Ah, our sensible centrists - a few twats lob eggs at a protest and it's the Texas Chainsaw Massacre all over again, but bomb a hospital and... well, it's all quite... complicated, isn't it?
Well, as is ever the case, racist UKIP candidates reflect badly upon UKIP, and EDL thugs are a problem for the British far-right, but whenever some prick somewhere is rude to a journalist, the entire left has to get down on its knees to apologise. Ever thus.
So collectively, we're doing that thing with the noisy denunciations and disassociations that we always do when prodded, as if there's a vague chance that mass disapproval might save us from being held up as if we were all a kind of revenant parade of blackshirts.
And I understand the denunciations, because this kind of aimless aggro is stupid, unpleasant and counterproductive. And had it not been for these egg-chucking fucks, the headlines tomorrow would've been all about the government's merciless dickishness and their intentional vandalism of the public services on which many of these people rely, right?
Oh, sure. Maybe on page 12 of the Guardian, they would've been.
No, the sad truth here is that solemn anti-government protests are too boring to attract any kind of serious attention. So what, a bunch of earnest kids and non-photogenic pensioners and civil servants disagree with the government? Who cares?
Protests just don't get any positive attention these days, and they haven't had much attention of any type for a long time, unless they're violent or rowdy, or are aimed at an already-despised public figure or nation. Still though, a few journalists getting hassled and spat at by a couple of crusties isn't so much an insignificant event, as it is actively immaterial.
I know this won't be a popular opinion, but let me lay this on you - the very best that any half-popular popular protest event from the left in the UK can expect, is to be ignored.
If it turns a bit nasty, all the reaction will be about the nastiness. Note that the actual severity of the nastiness doesn't matter at all - if 95% of today's idiots had stayed away, the remaining 5% would've been more than enough to justify exactly the same response.
Remember, it's not so long ago that protests used to end in real violence and actual injuries, not this boo-hoo-woe-is-us stuff. When I was a kid, these types of events regularly ended in full-scale riots and fist-fights, with mounted police and baton-charges, rather than a lot of whinging because some fucker with dreads called a reporter "Tory scum", or similar.
But even if a protest is as nice as a game of Pass-The-Parcel at a playgroup picnic, it'll just be ignored. Any mention of it that does reach the public will only be negative portrayals of the protesters themselves - if they're young, they're daft poseurs; if they're old, they're dinosaurs; if they're posh, they're self-indulgent; if they're not, they're loutish and thick.
If a protest is about an insane bloodcurdling war, then the war is not the issue - the real issue
is some fucking berk waving a Hezbollah flag. If it's about austerity, then
tsk tsk! We already had an election to decide which version of the Thatcherite
consensus would rule, thank you, and attempts by protestors to impose their will on
the government is fundamentally immoral, if not outright fascistic. Swish!
These responses are not about enlightening anyone. They're about circumscribing politically permissible ideas, a police action on the outer edge of acceptable mainstream thought. That's why nobody in this country who regularly writes political commentary along the lines of "Me and the government are very sensible, and everyone who disagrees with us is a lunatic" will ever go to bed hungry.
There's no way to win here folks, so just stop apologising. If a few idiots lob eggs at a Tory, then a simple Yes, fuck those guys will suffice.
And on the specific character of complaints today, which have mainly been journalists complaining that some of the protestors called them Tories... Again, fuck those guys, but this is probably a good point to assess why lots of young left-wing types believe that the press are instinctively lined up against them, if not actually in open collaboration with the government.
My experience of engaging with the press this last few years has mainly been one of being told that e.g. insane destructive wars that achieve nothing are very, very sensible indeed, and that being annoyed about such things is dangerously crazy.
Kids who are new to politics and even tangentially related to the Corbyn campaign have just spent three months watching every paper in the country indulge in a prolonged fit of gibbering hysterics, all of it aimed at portraying the new Labour leader as if he were a threat to the nation on par with Godzilla or the Black Death.
And when these kids open the paper tomorrow, they're not going to find much in the way of reportage about their aims in protesting the Tory Conference, but they're sure as hell going to find that they feature - as a pack of zoomers, extremists, jackbooted thugs and pantomime racists, or as a shower of preening Tarquins and Samanthas.
From this, they're only going to conclude that the press really are instinctively on David Cameron's side, and I have to say - even in my older, less excitable years - I can't really see how anyone would go about convincing them otherwise.