The Curious Incident of the Dead Man at the Demo

October 12, 2010 by cosmoakacitizensmith

Summer is well and truly over. After lots of rootless hopping around the summer festivals with all its highs and lows, it’s good to back back in Cardiff on ground level.

The Tories are about to sink their teeth in. They’re taking away all our money – is it cos we’ve been spending it with such gusto??! Nope. The poor are cained for the balls-ups of the rich. I’ve given up being able to watch TV or read newspaper without thinking there must be some kind of piss take going on. Welcome to the 80s, round 2.

Last weekend I headed up to Norwich to play a benefit for the family of Ian Tomlinson. He was the guy, you may remember, who was killed by cops at the G20 protests last year. If you haven’t seen the footage, you ought to. It’s shocking.

(Some readers may remember I was up at the G20 protests when this happened, so I won’t repeat stuff here.)

This benefit gig was put together by Rick Dutton of the Norfolk Community Action Group. Big shout out to him and all the gang who helped, it was a blinder of a day, and raise nigh on a grand for the campaign. There was punk in the pub, and acoustic/poetry in the Something Else Marquee outside.

The family of Ian Tomlinson were there. It must have been a bizarre event for them. Ordinary folk, from the Isle of Dogs, whose relative was in the wrong place at the wrong time, just trying to find his way home. I don’t know if they’d ever met anarchists or political activists before all this business. His son was so funny when he spoke, but he was nervous too. He finished his speech by saying, “It’s really great to know we’ve got your support, I don’t really know what to say except…..well, if you ever need anything, gizza shout!”

A true East End boy.

There were speeches. One of the things that struck me was that in so many of these cases of police killing protesters, (I was reading about Blair Peach this morning), not one copper has EVER faced justice. Ian Bone from Class War pointed this out, wondering whether the family would ever see it, suggesting there may be other ways…. “If you want peace,” he intoned, “prepare for war.” His words were solemn and sombre, and hung in the air heavily after he spoke them.

I hope this doesn’t bring you all down folks, but these are just things I’ve been something I’ve been thinking about a lot since I got back.

Cardiff and the rest of the UK seems to be waking up to the Tory threat and similar ills, and I feel there may be a forceful activism stirring. Times may be getting troubled, but there are lots of lights in the darkness to show the way. Long may they shine.

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