Sunday, April 23, 2006
...was today, for those who didn't know, for those who knew and didn't care, or those who were getting drunk but not quite sure why.
Quite aside from the absurdity of a national day being marked by celebrating in the name of a patron saint who not only never set foot in England, but is also the Patron Saint of Aragon; Lithuania; Palestine; Portugal; Germany; Greece; Moscow; Istanbul; Genoa and Venice (bless the English - so little left to identify with that an identity has been formed out of lacking an identity, and they share their patron saint with many others), the day is traditionally marked by the far-right barging in and making a nuisance of themselves. Today was no exception.
Whilst the majority of people either didn't celebrate at all, or celebrated in a non-aggressive and peaceful manner, a fair few known BNP, NF and associated hangers-on decided to go into our area and cause some trouble, which partly involved whipping drunk patriots into a xenophobia-based frenzy. They then acted in shock and disbelief when half the division turned up to ensure they left the area without any trouble.
We were accused of "letting the immigrants come in and take over the country" (because apparently there's a direct correlation between closing a pub to prevent serious public disorder and the central government's immigration policies); "having nothing better to do" (we're on top of our rape and murder cases you see); "picking on us 'cos we're English and celebrating our national day" (see, even ethnic majorities complain of discrimination - the police have finally achieved diversity - we discriminate against everyone) and "in need of a life" (no argument there). Apparently, also, "you lot don't do this for them Asians during their Eid thing" (ignoring the fact that we normally have an increased presence whenever there's Eid). The people telling me this were the same ones doing Nazi salutes and offensive chants as young families were walking past.
An hour later, the pub had a far more friendly crowd inside. Meanwhile, the troublemakers had done the rounds of other venues and found themselves singularly refused entry, or soon kicked out if they did get in.
Makes me proud to be English, do those people.
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