Last month hundreds or thousands or a million people "marched" against climate change. I'm sure climate change is quaking in its boots and will stop changing the climate forthwith. To be fairer they marched for their "leaders" to take "effective" action to stop climate change. I'm sure the leaders were duly impressed and have taken note.

I attended this "march" in Bristol, which I think was pretty typically of all the other more or less simultaneous marches around the world. 350, Avaaz, 38degrees, and all the other inside-the machine "environmental" organisations hailed it as the "biggest climate march ever" which "made history".

Sorry to piss on your parade - it absolutely did not make history. At best it will be a footnote to history if the good guys do eventually win. More likely it made the middle class feel slightly better about having "done something" about climate change before returning to another unsustainable week of planetary overload. The overall effect will probably be negative in climate terms as those who are most aware of the problem and the need for immediate effective action spend another three or four weeks sitting on their arses thinking they have done their bit and waiting for the great and the not-so-good to respond.

3000 people in Bristol walked through the centre of town on the road following a route agreed beforehand with the authorities to minimise any disruption to the normal flow of traffic and shoppers in the Cabot Centre. It was a nice sunny day and the nice middle class lefty people had a nice walk. It was all very nice. Lots of nice people walking together. Lovely. And then...?

The usual number of people went shopping in the town centre buying stuff they didn't really need made from resources that can't be replaced by exploited workers in parts of the world that the nice people fly to for the holiday of a lifetime because they work hard and deserve it.

The same weekend in Brittany some farmers who are annoyed about something their government is doing burnt down a tax office and occupied and trashed an insurance office. Guess which protest is more likely to get a result.

Clues as to how effective your protest is:

  • If there are almost no police in evidence, and those that are are all wearing their standard kit with numbers and ids then your protest is probably not threatening anyone and can be safely discounted as ineffectual.
  • If there are police around being smiley and chatty while in a side street there is the odd van with some bored reinforcements with riot gear and a Police CCTV van is recording the show then you are still ineffectual, but useful as a training exercise and for database consolidation. So you achieved something, although probably not what you intended.
  • If there are many full police vans in the holding area, and a helicopter is periodically circling and some of the photographers around look a bit harder than your average photojournalist then you are at least getting noticed. You've poked the beast and it has opened an eye to freeze you with its cold gaze.

If you really want to be effective and make your protest point forcefully then you need to take a lesson from the French farmers.

Those who felt at all good about spending a sunny afternoon afternoon with a load like minded people and felt that they achieved something worthwhile please note.

If you are angry about inaction on climate change by the beast then you need to express it, not by shuffling through the shopping centre whilst around you the sheeple consumers continue their Sunday grazing.

Change will happen only when the dispossessed take back what has been stolen from them by all the nice people.

Next weekend (18th Oct 2014) will be another walk, this time organised by the TUC to "protest" about government cuts. The nice people will walk together on a pre-agreed route through London and at the end have an opportunity to listen to some speechifying from their leaders who claim to be opposing the actions of the nice people's other leaders.

Personally I'd rather watch a parking meeter.