Completely off topic but I need to have a moan about saturday's anti-Trident/anti-war demo. This was a great opportunity for a bit of retro demonstrating (anti-nuke? how 80s!) but any potential for fun was exstinguished by the 57 varieties of Trots taking part.
Me and two mates went on the march principally because we have a problem with Trident (although we all opposed the war too). But judging from the chants you would have assumed that this was an anti-war march that a few anti-nuke people had stumbled onto by accident. Maybe I've become too cynical but I found myself wincing at most of the slogans. This wasn't helped by the fact that nearest SWP morale officer (or whatever they are) was particularly rubbish, with his rendition of "war, what is it good for" being especially poor. I think march organisers need some kind of Simon Cowell type figure to exercise some chant quality control and prevent people like that having access to megaphones.
Most irritating person on the march award goes to the twassock from the WRP (I think) who was chanting "Victory to the Iraqi resistance". Yes this type of person does really exist, it's not just Nick Cohen's paranoia. Given that the 'resistance' in Iraq doesn't at all mind killing trade unionists, why was he marching with a Gate Gourmet banner?
And what about the turnout? As we were marching we were speculating that in terms of numbers the only thing you could be sure was that the police estimate would be too low and the SWP/Respect figure would be somewhere in the billions. We weren't wrong. The police said 10,000 and Respect said 100,000 (chuckle). My entirely unscientific estimate is that it must have been something like 30,000. This is based on the fact that it looked a bit more than the average turnout at Portman Road, which is usually in the low 20s (as in thousands....).
When we got to Trafalgar Square we headed to the Chandos for a couple of beers. When we came out a couple of hours later someone was still droning on about something. I suppose some people find it inspiring, for me it was a reminder of how bad lefty demos can be.