'cow sh*t in the country and bull sh*t in the city'.I got a very different perspective of the crowd from my 6 hour stint at the 'start' board of the Hyde Park March !
Glad nobody moved me on - my posters attached to my chair and my hand-written T-shirt (very tacky but quite clear) did get the odd question and a lot of people read them - however I got a very good view of the crowd, the posters and the mood - and I think quite a lot of the marchers got a view of me!.
Police and ambulance people were happy to chat about how easy it had been - obviously they had expected more aggro - but didnt have any - and very few 'shouts' for the ambulance men - obviously we healthy country folk didn't need them much!
My main interest looking back at the day was the unique opportunity I had to guage who was there and what their major interest was- after all I read most of those posters - most of them hundreds and hundreds of times!
.... many of the slogans on the handmade posters (even the very big ones) must have been copied from publications in the press - so most of the best and most amusing 'unique' posters were still copied out of someone else's writings - if, as I did, you read them 5 or 6 times on the day you would notice - those comparing TB and Mugabe were amusing as were the 'cow sh*t in the country and bull sh*t in the city'.
The farming posters were quite prevalent - just not quite so well designed as the others so they did not APPEAR to be quite such a large mass - and farmers are all pretty independent too! I liked the yellow FFA T-shirts - certainly stood out in the crowd.
My main impression with hindsight is that the proportion of supporters for different causes was something like:
Hunting - 20%, Shooting - 20% plus, Farmers and Agriculture - about 35%, minor causes (FMD, Kennel Club, Townies for Ag, anti-GMO's, supermarkets, rural post offices and businesses etc ) - perhaps 1-2%, other hunt type things - Beagles, Minkhounds, Waterfowlers, Angling - 5% no posters - about 18-20%
So all is not as it seemed! This is not a scientific analysis - just my old 'counting' mind getting an idea!
Interesting because the Hunting and Shooting were much the best organised (often with banners and posters from associations or magazines which are investing in their own continued existence by subsidising banners and posters) -
However, when driving home I stopped at Oxford Services (and so did all the coaches!) and virtually everyone in the very long queue for the loo was wearing FFA stickers - so perhaps they are all farmers OR FFA are good at getting their message out.
I think there were more people there for farming and agriculture and supporting the countryside per se - than any other individual group - and I think when I talked to people that many people were there for several reasons - as were we all! It was definitely a unique occasion - far more people than the jubilee or any other type of UK occasion I've ever seen. Also flags from many, many countries and people of every race and colour - a very inclusive event. I wish we'd had time and opportunity to meet up - but the quiet day gave me lots of 'thinking' time, and I was glad to be there Valerie