On Whitehall during the last student climate strike – a thousand or two students full of life streaming North past Downing Street and the Cenotaph, all the monumental memorials to futile conflicts, beyond the Ministries and the overbearing equestrian statutes of long forgotten chiefs of the Imperial General Staff, chanting for their future – demonstrating in more ways than one that the old emperors have no clothes.
Alongside them – seemingly from a different universe – a few old men carrying Union Jacks, drifting in the opposite direction down to Parliament Square to call for a Brexit back to world in which all problems can be solved by closing the borders.
Three of them are also off duty football fans. One with a Chelsea shirt and matching smirk, loudly broadcasting his internal monologue with the self referential swagger of an invading army. No one likes it? He don’t care.
“Bunch of Corbyn supporters. He’s a wanker!” I look him in the eye and give him one of the old fashioned looks that my family has cultivated for generations and saves up for moments such as this.
He looks nonplussed for a moment. Looks back at me slightly astonished.
“Corbyn supporter?” (as if he’d never met a real one)
“Ye -ah” Holding his gaze and saying it as though we’re far more normal than he thinks we are.
Turns to one of his mates – still astonished. “Corbyn supporter!”
Both of them turn to look at me. I look back, smiling benignly. The second, equally astonished _ “Corbyn supporter?!”
“Yeah. Gives us hope.”
They are swallowed up – still looking puzzled – by the oncoming wave of tourists – who are doggedly seeking out the sights of our museum of a society (perhaps not realising that they have just walked past a living example of them).