“Blackness is a religion”, a girl screamed as hard as her lungs would allow. The surrounding crowd erupted, “Black Lives Matter! Black Lives Matter!” . So deep and meaty was the war-cry that the resurrection of Leonidas and his mighty three hundred was all but confirmed. Except, the citizenry attending this Black Lives Matter protest didn’t look all like the Spartans.
Amongst a deluge of corrugated cardboard signs – scripted with the usual ‘Boris and Trump are racist’, ‘Silence is complicity’ and ‘Check your privilege’ – there were a diverse set of attendees. Youths and the middle-aged mingled alike. Shell suits came side-by-side with tweed. Louis Vuitton handbags featured beside polyester. Budget blue facemasks met the more edgy black ‘3-layered’ facemasks. Except for one overwhelming trait, ninety-nine percent of the people were white.
What happened to George Floyd was disgraceful. One would estimate the resulting protests mirrored the profound sense of anguish anyone would feel watching the footage. That was not the case this afternoon. During muddled speeches, people chatted away, stopped to say hello to their friends and typed away on their phones. Only when the speaker incoherently blurted into the microphone did participants cease and dutifully roar, “Black Lives Matter”. This occurred every five minutes.
On the outer fringes of the protest lurked menacing all black-attired Antifa types, sporting bandanas instead of facemasks. Some occasionally navigated their way through the crowd – with I thought the haunting eyes of anarchists – searching for dissenters. What would they do when they found them? Ironically enough, for the hour and a half I was there, black members of the congregation were the first to depart, while a white middle-aged, middle-class man shouting, “we must end white privilege” the rain drizzling on his shiny polished loafers was there until the end.
That brings to mind the truly tragic aspect of these latest protests. They are less a matter of Floyd’s death than an opportunity to propagate the woke agenda, about systematic racism, white privilege, the ‘whitewashing’ of history – the conspiratorial belief that British institutions seek to exclude minorities – it’s about Boris, Trump, and the patriarchy, tying an act of police brutality in a country thousands of miles away to a plethora of woes. Black on black crime however, not being racially motivated, is of no consequence.
Floyd’s death in America is to be an instrument for a complete upheaval of the system here in Britain. Yet the electorate, whom we have not heard from yet about these riots – rejected such views, in various forms, in three recent significant votes: Brexit, May’s election and Johnson’s huge win in December. Black Lives Matter will implode when the electorate realises the movement is not so much protesting British institutions, as we the British.