Monday, June 07, 2004

A political climate does exist

A lot of the time, whatever the press say about the "atmosphere" or the "political climate" might seem to be a myth restricted to a few twerps somewhere in London. Surely, this is just what politicians say about each other and what journos write about them. Yesterday, though, it was concrete.

Police helicopters clattered constantly along the Thames. What was up? There seemed no obvious sign of disorder, and then the reason swam up. The UKIP were out for a boat trip in a small flotilla of hired tourist boats and one fisherman, draped with UKIP banners and dressed overall in every flag they could find except, of course, that one. As the sun came out, long after the anti-European convoy had passed downriver (strangely, towards continental Europe), a loudhailer bus could be heard ranting about the British National Party. Another roared through minutes later, manned by a group of Sikhs furiously protesting about the anniversary of Operation Blue Star, the disastrous suppression of a Sikh rebellion by the Indian army in 1984. No-one seemed to be campaigning for anything but extremism and revenge.

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