Click. Click. Click. The marketing people must've been smiling last night as the Make Poverty History march in Edinburgh passed off with incident. In fact, it felt like the protest equivalent of decaffinated coffee. A crowd, a march route and some slogans - but nothing to keep the G8 leaders awake at night.
Ok, so maybe it wasn't meant for the hardened activist: the protest-a-week addict or direct action expert. And maybe that's not a bad thing, given that political change generally comes about through mass action rather than political specialists. But the boredom I sensed was more widespread. 'For the younger ones, its just the latest fashion: the wristbands, the music. Its T in the Park, its Glastonbury' according to one elderly Scottish lady I got chatting to. The official merchandise stall, the Coke can + kebab style catering (fair trade, let alone food sovereignty, all but forgotten...) certainly gave that impression. Others were less charitable: 'more of a village fate' said one. 'The Respect festival without the black people' said another (the demographic of the protestors was hardly representative). 'Make poverty history' said speaker after speaker. But, with the exceptions of Walden Bello, Bianca Jagger and Yash Tandon, I managed to hear very little about the causes of that poverty, the illegitimacy of the 'debt' or the G8 itself. In that sense, this was protest without the politics. An opportunity to question that raised few questions. And you don't need to be an activist to find that lacking. 'Capitalism is boring' read one sticker I saw left on an Edinburgh lamppost. Judging by this, I couldn't agree more. Oscar Reyes