Protecting the Poppy – A job well done
A few words from Simon Darby. Still a bit tired but thought I'd put down a few words before I forget the detail. After all, what we did yesterday down in London was somewhat important. Somebody had to be on guard through the night, protecting the dignity of our servicemen, and I'm glad the honour fell to the British National Party.
Yesterday didn't start very well, though, with a puncture near to Rugby adding the best part of an hour onto my trip down to London. Thinking I had the easy answer, my hopes were dashed when the instant tyre repair compressor kit failed miserably.
Thankfully, arriving in north London, the day started to improve as the lovely Claudia thrust a large glass of red wine into my hand. With just a little time to recharge the flagging and inept power cells of my iPhone, I was soon off, heading towards the Royal Albert Hall by car, thankfully not by tube.
Arriving there, Adam Walker and Mark Walker had already established a Nationalist base camp just up from the RAH, pretty near the spot where the Muslim extremists had committed their foul and infamous stunt last year.
With plenty of through traffic on the junction of Kensington Road and Exhibition Road, we decided that this was where we would make our stand. The Metropolitan Police had, by this time, spoken to Adam and seemed to be quite relaxed about the whole arrangement. My only concern at the time was that people having been told to arrive at the RAH would not see where we were.
With this thought in mind, I walked down to the RAH on a couple of occasions to meet up with a few stragglers and shepherd them into position. On finding an unusually large number of police vehicles at the back of the building, I was told that this was due to a bomb scare. Police officers confirming this asked what our business was and were told exactly why we were there. Not seeming at all bothered by this, they were however somewhat surprised to learn that we were staying in place all night. "They are not coming now; they've been banned," said one officer, to which I replied, "They are not banned until midnight and what is stopping them from changing their name?"
So the scene was set, with thirty or so of us in position with our "Protect the Poppy" placards, determined to see it through the night and to make sure that no desecration of a precious part of our British history and culture occurred. Throughout the night, we were reinforced by sympathetic individuals who, although not being able to last the pace, at least provided us with a little company.
As for the police, they never questioned us at all, having been told exactly why we were there and that we would not be "playing up". I suppose they could have come down on us for setting up a couple of gas stoves, but they simply were not interested, preferring instead to just stand to the right of us and park a van to our left. That suited us fine, as a huge pot of piping hot soup kept us going throughout the night.
Carlos Cortiglia, the British National Party's London Mayoral candidate, was there, busy talking to his constituents, and London Regional Organiser Steve Squire cheered us all up with a big bag of takeaway food.
The only drawback was that the nearest toilet was at McDonald's on Brompton Road, the best part of a two-mile round trip. Thankfully, generations of alcohol abuse has enabled favourable genetic bladder enhancements, and I only needed to make the trip once. Whilst doing so, I passed the Victoria & Albert Museum, still complete with the damage to its walls from the Blitz, wondering what the people who endured this horror would think of what we were camped out to prevent just up the road.
Of course, there was the ubiquitous encounter with self-loathing white liberals, mainly of the young and brainwashed variety. I have to confess, since I was cold and missing my creature comforts, I showed them no mercy at all whilst highlighting their shortcomings rather cruelly. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if at least a couple of them had not subsequently thrown themselves into the Thames, having had their somewhat lofty opinions of themselves rather ruthlessly reappraised.
I did spend quite a lot of time talking to one black lad from Texas, but he didn't really have any problems with us. In fact, we had a couple of good laughs about US politics, and he will have gone home with a tale to tell about his encounter with the "far-right" BNP and how he shared tea, soup and bacon sandwiches with us all.
I'd set 4 a.m. as my psychological barrier to surpass, knowing as a fisherman that once you have gone through this threshold then the sun would soon be rising. As it happened, the constant levels of support from taxi drivers, bus drivers and sometimes the most unlikely sources lightened our load considerably. I even turned down a ration of rum offered by Nick, although that was more to do with seeing him burst into song with one of our Irish members!
The one thing I will say for London is that it is particularly good for looking at nice cars. Not that I am that boring that this is a hobby; it's just that at the time I didn't exactly have a great deal of choice. Ferrari, Aston, Bentley, Maserati, Lamborghini and countless Rollers contributed to what must have been a multi-million-pound display, with some of their lucky owners absolutely on our side.
Making it through the night with just thermal gloves and a woollen hat, our numbers started to swell. At just gone 6 a.m. I was absolutely delighted to see Paul Hickman and big Bernard from Birmingham. Almost obscured by him was "Little Dave", also from the second city and one of the best and most dedicated activists I have ever had the privilege to work with. It was great to see him again.
Towards the rush hour, the support from motorists was pretty much relentless as the tantalising odour of frying bacon began to drift from our makeshift stoves under the nostrils of our growing team. One chap in a car costing at least £200,000 (I'll not name it) gave us a V for victory sign, a big smile and shouted words of support that are a little too industrial to use here.
General Sir David Julian Richards, the Chief of the Defence Staff, drove alongside our banners and placards, certainly saw them, but was too composed to give anything away other than a wry smile. Soon after that, Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, came within a few feet in her escorted vehicle, but I was too busy fumbling for my camera to gauge her reaction.
As more people arrived, we had a presence on all four corners of the junction, meaning that nobody could effectively ignore our message. Other individuals and ex-servicemen were keen to support our reclamation of this little part of London, as our operation neared its end. At 11 a.m. we assembled at the exact same spot where the poppy-burning outrage had taken place last year and had our two minutes’ silence.
All of us felt good about what we had achieved, as it was a job that needed doing. For the same outrage to occur again would have been totally unacceptable. Despite being tired and cold, I was most pleased with myself that I was part of a group of people from all over Britain who decided to put a stop to the humiliation of our country and the revolting spectacle of the disrespecting of our war dead in the centre of OUR capital city.