Bank of England with a banner proclaiming:

Greed Green is Good

They gave me a big grin back. I wondered how many people might be looking up at them today and how many might be smiling. I could imagine the corporate types treating them like schoolyard bullies: “If you react, it will only encourage them”.

I adore demonstrations. A few years ago I had a long conversation with Brian Haw outside the Houses of Parliament, not long before he was forced to scale back his operation. He spoke of his beliefs – many founded on Christian principles – and his reasons for being there. He also spoke of his family, his wife and children. I listened, nodded, expressed sympathy and eventually left him, glad that there was someone willing to be so brave, saddened that there weren’t more to support him, wondering if that would help and, of course, rebuking myself for not taking a stance.

There is a part of me that wonders what happens when they need to go to the toilet. The one-day boycott inspired by Rosa Parks in particular. I suppose such practicalities, off-stage in Joe Orton plays, seemingly irrelevant in the innovative real-time TV show 24, and strangely evoking more coyness than the ubiquitous references to sex we plague ourselves with, detract from the salient point.

Forgive me, my twice-daily train has no toilets onboard and I worry that one day we may break down.


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