Sat 5th March
Those days are gone. I am now travelling with life’s other failures. I doubt if you would ever see a cabinet minister on a bus. You rarely see a white middle class man, although round here you rarely see a white man.
The 207 from Southall to Shepherds Bush is packed with urban peasants from Eastern Europe, Polish and Russian girls in bright make up, with tight pony-tails, sprayed on jeans and killer heels, Somalis and British West Indians, some of whom are now veiled in complete niqab along with the residents from
We are packed in like cattle, or at least like cattle where there is no animal welfare legislation. The crowding is not helped by women putting their babies, small children and bags of shopping on to the seats next to them. I still live in an age where children smartly dressed in uniform stood up for adults so I am reduced to scowling; one of those women who sits on buses disapproving.
I do not enjoy these trips, in fact I hate them but they are often interesting. On the way from Maggie’s Centre at
“You could just throw a grenade into the chamber,” said one. “Or just roll it in.” They talked a bit about this. One glanced at me and quickened their step, and I quickened mine.
“Do you know where the place is?” said the other. He said he didn’t. “But I could find it,” he said unconvincingly and I felt slightly relieved, pretty certain that he was never going to buy a map.
Yesterday on the late bus I listened to a mixed race lad who has converted to Islam giving advice to another young man who was hidden behind a long curling black beard. He sounded nice, an easy charm, obviously generous hearted as he eagerly advised the other how to progress as an English Muslim.
“You must try to get into a
How odd to prepare for a life in
This journey into and out of fanaticism is on my mind as I am about to interview young Tommy Robinson, street fighting leader of the English Defence League, for the Salisbury Review. Also because of reading “Alone in
There is a lot of talk about a chapter that was repressed, kept back by the East German authorities. They hated any shades of grey, ironic as it was such a grey place. When I used to visit the DDR I was surprised to find a whole half nation which had expunged itself of any guilt about the war.
Later I discovered Thalmann had voted with the Nazis in the Reichstag, giving them block votes, rather than side with any democratic parties of the centre-left. Another fanatic heart.
I used to go shopping on a dreary street in Katowice,
*One advantage of poverty pointed out by Stuart Elliott, my anatomy teacher at