Before 2016, I had never been on a protest. I had been a bit dubious about their value and I still feel that, back then, they achieved very little. The Brexit vote however changed the environment in which we were living. Having lived through a number of decades of liberalisation and growing tolerance of and acceptance of diversity, after 23rd June, I felt the movement was starting to go into reverse. In July last year, I went on my first rally, Newcastle's Gay Pride Parade. It wasn't a protest. Far from it. It was a celebration of diversity.
In September, not only was I at the pro-Europe rally in Newcastle, I was one of the speakers. This was a demonstration in support of an issue. It was not a protest.
And then came the election of Trump. And the values on which the western democratic world have been built for decades took their most serious battering since January 1933.
Now is not the time to assume that liberal tolerance, strength in diversity and freedom are safe. They aren't. They are under threat. Now is the time to make a stand and make sure the voice of liberal democracy is heard. So I will be on the protests when Trump comes to Britain on his state visit. Since size concerns him, the more people on the protest, the better.