Conspicuous displays of moral vanity are everywhere. Just ask Zita Holbourne. She was one of the protesters who ambushed Nigel Farage and his family when they dropped by their local last Sunday for a meal.
Her group crashed the George and Dragon pub in Kent and included, in no particular order, anti-fracking poets, Lebanese dancers, a man in a banana suit, breast feeding mothers, a gay Welsh donkey and the bloke who superglued himself to Gordon Brown in 2008 as a protest against the expansion of Heathrow. Let’s hear it for Dan Glass! Or not. Depends.
Holbourne has a busy life as a selfless protester and multicultural diversity promoter (see above), keen to tackle any issue that affronts her well-developed progressive sensibilities. Like a politician having a quiet family lunch. That sort of thing.
Still, all that activity does have its rewards. It yielded Holbourne a National Diversity Award in 2012 in the category ‘Positive Role Model Award for Race’. The citation read:
“Zita is a working mother, artist, poet, PCS trade union representative and a founding member of Black Activists Rising against Cuts – a national campaign established to respond to the disproportionate impact of cuts on black workers, service users and deprived communities. Zita is a champion for equality and diversity and a committed human rights activist.
“She has 20 years experience specialising in this field and has been a member of the TUC race Relations Committee for 8 years. She also founded a black member structure in a predecessor union called ‘Ethnic Majority’ to bring black members together and fight under representation and discrimination.”
No mention there of a commitment to stopping politicians from lunching with their family. Maybe it’s a new interest.
What is more certain is that the National Diversity Award, that has proven such an empowering influence for Holbourne, has a stellar list of sponsors – many of them directly financed by you, the taxpayer.
There is the Guardian (but you knew that already, didn’t you) as well as Microsoft, Liverpool City Council, the Open University and the Army. There’s also the Financial Ombudsmen Service, Transport for London and Security Service MI5.
I am sure each and every one is proud of Zita Holbourne and her actions. If they are, they just might find a letter in the Guardian (them again) on Tuesday a bit more challenging.
Alan Deare, a reader in East Kent had this to say about the nature of the anti-Farage protest Holbourne led.
“They booked the George & Dragon under false pretences for larger numbers and purposes than it is suitable for, thereby ruining normal customers’ afternoon enjoyment.
“A large number of families use this pub and the Queen’s Head for a peaceful Sunday lunch and social gatherings. Young children with their parents (including the Farage children) were terrified by these events. Mr Farage remained calm during these so-called demonstrations and certainly had no minders, heavies or aides with him.
“Your correspondent omits the fact that the driver of the hired coach refused to transport the rabble back to Bromley, worried about their behaviour and no doubt his safety. Also, the article does not take into consideration the damage caused to the business and reputation of these well-run pubs. I’m not, of course, going to stop buying or reading the Guardian, but hope for a return to more balanced and objective reporting.”
Good luck with seeking more balanced reporting from the Guardian, but Deare makes a very good point. For a bunch of people seemingly committed to fighting intolerance they have a very low tolerance level for anyone who takes a position contrary to their own.
Farage called them scum. Hard to argue with that on the evidence – gay Welsh donkey and all.