The Cumbrian Spring

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Gavin and Claire are Brits who fall in love whilst working in Sydney, Claire makes costumes for TV, Gavin is a scenic artist. He overstays his visa and is deported. After a year trying to get back into Oz through official channels Gavin travels from the UK to Papua New Guinea and finds a gun runner in Daru who ferries him to Cape York. Claire picks him up in a 4x4 and they return to Sydney. After a few years they have fallen out of love with Australia, they decide to move back to the UK to set up a costumes/ props company with some old mates. Four years later they move from London to Cumbria to await the finalisation of a contract that will allow them to create an animation series for TV based on children's books published in Scotland. It soon becomes apparent that the publishers are having second thoughts. The deal falls apart. They meet a man called Matthew who leads a new political party based in Cumbria, called the Advance Britain Party (ABP) within months Matthew asks Gavin if he would like to stand as an MEP in the forthcoming elections. Gavin and Claire are photogenic and lucid. Although some ABP policies might be described as racially-based, the party appears to stand for the interests of the working classes and, considering an MEP earns approximately £70,000 per annum, Gavin accepts. Gavin is elected. After a couple of years Claire becomes pregnant.

Mystery / Romance
Age Rating:


Intimidation Year 12

They wore sunglasses and woollen hats, pulled down low. Their clothes were dark. They made their way through the Underground system quietly, on a mission. Every so often one of them would pull out a postcard-sized flyer from an inside breast pocket, spray the back of it with water from a small spritzer, then press it against a wall or the side of a train.

They were discreet.

In one Wednesday afternoon these eight activists had left their mark all over the Circle, Metropolitan, Central, Northern, District and Bakerloo lines. They had used two simple designs: one vilified Allah, the other, his Prophet, Mohammed.

By 7.00pm it was dark and they went to work on bus stops and shop windows in central London. At 10.30pm it was on the TV news and the activists were on their collective way, back up north. By the following morning the newspapers were condemning it. As an exercise in troublemaking it was both predictably, and horribly, effective. The Home Secretary made appropriate censorial and then conciliatory remarks in the House on Thursday afternoon.

After Friday prayers there were angry protests in Bradford, Rochdale, Finsbury Park, Leicester, Southall, Acton, Whitechapel and outside, just about, every sizeable Mosque throughout the United Kingdom.

No organisation or group took responsibility for the action. CCTV footage proved inconclusive due to the crowds and the discretion of the perpetrators. No political party or individual could deny that the flyers were insulting. Of course some people could not resist debating the depth of that insult and yet there was nobody, and nothing upon which a Fatwa could be declared. Revenge could not be served and so the temperature of intolerance relating to inter-racial mistrust rose yet another degree.

Unfortunately a small political party, renowned for its racist views, had organised a march that was scheduled to take place on the Saturday, 15 days after the angry Friday prayer protests. The Home Secretary could not bring herself to postpone this march. The small, racist, political party had distanced itself from the sentiments advanced by the anti-Islamic flyers and had absolutely denied any involvement in their distribution. They went on to talk of freedom of speech and the right to demonstrate peacefully and their march began at 1.00pm on a warm afternoon in June, near Vauxhall Bridge. Many anti-racists had gathered to protest against the march. Many groups of angry young, and some not-so-young, Muslim men had descended upon the city to make their feelings clear. The first clashes started before the march set off.

The first casualty was taken to hospital by ambulance at 1.40pm. The first fatality, a stabbing, took place at approximately 3.15pm, just off Whitehall, in a small street within spitting distance of the original Scotland Yard. By 6.00pm four people were dead, including two marchers, and more than forty were seriously injured with another eighty odd, including five Police officers, suffering ‘minor’ injuries.

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