The Northern Line Tube train going into central London from Balham was packed with jolly middle-class people, all of them well (though casually) dressed. It was the day after the inauguration of Donald Trump and they were on their way to Green Park to join tens of thousands the world over in a huge exercise in virtue signalling.
These people wanted Planet Earth to know that they loathed Trump and all his works – his misogyny, his locker-room talk, his unbelievable dishonesty, and his nasty finger gestures. They reminded me rather of the cheerfully defiant mood among the anti-war marchers 15 years ago. As I swayed between the doors clutching the central pole, a young woman got up and offered me her seat, which I accepted. I knew better, though, than to say: “Thank you, my dear.”
I liked these people, even if I did not agree with their rigidly secular worldview. Many of them were members of the Sloane diaspora in south-west London, and some might even have been members of the dreaded liberal elite. They shop at Waitrose and Peter Jones, and their children go to prep schools and in the loveliest retro uniforms. It’s a bit like the 1950s. Best of all, though, is that these good people keep the property prices buoyant in my part of London.
When I reached Grosvenor Square (via Green Park) at about midday there were thousands of protesters in place. Some wore EU flags to indicate that Brexit was just as bad as Trump – as, of course, it is; and, indeed, worse, since we are not going to be given the opportunity in four years’ time to opt back into Europe.
There were quite a few children there, and husbands and boyfriends, and some excellent dogs. One or two of the dogs – I think especially of an absolutely beautiful working cocker – looked just a little bit apprehensive, the way dogs do when they are in a crowd and out of their comfort zone. A cocky little spoodle wore a wrap-around coat bearing the words “Bitches got Rights”.
The march was led by Pride in London, followed closely by Suffragettes against Trump. Many in the parade wore pink “pussy hats” and a few had pink hair. Some of the the placards were simple and to the point: “—— Trump”.
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