Saturday, July 14, 2018

Bradford's anti-Trump demo: a soft fart on a warm evening

Yesterday, full of anger at the visit and unable to get to London, I googled local planned protests against Trump's visit. The nearest was shown as Bradford, 17.00 in Centenary Square. Duly fired up, I was there in good time. Sure enough, there was a stage, chairs set out, food stalls and security stewards on hand - they seemed friendly, if decidedly under-employed. Then it dawned, the Trump protest seemed to have been tagged on as an afterthought to Bradford's 3 day city centre festival. A Souzaphone and Sax marching combo opened proceedings, with Daft Punk at the head of their running list. By now the anti-Trumpers seemed to be arriving: a couple in Corbyn T-shirts and a bloke in a suit with a Palestinian flag. Then the trickle stopped and I realised the fire in my belly wasn't going to be kindled by fine oratory or a march through the city. Deflated but not defeated, I made my way to the Kashmir, a wonderful Bradford institution, where the fire in my belly was replaced by fire of a different kind, that which can only be supplied by fish pakora, followed by spinach and daal balti. My initial disappointment at the lack of radicalism in contemporary Bradford politics, in the birthplace of the Independent Labour Party, and also one-time parliamentary seat of the radical Liberal politician William Forster; and, yes, the place that also gave us Eric Pickles, but atoned for that by producing the definitive account of his predictable rise to power, was replaced by a feeling that this city - with all its faults and failings - is still a fine testament to common humanity and tolerance. As I finished my curry, the realisation struck me that Bradford struggles against Trump and all his kind stands for every single day. Long may it continue to do so.

Monday, July 09, 2018

The moorhen and the splash

I saw this moorhen swimmning in the river Coquet at Warkworth a couple of days ago. Nothing too exciting, rather sedate at first. But after the first press of the shutter, the bird decided to cool down a bit, and I managed to capture the moment with a second click of the button. Enjoy - the moorhen certainly did.