There's only one way that I want to target the Queen

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Anarchists, according to some of the papers, are set to "target the Queen". The Royals have been looking for ways to modernise themselves, so if they get the same treatment as the statue of Churchill, and come away covered in graffiti and with Mohican haircuts, it might do them the world of good.

There is also, supposedly, a protest planned against the Queen Mother. Now, you have to hand it to the anarchists, they don't bow to the pressures of pandering to Middle England. Imagine a Millbank spin doctor announcing during a brainstorming session "the way to capture the floating voter in Worcester is to deface the statue of Churchill and picket the Queen Mother".

Maybe their next protest should demand that every parish council be run by a supporter of Robert Mugabe. Or that Ballykissangel be taken over by an Islamic fundamentalist asylum-seeker.

The most obvious television potential comes with the guerrilla gardening tactic deployed in Parliament Square. Next time they should get it done by Alan Titchmarsh and Charlie Dimmock. Alan could fret into the camera that half of Parliament Square still hadn't been dug up, and there was only 20 minutes before the riot police were due.

Then they could sit at the edge of Downing Street, sweaty and exhausted, until Cherie spluttered "he's back, he's back". And as Tony walked into the road, the team and their band of helpers in red bandannas could say: "What do you think? We didn't quite finish chiselling off the top of the cenotaph, but apart from that we hope you like it."

But I can't help feeling cheated. Where is the evidence to back up the implication that the Queen is the "target" of a "new threat"? There is plenty of talk about how the anarchists keep in touch via the internet, as if this is evidence of their sinister ways.

But the only clue that such a plot exists was the website of a group called "Movement Against the Monarchy", apparently calling for a "2,000-strong demonstration outside Buckingham Palace on 3 June". It reminds me of the time I was contacted by a police chief, who told me he was banning a local demonstration against the Poll Tax. The reason, he said, was "we have heard that anarchists are planning to come to the demonstration and burn down Croydon".

Two things immediately fascinated me. First, did they mean the whole borough of Croydon, or were they moderate anarchists who would be satisfied with only torching the pedestrian precinct?

Also, did he really believe that anarchists intent on the greatest case of arson since the bombing of Dresden would be put off by a ban from Croydon police?

As if the members of an anarchist cell would say, "I think we should call it off. After all, if we burn down Croydon we'll be in enough trouble as it is. So let's not make it worse by getting a fine for attending a march without police permission."

To satisfy their hatred of protest, some in the press have to match their eccentric predictions of future demonstrations with dodgy accounts of those that have happened. So the violence is deemed to be all one way. But every independent account of the May Day violence, even the report on Radio 4's Today programme, disputed this. To anyone who hasn't seen the police attack innocent people, such behaviour seems implausible. PC Plod, Officer Dibble and the ones who come into school to talk about road safety and not taking sweets from strangers would never do a thing like that.

To people who've never seen the police walloping bystanders, suggesting such a thing is like telling them that the person who's been carrying out the local burglaries is their mum. And even if you do believe it's possible, seeing it for the first time still seems unbelievable. Police violence is one of those things you never really understand until you've experienced it, like having your first curry.

So I decided not to believe the press hysteria, especially as the details of the anarchist plot to target the Queen can be found on the website of Movement Against the Monarchy. The demo on 3 June will be called "moon against the monarchy", in which 2,000 republicans are to be assembled to bare their backsides outside Buckingham Palace, and "make this an anus horribilis for the Windsors".

Is that the same as "targeting the Queen"? Do the tabloids have headlines saying "rugby players to target motorists along the M1"? Maybe this is how it started in Paris in 1789. One minute Robespierre had his breeches round his ankles, the next, the Committee of Public Safety was going berserk with a guillotine.

Or perhaps it wouldn't be quite as terrifying to say "Revealed: Sinister plot by anarchists to terrify Queen with line of nihilist arses". When you read that, you'll know it's the truth.

Comments