I had a wonderful time in Manchester yesterday. The journey up from Euston was very pleasant, in fact I bumped into Lenin - of Tomb fame. See his site for a description of the journey up. When we got off the train I was talking to a woman whose company I was quite enjoying. She wasn't with a group there and she wasn't a member of a party. We got to Albert Square which is where the march started out. Lots and lots of people but plenty of time before the march was to kick off so we went for lunch. She was into homeopathy this woman. Very stylishly dressed and intelligent sounding. She thought that the pharmaceutical industry was conspiring against homeopathy. I asked why they didn't just adopt or co-opt it. She didn't know. We finished lunch and went back out to the crowds and the march began. A helicopter flew overhead and she said she thought that it sent electro-magnetic waves to alter the mood of the crowd to suit the powers that be. If they wanted to discredit us with a riot they could do it. If they wanted us in a good peaceful (if a tad angry) mood they could do that too. A few planes flew overhead leaving vapour trails which she said was another form of crowd control. Don't get me wrong she was very pleasant. I didn't question what she was saying. I just kind of smiled and nodded. Somewhere along the route she picked up a "Time to Go" placard and kept it til the end. We got to where the speakers were speaking.
I'm terrible at reporting speeches back but I remember George Galloway wishing the Jews a happy new year. Is that Judeocentric of me to remember that? Actually, that's not fair, I do remember some others. There was a guy from the British Medical Association or the Lancet or some such who denounced the war and the lies and the accusation that the Lancet had lied about the fatalities. There was a woman conveying Hizbullah's gratitude for the support from the UK (people that is). Brian Eno made one of his understated speeches. He really conveys the indignation of the not-so-ideologically committed. My new woman friend enjoyed and applauded it all and so did I. I had a wander for some tobacco at one point and bumped into a morris dancer I recognised from Broadstairs.
Anyway, the thing drew to a close and we headed back to the train. We had a bit of time so we popped into a pub. I phoned Lenin and asked him to save us a couple of seats. I told him that the woman I was with was a bit wacky but harmless and quite pleasant. We got to the train and walked the (what seemed like) two miles from the back end to about three carriages from the front. We sat down with Lenin. The train pulled away. She started to talk about how Bush and co had staged 9/11. She said it wasn't planes at all. I just nodded and giggled a bit. I still thought she was a bit wacky but harmless and still quite pleasant. Lenin confronted her on her theory about 9/11. Would you believe Lenin actually read all the conspiracy stuff on 9/11 and all the stuff that shows it's a lot of tosh? She insisted that the Americans are shortly going to declare a world government. Lenin countered that it wasn't in their interests to have a world government. I should point out here that I wasn't listening that intently. I had parked a load of lefty papers and magazines that I bought on the way up with Lenin and I wanted to read those or maybe have a kip. I should have mentioned that for fear of missing the train in the morning I stayed up all night the night before so I was quite knackered on the way home. Finally Lenin asked her why she thought that all these conspiracies were running things when what we know is bad enough and weird enough. Ok, I'm oversimplifying because he actually subjected her to quite a thorough (I thought at the time, playful) cross-examination. She said that it all goes back to a banking cartel that overthrew Napolean back in the day. Again Lenin pointed out by reference to sources she had quoted and to corrective sources that she was talking tosh. Anyway, she said she needed to go to the buffet car and asked if we wanted anything. I said I'd have water. Lenin passed. She went.
When she went Lenin said that all conspiracy theorists are antisemitic. Eh? What's this? Remember I wasn't participating but frankly I missed the significance of the banking cartel and Napolean. But she was nice. I would have steered her on to talking about homeopathy or holistic massages, I might have even got a holistic massage but Lenin's a purist. He had to cross-examine her until she got right down to her bottom line: it's the Jews wot dunnit, it's the Jews wot do it, and it's the Jews wot are always gonna do it. But she was so pleasant. He ruined it for me. She didn't come back. I even looked for her the length of the train. I couldn't find her. I thought Lenin had driven her to suicide. I was genuinely concerned. He wasn't, he was chuffed with himself. We chatted for a while and then I went to the buffet for tea. I saw her by accident and she told me that Lenin had really upset her by doubting her after all she had read.
I went back and sat down with Lenin again. We arrived in London earlier than planned. The Jews don't control the railways then. And do you know what Lenin did? After driving a stylish and articulate (if a bit nutty) woman away from me, he asked me if I had two quid. Can you believe that guy? Asking if I had two quid. Of course I had two quid, I'm part of a banking cartel!