George Galloway, the famously dodgy politician much beloved by the useful idiot element in modern society, wrote a Guardian leader article in which he claimed that 2 million people attended the Stop The War march in February 2003. It appears that in the years since the original march in London, the
figures have been inflated considerably. At the time, there was the usual dispute over the numbers with the police estimating in hundreds of thousands and the organisers closer to the million mark. Since then, the claimed numbers on the march have increased to the current total of 2 million. It appears that every time the march is mentioned, the population of a decent-sized market town is added.
It’s my opinion that very few people have any concept of what a million people actually looks like, although anyone who’s been to India’s Kumbha Mela or the Hajj probably has a good idea. But consider this rough sum: if two million people (or 1 in 30 of the UK’s population) marched past Galloway
on his soapbox at Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park, and paused for 5 seconds to listen in groups of 20 at a time, it would have taken nearly 6 days (or 138.88 hours) for his claimed 2 million to pass him. I think
that even Galloway would have flagged a little.
Clearly he counts on the fact that most people haven’t the faintest idea of just how many a million is. It seems to have become shorthand for “many” – a mere 250,000 people just isn’t enough.