I AM not really one for protesting. I complain and moan quite bitterly after the event, but at the time, I keep my mouth shut, like the good Brit I am.
That is not strictly true. Recently I complained about a poached egg in a restaurant. The waiter actually looked surprised by my actions, almost as surprised as me.
But, in fairness, it was so undercooked it was more an unpleasant hangover cure than a breakfast. It looked as if the chef had broken the egg straight onto the plate without going to the trouble of putting it in some simmering water first.
The point is that even I have my limit, a red border of tolerance beyond which I cannot be pushed meekly. An ineptly poached egg is where I draw the line – that, and Donald Trump as the leader of the free world.
Which is how I found myself, entirely out of character, in the middle of one of the women’s rallies around the world protesting the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States of America.
At this juncture, I wish to clarify that I am not a woman, but I know a number of women and wished to support them.
I also know there are some readers who are saying: “Oh, for the love of Pete, get a grip, you bumbling idiot. So a democratic vote didn’t go your way. You lost, get over it, you Remoaner.”
And I have some sympathy with that point, specifically the bit where they called me a bumbling idiot, which is cruel, but not something I could fight in court.
But arguments are not settled with a vote, not even referendums. For example, we had a referendum in 1975 on whether we should stay in the Common Market. An overwhelming majority said yes. It did not stop opponents of being in the EEC/EU from banging on about it for 40 years until Easy Life Cameron decided to give us another referendum.
Opposition to a vote does not end after the vote is cast. If we had a vote tomorrow on whether we should all put our hands in the fire – and I would not bet against Team Hands-In-Fire winning these days, especially if they started talking about the “cold-handed metropolitan elite” with their “privileged unscarred fingers” – I would protest about it.
Moreover, I would protest right up to the point at which I had to put my hands in the fire, and probably after it, although my argument then would be along the lines of “Ooyah! Ooyah! Hot! Hot!”
Which takes me back to the rally. I am not a rally person. If I wanted to stand still in a crowd for an hour while somebody gives instructions over a megaphone, I would go on the London Underground at rush hour.
I am told that by rally standards it was a very well attended event. Obviously it was in no way as well attended as the rally supporting Jeremy Corbyn on the same spot a few months before, but that is because women’s rights are not as important.
But it felt good to be there, among people with many of whom I would disagree on several subjects, but on this speaking with one voice. All of us were saying that Donald Trump is a bad choice for President.
All of us were saying he is a climate change denying, bullying manchild who dismisses inconvenient facts as from the “lying media”, who talks about grabbing women by their genitalia, who hasn’t released his tax returns, who, while not necessarily racist himself, uses racism as a weapon, and who follows Piers Morgan on Twitter. And he has his finger on the nuclear button. And that was just one chant.
And if I do not protest about this man being the leader of the free world, then I am saying that I am fine with this. And I am not fine with this.
Normally, I would dismiss rallies as useless. I watched hundreds of rallies against Thatcher in the 80s.
But Trump is a man obsessed with numbers and personal popularity. He may well be the only leader in recent history who could be dislodged by rallies.
While I was just one person in a crowd, the fact remains I was in a crowd. And he can ignore one leaf on his driveway, but he can’t ignore a tonne of leaves.