Last Sunday, over 2000 people, set out on a march through London. They were marching against the rise in knife crime and to draw attention to it. Not that attention needs to be drawn in a sense – as we are very aware of the pervasive nature of violent crime thanks to news bulletins and newspapers.
Putting the cynicism aside for a moment, it was to draw attention to an alternative. The march was organised through Facebook. There were actually two parallel marches. One starting south of the river, in Kennington Park and the other, north of the river, in Caledonian Road. They met in the centre of the city.
According to the Guardian – people applauded the marchers as they passed in acknowledgement of the message that they sent.
I was pondering as I watched the news coverage, how much difference the march will make. Who will it affect? Will it actually make anyone who is considering whether to take a knife with them to go out on a Saturday night, stop doing so?
Possibly not. I suppose that isn’t the point of marches though. Occasionally they change opinions but often they are about raising awareness.
Awareness that knife crime is a bad thing? I think that generally that’s a given – note the applause that followed the crowd.
More, perhaps, that it is something that does not single out some sections of society to have an effect. Violence has long since existed on the streets. Is it complacency that tells me it will continue to exist in some form or another?
Are things worse now than they were and doesn’t every generation claim that and blame their children – or their children’s children?
Is it easy to romanticise our own youth? Times change, attitudes change without change there is no evolution and no progress.
People willing to march for a reason can’t be a bad thing though. It indicates a passion and a will for change that can be challenged. Grass-roots movements need to tap into the consciousness of society and can affect change, I believe. Maybe not today or tomorrow but a hope for the future at the least.
If a willingness to march over one issue leads on to a general willingness to march other other issues then perhaps there will be more effective direct democracy.