I don't know about others, but taking time away from business to wander around London tends to lead to a busier following day, so you've probably read most of yesterday's happenings on OH's walk already.
A few who weren't there had something to say about it, too. Some thought it was pretty silly, others were more generous. All valid opinions, and in keeping with the mantra laid down to me during my educational years. That being - stress whichever point you wish, as long as you are able to back it up with proper argument and reasoning. For my part, I enjoyed the day (apart from the après-constitutional Sam Smith's beer which was even more objectionable than I recall it being 12 months ago - not to decry the pub itself, though, as they are exceptional hosts).
BUT ... as I had feared, although the day was useful as a getting together of like-minded people, the walk itself didn't have the same impact as last year.
The first walk had an element of catching the authorities 'on the hop' (which particularly surprised me at the time and, if truth be known, was probably exactly what we wanted for the 'coup' to work), however, the sight of a CCTV car already in place outside the meeting point at 11am in St Martins Lane indicated that this was expected and was to be 'controlled' from afar. Seeing a CCTV pole atop a noddy car, line of sight obscured with the arrival of a big white van, extending like some metal tortoise neck to continue filming two people smoking outside a pub, has to be experienced for its comedic effect. Perhaps my unshaven mug will be appearing on a spotter card at some point, or maybe they'll just change the date stamp to November 2010 and charge me with contravening next year's "Control Of Smoking Anywhere Except In A Metal Container Buried Close To Milton Keynes Act".
This year's departure was to attempt entry to the public gallery at the HoC. Successful in the end, but not before having item after item removed from our persons to such an extent that I was beginning to wonder if I would get to overlook the chamber wearing anything more than my Ben 10 underpants.
And all to watch a few average-minded individuals blather on about climate change, of all things, whilst lolling around on the historic benches like indolent teenagers. Feet up on the furniture of government (you get fined on the tube for that), tweeting on their Blackberry (no mobiles allowed for us), while Elliot Morley, fresh from his 'don't do it again, chap, it was awfully inconvenient' moment, poured forth rambling pseudo-crap, to be met with the same from Simon Hughes. It went something like this.
There was an ickle bit of noise from our contingent. You know, irreverential chat, a stifled giggle, the odd pig noise, that sort of thing. But nothing to really detract from their six fucking hour long verbal mutual masturbation session, although Ed Miliband did fire a contemptuous look our way at one point ... which was nice.
Before leaving to rejoin our day long police 'tail', I took one last look at the ceiling to balcony glass barrier placed between us and our representatives, bolted onto the walls of this ancient building, and thought, yet again, that they are taking the fucking piss here.
Arguably, Stone Henge was built on a hill on such a vast scale as to be marvelled at from below by the great unwashed. It was built as a symbol of authority and of might. A big sign saying 'Don't you fucking dare. I mean, really. Don't'.
And then there are the Houses of Parliament. Built so very long ago on mud that surrounding communities lived upon, to such a grand scale, that the same message was sent. And still is today. It is a structure that will instil pride in any Englishman (and, hopefully in this Union, to some extent by the Celts we have collected along the way), yet is being abused by these odious career fuckwits.
The glass screen, IIRC, was put in place following the incident where a few pro-hunting protestors threw purple powder from the gallery onto Bliar below. The reaction from these guys wasn't to think that they may be pissing people off with their tinkering on matters which, let's face it, don't really get to the heart of the real problems in our country but merely peel away another liberty. No, their response was to desecrate a revered building by driving industrial rivets into the walls so that no-one could do it again.
These are little men and women, emboldened by the vast authority of the building they inhabit, and over-imbued with ego which was already brimming before they set foot in the place. Their already stunning arrogance bolstered by the comfort and safety of a long-established statement of authority, they pass law after law ripping away our liberties and ways of life with never a care for how their glib witterings and pronouncements are destroying the fabric of communities the length and breadth of the country.
They don't deserve the setting for their abhorrent proscriptive agenda. They warrant nothing more than a suffocatingly-packed ramshackle church hall and a few folding plastic chairs. Perhaps then they might think a bit more about the damaging consequences of their gobshitery instead of blithely signing away everything great about our country, crafted over centuries by statesmen, in the very same place that the current crop are systematically dismantling it.
Or, as the best comment I've seen today on this subject, from Dungeekin, puts it.
We are 'ruled' not with consent by honourable people, but by avaricious power-seekers who rule by fear.
We are told to fear Terrorism, because the fear of terror garners our tacit consent for legislation that removes our rights and liberties. Our soldiers, who volunteered to defend our nation, are dying in a foreign field not for our freedom or for the liberty of others, but to satisfy the need of Government to keep us scared of 'terror'.
That fear is used to enact the laws that make us guilty until proven innocent, forced to prove our own identies, restricted in our right to protest.
We are told to fear infection. Swine 'flu, Bird flu, SARS, whatever the latest potential pandemic might be. Fear of infection reduces human contact and interaction. We are in fear for our health, the Government instructing us on our salt content, our fat consumption, our exercise levels.
We are taught to fear injury, under the auspices of 'Health and Safety'. No risk, no pleasure, no life, in the terror that our actions may bring our life to an early end.
Our own children are taught to fear. They are taught that paedophiles lurk in every corner, that they cannot trust their parents. They are taught what to eat. Taught everything, in fact, than how to think for themselves.
I think for myself. I am a dying breed. This is why I walked yesterday and, although that in itself is not going to make a massive difference, if it inspires others to question the authority of these pompous, myopic, self-aggrandising penny-pinchers and righteous hectors, then it was time well spent.
And if not, at least I can be happy in myself that I did something, instead of just shrugging shoulders and whinging, as millions do since these bastards declared war on their own citizens.