Boris Johnson in Orkney, is it safe?
Boris Johnson probably thought a visit to Orkney a safe option. We have an entrenched unionist MP and a 2 to 1 No vote in the 2014 referendum, but times have changed since then. The plan was to visit the Orkney Cheese factory in Hatston and Orkney Fishermen’s Society as well as the new ICIT, Robert Rendall building. These would all have big fridges and probably back doors if needed. As I said, it is a safe option.
Quick let’s get this organised.
We got wind that Boris was going to visit Orkney a couple of days before. Suddenly social media was alive with plans to mount a protest. By one means or another, we learned when and how he was arriving, where he was visiting and when he was leaving. Knowing the local geography we worked out the pinch points and arranged to meet there.
Being so remote PMs don’t usually honour us with a visit. So why, when it finally happened, did we have to get Boris Johnson in Orkney? Orkney welcomes thousands of tourists every year. Many people after a visit fall in love with the place and move here to live and work. They are all welcome whatever their race, religion or colour. But Boris???
The evening before and well into the night the plans evolved. More and more people joined in. This was essentially a Yes Orkney event but people were coming from SNP, Black Lives Matter and others who are fed up with Boris’s performance as Prime Minister. He has to be the most hated Prime Minister of all time. Even some from his own party are rebelling against him on many matters. Unfortunately, though, not enough to get rid of him!
The first roundabout.
The day dawned wet and misty though with only a little wind. We turned up early and there were people already gathering and were well spread out and all wearing masks. During the next wee while more arrived until about 60 or 70 distributed themselves around the grassy areas surrounding the Ayre Mills roundabout and along the road to the cheese factory, Boris’s first call.
So, we waited. He should be here by now. Police vehicles arrived, looked around and left. Had he taken a different route? Was he just late? Cars cheerfully tooting as they passed lifted our spirits as the rain tried to dampen them. Then the normal traffic cleared a bit. A groundswell of boos and jeers grew as a Jaguar and 2 black Range Rovers with heavily tinted windows race through the roundabout and shot up Hatston Brae.
This wasn’t what we were expecting. They should have gone along Grainshore Road to the cheese factory. Not to worry, the next chance was Stromness. So, we packed up our flags and the giant “Yes” covered in signatures of supporters including our own Nicola and headed over to Stromness.
The second roundabout
The rain had stopped when we reached Stromness. There was already a cheerful crowd of protestors around the roundabout near the primary school. Again they were socially distanced and masked. And again, we waited. He was still up at the Robert Rendal centre, the converted old primary school, And, they were running late. We waited, again. An official car drove through. We couldn’t see inside but we gave it a good boo anyway. Turned out it was just one of the support vehicles making sure we weren’t too scary.
Eventually, the police car came down and waited so we knew it was about to happen. Sure enough the little motorcade of tinted glass cars came sweeping through in a few seconds. Best make sure our elected(!) leader doesn’t have any contact with the plebs. We booed lustily anyway and it felt good.
Finstown and the burger van
We knew they had little option but to come through Finstown on their way back to the airport. So, our last stand was the car park in Finstown. This also had the advantage of Leigh’s burger van which serves local produce.
While we waited there was time for a quick TV interview of Robert Leslie. He explained exactly why we were protesting against Boris who is little better than Trump in his manner.
Finally we got to boo again as the clown’s calvacade swept through and we were done.
What did we learn?
- Boris hates and is terrified of the people he is supposed to lead. He will do anything to avoid contact with them.
- A protest is a great way to lift the spirits, even in the rain.
- You can get a good burger in the Finstown car park.
- Orkney is more prepared for an independent Scotland than ever before.
- Rapid toot-toot-tooting of a car horn means approval, there were many of these. Holding your hand on the horn while extending the middle digit of the other hand doesn’t, only one of these.
- Would I do it again? Yes, as often as it takes.