|An asset, not a monkey for your back.|
We brolly-paraded for two reasons. Firstly out of a moral conviction best captured by Pete Postlethwaite in Brassed Off: 'If this lot were seals or whales you'd be up in arms but they're not are they? They're just ordinary, honest human beings and not one of them with an ounce of bloody hope left.'
Secondly, we suspected it might rain. It did.
I recently met a nice lady at the park who reminded me of Britain's historical commitment to sanctuary. We small-talked about children, crap weather and other bog standard things. Then she quietly told me that she was born in Prague and came to Britain at the age of seven via the Kindertransport rescue mission. This humanitarian movement saved thousands of continental Jewish children by resettling them in Britain just before the outbreak of the Second World War.
|Bridge over troubled water.|
No matter how much I read about such things, to actually meet someone who was part of it was a very moving experience. She wishes, she said, that she could have seen her parents through adult eyes.
The man who kicked off our umbrella march along the Thames captured the mood perfectly when he said: 'We are proud to be British. We are proud to protect refugees. We are proud to be refugees.'
I was reminded of the words of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Gogol Bordello: 'Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants.'
|One nation, united under a rain-cloud.|
Right now you can find posters up in the underground that helpfully point out that many British cultural staples - fish and chips, M&S, the Mini, the Milibands (delete as appropriate depending on your political and lifestyle leanings) - come from immigrant stock.
A very useful reminder to counter the constant printed downpour of negativity on the subject of immigration.
|The kingdom belongs to such as these.|
Show your support even if you're little - like my pair of short migrants, who slept through the event in spite of a very boisterous drum core. And be welcoming even if your fellow humans are a little different from you.
Consider it theoretical karma in case you ever have to rely on the kindness of strangers.
We are all foreigners, somewhere.
*You can find great photo coverage of the event here.
**Actually, what on earth is bunting?