In this passionate piece Mary Riddell – she is worth quoting at length here:
The surprise has been the altruism of the protesters, and the size of the vacuum they fill. Blair’s natural supporters and opponents have registered their opposition, and seen it spurned. As they get more strident, he digs harder. The hole in democracy grows more cavernous by the day.
Yet the movement has taken off and its subscribers, on yesterday’s evidence, are not a reissued set of hoary peaceniks. These are organised people with clear aims. They want a peaceful solution for Iraq. If that is not forthcoming, Blair will be punished accordingly.
They may be wrong. He may be right. But in a war predicated on conviction and conscience, the hunches of the nation also count. As Martin Luther King said, countries should repent citizens’ evil deeds almost less than ‘the appalling silence of the good’. The unheard have spoken out.
I must admit I felt pride at the turnout to demonstrate yesterday, it has been so long since such demonstrations took place about anything – and I thought politics was dying.