I’ve just about recovered from the May 1st march and standing for election as an English Democrats candidate for our local council on May 3rd. The march was on the Tuesday and the election, two days later. After all the work my wife and I had done for the march and the canvassing for the election, I just hit a wall. It was a massive downward spiral – and I couldn’t get off until it had hit rock bottom.
For the weeks leading up to the early May ‘Big Week’ we worked for England, spoke for England, argued for England, made banners and posters for England and hardly slept for England. By the time May 1st came round, I was a bloody wreck.
I only realised just how big a wreck I had become when I saw the photos of the event. I looked awful - a fat train crash of a man dressed in an ill-fitting dark suit and looking like shit, sort of summed it up really.
The day was great though – being amongst friends and like-minded people lifted my spirits no end. I finally met the legend that is Della as well as Gareth. I also met Scilla, Robin and Christine again – but never got round to saying hello to Iain Dale. My eldest Son and his friend, Jo’ made a surprise appearance. And I got to wander up Downing Street to help hand over the petition, which was nice.
Although we couldn’t march past parliament, courtesy of Raj enforcer Gorbals Mick, we certainly made ourselves heard. After the initial uncoordinated screams, we soon became a well-oiled chanting machine. And it was at this time that I discovered something I never knew - eat your heart out Pavoratti, for t’is Alfie who has the loudest voice in all Christendom.
We got loads of support from passers by and car drivers. Tourists stood staring, open-mouthed, not quite understanding what it was all about – how could they? The proposition of the cradle of modern democracy without a parliament of its own is too ludicrous to contemplate, let alone explain to a guy from Japan. The only hassle we got was from a couple of Irishmen, who, rather bizarrely told us to get back to our own f*****g country. They had barely got the expletive out when they were piled upon by the London Plod. The police were pretty good actually, a couple of them even whispered their support to me. Even the lads from the Spy-camera Division, busily taking pictures of us with their telephoto lenses seemed to be happy in their work.
The march wended its way through Whitehall, but not past parliament – and thus carefully avoided upsetting the sensibilities (or guilt?) of English Westminster MPs. The issue of not being able to get to even one English MP really rankled me. We’d sent out invites to every single one of our English representatives at Westminster, inviting them to come and support the march, the aims, the cause….
Not one of those lily-livered doormats even bothered to reply, let alone attend.
The march ended outside the Tate Gallery, we listened to some speeches and then gradually dispersed, everyone seemingly trying to make their way to the nearest pub, wherever that was. We decided to head towards parliament – during the march, we’d passed a pub with some St George’s flags hanging outside.
We reached the barriers just outside the main parliamentary gates. All of a sudden, a big, big chubby man of ruddy red complexion and what appeared to be two blood red Quavers stuck to the side of his head (where his ears should have been), barrelled towards us.
What a stroke of luck, it was non other than ex Home Sec’ and serial Brown-hater, Charlie ‘Plug’ Clarke. In an instant, my mate Ed strolled up to him, shook him by the hand (which meant he couldn’t go anywhere) and said "Tell me Mr Clarke, do you think we will get an English Parliament in my lifetime?"
Mr Clarke didn’t answer. Maybe it was too technical, too hard a question – or maybe he wasn’t listening. Ed held his hand long enough for Charlie to feel awkward and embarrassed – and then he let him go, back to his fat mundanity, back to carry on with the second longest sulk in history.
Blimey, it’s like waiting for buses here. Not half an hour previously, MPs representing English constituencies was a rare breed indeed – and then, all of a sudden, there are two of them. Michael Gove hove into view.
I recognised him right away. He looked like an ageing Harry Potter crossed with the ‘Mr Muscle’ stick-thin actor in the TV ads. Yup, I recognised him alright, I just couldn’t remember his surname – and neither could anyone else.
I shouted at the top of my voice, "There’s Michael …….. wassissname?"
Gove stopped hoving and looked straight at me. He looked like he was pleading with me to remember his name.
"Yes, it’s Michael, Michael Thingy…. Tory MP, a bit gobby, has a Home Counties seat – and is of course, Scottish"…
That was it, Ed started to move towards him.
Gove’s initial look of hurt because I couldn’t remember his name gave way to terror as Ed zeroed in on him.
In an instant, Gove had well and truly hoved out of view. We made the pub, had a drink, then wended our way home.
The next day, I was out canvassing again – trying to pick up the last few votes available from a bored and indifferent public. My wife and one of my Son’s were helping me to leaflet – it’s weary work, but someone has to do it. Just then, a big grey bloke came charging out of his front door – and he was waving my leaflet around.
He wasn’t happy. And what’s more, I recognised him. He was on the same design course as me over 30 years ago. He was a really aggressive student, always threatening to thump someone, he was crap at design and had the world’s worse B.O. condition. All the other students refused to go near him – and things came to a head when we all went to Wales for a sketching holiday. Everyone – and I mean everyone refused to share a room with him in the hostel.
We presented the tutors with an ultimatum – it was either him or us. His name was Gordon – he really was a moron – and he stunk to high heaven. He was eventually given the grand order of the boot by the college because he had absolutely no talent for design - and no one wanted to go near to tutor him, so he just sort of femented on his own..
Since being chucked out of college, he had apparently made a career as a sweet shop manager and mini cab driver. Time had not eased his troubled brow – but as he charged towards me, this red-faced contortion of Tasmanian Devilled glottal-spitting invective, I prayed that someone had whispered into his ear about his personal problem.
He called me a Jackass. He told me to shove the leaflet where the Sun don’t shine. He also said I was a Jackass at college.
"Yeah, but at least I’m a jackass who got a degree and didn’t get chucked out after only 6 months"….
That seemed to really irritate him.
So I tried to diffuse the situation, remain courteous – I was, after all representing the English Democrats, so I couldn’t chin him, even though he was sorely pushing me.
He carried on, in my face, on my nerves, up my nose.
I smiled, and asked him whether he was happy to continue to subsidise every other country in the union rather than receive those services for him and his family, I asked him if he believed in an English parliament?
Just like Charles Clarke, he blanked the question, instead threatened me and stumped back into his semi. I wiped his spit from my face and vowed that the next time I meet Gordon the moron, I would not be on English Democrats duty, but in my other persona as Alfie the Terminator.
By the way, I got 10% of the vote, but I don’t think Gordon voted for me.