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Troops on streets for Nottingham May Day (Working Class Heroine) | 05.05.2012 16:55

On Saturday 5th May, in a bizzare juxtaposition of trade unionism and militarism, the Trades Council-organised May Day parade and soldiers from 73 Engineer Regiment both marched through Nottingham city centre.

Around 5-600 people joined the May Day march which is about typical (although probably bigger then last year when some people may have taken advantage of the extended Royal Wedding bank holiday weekend).

This year the march formed up at the Forest Recreation Ground before marching down Mansfield Road into the Market Square - a route most local lefties could do with their eyes closed.

It had originally been intended that the rally would be held at Speaker's Corner, but with rain likely organisers decided to move it to the Congregational Hall on Castle Gate.

Here marchers were addresssed by assorted local trade unionists and - more controversially - Alan Meale MP who was heckled.

While the rally was taking place the 73 Engineer Regiment, joined by the Band of The Royal Engineersas well as 30 Officer Cadets from the East Midlands Universities Air Squadron, marched from St Mary's Church to the Market Square where they were lined up in a fenced off area.

Apparently the Regiment and the cadets were exercising their "freedom of the city".

Assorted dignatries including the Lord Mayor, the Sheriff and people who looked like senior officers, inspected the ranks, with the band ocasionally piping up, at one point playing 'Whiter Shade of Pale.'

Quite how these contemporaneous events would have worked out if the May Day rally had taken place at Speaker's Corner as intended isn't obvious to me. As it happens the EDL were not in evidence (presumably they're off endearing themselves to the people of Luton), but this is exactly the sort of event to which they are normally attracted (particularly given the proximity to a good selection of cheap pubs).

It was certainly noticeable that the military parade seemed to attract more people than its political counterpart, something we might want to reflect on. (Working Class Heroine)