|The Early Days of a Better Nation|
Thursday, November 20, 2003
A word of thanks to George Bush
Yesterday evening's demonstration in Edinburgh wasn't huge - a couple of thousand [correction: about 4 500, according to the Edinburgh Evening News] - but it was as broad as the demonstrations in Edinburgh before and during the 'major combat operations'. Far more than the hard core and the usual suspects - the left and the peace movement - were present, and the typical face on the demo was young. Two young people for whom I have a particular regard were there on their first demonstration as adults, and they saw quite a lot of their friends and acquaintances there too. I guess we have George Bush to thank for reviving the movement.
As well as, of course, the hard-working activists of the hard core, who have kept it going through the months when many people have dropped away temporarily. I saw one almost cracking up with exhaustion, after having organised three buses - departing last night - for today's demonstration in London, and discovering as she set up the stall for the Edinburgh Stop the War Coalition that the stall's wares (200 'Stop Bush' buttons, specially ordered) weren't there. The left-wing comedian Mark Steel has often had amusing things to say about how badly organised our lot often are, but it isn't so funny when you see a good strong woman looking as if she could cry.
Scottish writers present included me, Charlie Stross, Iain Banks, and Ron Butlin. Some stalwarts of Scottish fandom helped with stewarding.
Rosie Kane MSP has definitely recovered her voice. A staunch supporter of the rights of asylum-seekers, she suggested that Bush should be dished out the kind of treatment asylum-seekers typically get.
The award for best placard goes to 'FUCK B*SH'.