My stock reply to anyone attempting to stop me in the street and sell me something, give me a leaflet, ask for my signature or my bank details is to muster a big goofy smile and say “No thank you!” in my sweetest voice. This is a defense mechanism to some bad experiences with chuggers, in particular the two or three from Red Cross who ended up surrounding me and demanding to know a) why I was so completely unmoved by the plight of whoever it is they’re trying to help and b) why on Earth was I not keen to hand over my bank details in the middle of Oxford Street to a bunch of people I do not know and who were currently harassing me for my bank details.
As it happens, I don’t frequently give to charities and certainly never to those who can afford to employ people to harass me. I favour the policy employed by Demelza charity collectors which is NO bucket jangling, NO calling out, NO stopping people. If people want to give, they will give. Personally I prefer to give my time rather than my money so I have volunteered a few times in the past for Demelza who fund hospice care for children and Crisis who support homeless people. If I didn’t have to work Christmases and or New Year these days, I would definitely volunteer at another Crisis Open Christmas. It was an amazing opportunity to meet some people I would never normally cross paths with and to explode some myths about people who are homeless.
Imagine how stupid I felt a few days ago when, as I walked to the shops, someone waved a leaflet under my nose and I replied with my stock phrase of *goofy smile* and sickly sweet “No thank you!” before I’d even registered that he was asking me if I wanted to “unite against racism?” I cringed all the way to the shop and back and took a leaflet from another campaigner because of course I would like to unite against racism. Indeed, if my drunken memory serves me rightly, I have in fact joined Public Enemy in their pledge to “F*** racism.”
Here is the leaflet, which is actually from Unite Against Fascism but I think all types of bigotry go hand in hand:
According to this article, the protest march has been limited to Whitechapel Road from 11am to 4pm while the EDL has been limited to “between midday and 3pm on Queen Elizabeth Street, Tower Bridge Road, Tower Bridge Approach, The Minories and Aldgate High Street. It will be allowed a maximum of 30 minutes “static demonstration” in Aldgate.” I don’t know why they don’t just stick to generating electricity.
So, I totally would but…I’ll be at Bestival.
In other news. You know when you just get a really weird or uncomfortable feeling about something or someone but you can’t quite articulate what the problem really is? You know, the way we all felt about Jimmy Saville or Rolf Harris? Well, obviously it’s easy to say this now, but I always experienced a certain amount of unease about the protest organisation FEMEN, maybe in part because of this picture. My unease is irrelevant and eclipsed by the eloquent responses of such women as this, this, this and this.
As it turns out, however, my intuitive response was something to be trusted because OMG FEMEN is run by a misogynist.
Always trust that little voice. HereEndethTheLesson.