29 December 2006


I've just been on the Reclaim the Night march in Ipswich, and it was a shambolic but good-natured event. A couple of hundred people (I guess), turned up to the town hall steps at 7pm, mainly local trade unionists, feminists and lefties – including a few from the Labour Party, among them the MP, Chris Mole – along with a good showing of feminists from outside the area.

Some time around 7.30pm, there was a speech from a woman from the trades council (whose name I forget) and then another from a representative of the English Collective of Prostitutes (who forgot one girl's name) and after that – and offers of soup to fortify us for the walk – we set off through the town, led, rather incongruously, by a banner declaring "BIRMINGHAM WOMEN FIGHT BACK".

Ignored except by one passing motorist who honked in approval, we made it, mostly along the pavements, to Handford Road, where there was a rather moving laying of flowers in the rec behind the football ground close to where the murdered girls were last seen.

"We don't need protection! We need revolution!" piped up a contingent behind us as we made our way back – and at that point I left. Not because I thought Molotov-throwing radical feminists were about to create a scary confrontation with the forces of patriarchy that could scorch my balls, but we were close to the curry house and I was hungry. What happened next (apart from my eating a curry with a couple of like-minded friends) I can only guess.

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