Saturday’s Free Tommy Robinson rally in Whitehall in London was another heavily attended get-together. The speakers weren’t as bombastic, flamboyant, or as well-known as speakers from previous events, but you can’t have the same people all of the time. People have busy diaries and schedules, and it’s a good thing that the organizers are bringing in such a wide variety of speakers from across Europe, Australia and the States, all of whom have different messages and point of views to put across. The day passed peacefully. The mood was hopeful, jubilant and merry. The weather was glorious, and families had brought their children along to enjoy the day. It was the perfect day for the mainstream media to capture a whole host of wonderful images, and to show the world that Tommy supporters are simply everyday people and not a bunch of thugs. But it’s no surprise that they didn’t do this.
When the festivities came to a close, the crowd departed along Whitehall, making their way to Trafalgar Square and beyond. At the end of the last rally, a bunch of drunken idiots chose to sit on the road and block the traffic, in spite of several requests from other attendees who insisted that they leave the area peacefully. And, of course, these were the only images that made the front pages of the newspapers, along with headlines that screamed something about “far-right violence.” The same thing happened again on Saturday, even although the speakers and compere pleaded with everyone to leave the area without a fuss, which the majority of people did. At the top of Whitehall, at Trafalgar Square, there is a roundabout, and at this roundabout some handful of demonstrators, again, chose to stand or lie on the road and block the oncoming traffic. This time, the same as last time, it happened to be a bus at the front of the traffic they were attempting to stop.
The driver of the bus was a Muslima in a headscarf, although it should be noted that the bus wasn’t targeted because a Muslima was at the wheel. The last time this happened, the driver was a middle-aged white man. On both occasions, it was the bus that was targeted and not the driver. The focus was on blocking the road and bringing the traffic to a halt. Anti-Trump supporters had shut down central London the day before, and earlier on Saturday afternoon the police refused to allow pro-Trump supporters to gather outside of the US Embassy to show their support for the President. Also, it should be noted that on both occasions, both bus drivers could do nothing more than stay in their seats and wait for the police to disperse the crowd in order that their buses could continue on their way.
The last time this happened, when the white middle-aged bus driver was at the wheel, the newspapers focused on the disruption by the “far-right” drunken mob. This time, the reporters ran with the headline that a Muslima in a headscarf demonstrated to the world everything that is great about Britain. She, like the other white bus driver, sat calmly, sometimes smiling, and always waiting for police direction. She, unlike the white bus driver, is now being touted as the face of everything that makes Britain great – tolerance, patience, a sense of humour, the ability to laugh in the face of a perceived threat by “nazis,” courage and the refusal to leave her station (even although she and her passengers were never in any danger, and there was never any reason as to why she or the other bus driver should have abandoned their vehicles).
So again, the people of the UK are being treated to incredibly misleading news from the biased media, as well as being relegated to second place behind Muslims. It is remiss of the media to make much of this Muslima’s behaviour when it was simply an exact replica of the middle-aged white man’s behaviour, the man who was at the wheel of the last bus that got stopped by protesters. On both occasions, police surrounded the vehicle and the passengers and driver were never in any danger. It is misleading headlines and biased news stories such as this one that are making British people feel like second-class citizens in their own country, suggesting that we’ve forgotten what it is that makes us one of the greatest countries in the world. Courage, humor, tolerance, and patience are human attributes that are not exclusively the domain of people in headscarves.