Just one of a number of piles of unused, unwanted placards left behind after the People’s Assembly Broken Britain march had departed from Portland Place

On Saturday 12th January, the People’s Assembly held their Broken Britain march. Broken? No shit Sherlock! Ostensibly, it was to protest about austerity but the main thrust of the march was to call for an immediate general election, with the aim of securing a victory for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour. The demand for an election was made in the face of the chaos that has engulfed a divided government and a fractious Parliament as the clock ticks down to Brexit on March 29th.

As Corbyn is playing his cards very close to his chest over what he would do in the unlikely event of forcing and then winning a general election, it’s hard to see what difference a Labour government would make to Brexit. Brussels has said that the withdrawal agreement is their final word on the Brexit process and it’s pretty much a case of take it or leave it. In the face of that, Labour’s assertion that they could go to Brussels to negotiate better terms of departure is deluded. Then again, Labour may decide to back a second referendum. How a Brussels pissed off with the antics of the UK over Brexit would react to the prospect of a second referendum is anyone’s guess.

So, bearing all of this in mind, it’s hardly surprising that the attendance for the Broken Britain march was abysmal. At a generous estimate, we reckon there were about 2,000 people on the march. Unsurprisingly, the vast mass of the British public increasingly fed up with the antics of all politicians were not enthused by the prospect of joining the left and marching through central London to demand a general election and were conspicuous by their absence. With a paltry 2,000 people attending, it looks as though much of the left wasn’t exactly excited by the prospect either.

Our train was rammed on the way in – with Hammers fans going to watch the match against Arsenal at the London Stadium. After leaving West Ham station, the train was empty. The Metropolitan line train round to Great Portland Street was sparsely populated. The streets from Great Portland Street down to the assembly point at All Souls church were eerily quiet. When we arrived, the Class War mob had already taken the steps of All Souls church and had festooned it with their banners – see their Facebook page for the photos. Aside from them, there were a small number of protesters and paper distributors starting to assemble, faced off by a massive scrum of photographers.

The remit we’d set ourselves was to shift as many Hecklers as possible and to assess the mood and tone of the march for future reference. Basically, it was distro and gathering intel which we duly got on with while round the corner, Class War were merrily haranguing the assembling protest. Distribution was slow because of the piss poor attendance. It only speeded up when the march started to move off and we were handing the papers to passing marchers at a reasonable rate but – that was over as soon as it started. That’s when we saw the only genuine working class yellow vests – the Westminster City cleaning team sweeping up piles of undistributed papers, placards and litter!

At that point, we concluded that we’d seen enough for the moment and went off in search of some grub. After our repast, as we were walking down to the tube at Embankment, we noticed a lot of flashing blue police lights down towards Trafalgar Square. We cautiously wandered down to investigate – after some digging around, it transpired that a small group of far right boneheads had taken it upon themselves to try and attack the People’s Assembly rally.

That kind of helped to sum it up for us. A small, rag tag group of far right (totally unrepresentative) pro-Brexiters attacking a small rally of the left while the rest of London shrugs its shoulders and just gets on with life. A population that’s growing increasingly sick of the pathetic posturing of the politicians who presume to rule over us turning their backs on any kind of political engagement. When it comes to describing the current state of politics, the phrase that springs to mind is this – ‘all that is solid melts into air’. Everything is in a state of flux and it’s difficult to predict how it will pan out.

A massive political vacuum has opened up. The question is – who’s going to fill that vacuum? There are no certainties any more. We’re in an unpredictable, challenging and volatile political and social situation. Which means there’s everything to play for but there’s also everything to lose. Interesting times lie ahead…