The UK Freedom Convoy
This was always going to be the revolution of the working class, minorities and the poor, those who were genuinely struck by COVID measures. After Australian builders had their moment a couple of months ago, now the revolution is adopting a trucker’s face. Farmers are out there as well. It started in Canada, and the movement quickly spread across the globe. This weekend the UK Convoy hit the road to London. There weren’t many trucks, though. Tino, one of the drivers, told me that, unlike Canada, where lorry drivers have their trucks, UK truckers only use the company’s trucks, and they can’t use them for private purposes. So there were other vehicles in the convoy which kicked off from Edinburgh. The cars were joining along the way, in Newcastle, Manchester, Leeds and other cities of the North of England. At the same time, drivers from Wales were heading to London as well, just as those from south England. The pinnacle of the movement was on Sunday when they all linked on the M25, the road that encircles London, from where they sent the message.
Those who still had some energy left came to central London on Monday morning.
“It was amazing,” Fin told me, sitting in the trunk of his old, red Peugeot with a dog in his lap.
Fin is a traveller, which is another word for British gipsies. He drove from Wales. He grew up on the road, travelling around Europe. Convoys are part of his identity. However, at one point, convoys got illegal in the UK, which strongly influenced a travellers community. The punishment for ignoring the law was cruel — police would stop the convoy, drag people out of the cars and beat them, one by one.
“That stays with you,” Fin said after describing the ordeal experience with a tear in his eye. “That’s why I was more than delighted when I saw this convoy taking place. It felt so right!”
For travellers, it was always difficult to be part of society, to get their rights in place. The state was never their friend. They can’t even sleep in the woods. The Commons Act allowed private owners to buy common land, so travellers needed to go from woods to cities.
For unvaccinated travellers, it is harder than ever. Their rights are gone! Completely! With the new bill that is the government actively working on, which would give more power to police and diminish protesters rights, even protesting is becoming difficult.
“We just want to be heard!” Fin said. “My community has always been there to protest for minorities.”
Unlike the UK and especially England, where the situation with COVID, measures, the state and the media is getting relaxed recently, in Canada, where the trucker’s movement started, the situation is reaching the climax. The city of Ottawa has declared a state of emergency in response to truckers’ protests, while protesters are being identified as far-right extremists by the state and the media. This is where it gets awkward.
The thing is, the war can hardly happen between vaxxers and anti-vaxxers, but once the matter becomes about far-right and whatever is on the other side, that is where the war environment starts igniting. That is where politicians take over. As the narrative changes, the identification with any of the two sides is becoming less and less about COVID, and it is becoming more and more political, sociological, and especially economical.
What really makes me curious is how the Canadian gipsies feel when they are identified with far-right extremists.