To Brighton for March for England's annual St George's Day Parade. In every town and city across the country something is happening this week to celebrate our Patron Saint, even if its only a pub barbeque, or a special offer on English beer. But not in Brighton. You see to the people of Brighton, as we were told last year, Brighton isn't England. So the MP Greenie Caroline Lucas, the council and the raggle taggle of UAF, lefties, greens, anti fascists and trade unionists who infest the town, to the annoyance of those who have lived there for generations, will countenance no celebration, no display of the cross of St George, and definitely no parade.
Last year was a appalling display of violence, hurling filth and missiles, broken bottles, bottles of urine, bags of excrement (horse, dog and human I believe) as well as the usual insults. The police and MfE agreed a different and shorter route, along the prom and back, with the anti St George mob to be contained along one pavement between the prom and the beach.
Posters urging the poplace to "Stop the March for England" were pasted across town. This year some people decided to correct the wording.
Making our way through town to observe the MfE muster point I was surprised at how many more police there were, and from how far afield. Knowing that the London Marathon was requiring a 40% increase in the number of Police Officers in the enhanced security following the jihad murders at and after the Boston marathon I was surprised to see vans from the Metropolitan and City of London Police forces. As well as the local Sussex Police we spotted vehicles and/or officers from Norfolk, Hampshire, Oxford, Kent, Cambridge, Thames Valley and mounted police from South Wales.
We knew that not every member of MfE and friends from other patriot groups were planning to march. Some had stayed overnight in nearby resorts so as to be on the streets of Brighton early.
The muster point for MfE was Madeira Drive by the Sea Life Centre (or as locals of longstanding still call it, The Aquarium) .
The lanes to the sea front past the Aquarium roundabout was all blocked by police cordons.
This is how MfE lined up - only English flags or White Dragons. And one Cornish flag, the black and white of St Piran representing the tin mines.
I earwig conversations at these events. "They are completely outnumbered. I think it's very wrong of the police to give them all this protection" They need protection because they are outnumbered you silly dozy bint, and the anti-fascists prefer the odds in their favour.
As MfE moved off I heard the man next to me shout "Get back to Essex". I find the snobbery against the county where I live very offensive but I bit my tongue; I had more important things to do than argue with a man in a Pandas against Racism T-shirt.
Later my daughter heard another woman, who she described as 'very posh' say that "Everyone from Essex needs to be shot"
I really do think that respect for diversity should extend to those of us who live north of the Thames and East of the Lea.
Essex girls against snobbery!
This is a group of police in riot gear, videoing as they went, seeing a group of Antifa off the sea front.
At the top of that road I later saw this, below. I was told that the anti-fascists had been paint bombing the police and certain local businesses. The broken glass was once a bottle of Jack Daniels and Corals the bookmakers is covered in black paint.
We went to have a look at the anti fascists. There was the usual collection of unions, Unite, NUT, the UAF, the wild, the whacky (and a lot of waccy baccy) and the woolley.
Antifa favour slimming black, with hood or hat and face covering.
Obviously the Green Party have diversified from re-cycling and biodegrading.
There were plenty of teachers from the NUT on hand to correct punctuation and use of capital letters later.
March for England moved off. I could not get any closer. Despite the months of police liasion not everybody was directed to the correct muster point on arrival. A plummy voice was heard to say, '. . . with their bloody St George Crosses, ugh! How utterly awful."
The anti fascists, hearing that their designated area to protest about a celebration of our national saint was to be adjacent to the beach had threatened to throw stones (Brighton is a shingle, not a nice sandy beach) They kept to their threat and the march was cut even shorter. Several people suffered gashed heads. This report from the Brighton Argus confirms the level of violence from the antifascists.
The spooky structure in the background is the remains of the second of Brighton's Piers, the West Pier, left to rot after fire damage.
We were on the beach when March for England returned.
The police brought people down from the Park and Ride car park by the football ground in buses which began to fill up after the speeches.
I got talking to a local woman who had attended the march last year, but due to the violence she had decided not to march this year. She said that her neighbours were disgusted at the behaviour of the Green Party in general and the MP Caroline Lucas in particular in telling lies about MfE and putting up posters containing those lies around the streets of their home. She and others who have lived in the town for generations are angry about the bad image the anti fascists give of Brighton. She tore down as many of the posters as she could.
She had spoken to some German tourists who found the constant shouts of "Nazis! Nazi scum off our streets" very distressing. In german to call someone a Nazi is the gravest of insults, used only in connection with genuine members of the Nazi party, historic or neo. The diversity of Brighton's visitors is not respected by the recent residents.
And she told me something else interesting. She said that none of the pubs dare hang a St Georges flag up. None of them celebrate St Georges day. "Look around town as you go about - you won't see a thing celebrating St George this week". I thought there must be one, somewhere - I just haven't noticed it yet. But when we started to look - she was right. I expect there were some on the outskirts, but in London and Essex every other pub will have a flag, or a special evening.
This pair had the words 'Legal Observer' scrawled on the backs of their jerkins in crayon. Who had legalised them and who they were working for I don't know. I don't believe that they had any colleagues in amongst March for England experiencing the violence directed against them - maybe you might like to live dangerously next year chaps?
As I said above, not everybody went on the march. Other groups roamed and interacted with the anti fascists.
Suffice to say that the antifascists are very brave when throwing missiles and screaming abuse from a distance, and in previous years at children. They are not so happy, even though numerically superior, when face to face with staunch men and women of their own size.
Tha's trouble in dem der hills - well after the parade when I know that many of MfE were on their way home. This was Church Street, where MfE experienced the worst violence last year. But this time not a St George flag in sight.
I do like to stroll along the prom, prom prom, where the brass band plays tidderly om, pom pom.
Oh I do like to be beside the seaside, beside the sea.
Photographs E Weatherwax and S Sto Helit April 2013