I was told last night of a recent demonstration by a far-right party in Athens. It was the most sinister thing my friend had ever seen. It wasn’t large, perhaps a hundred or so men, all dressed in black, and it wasn’t noisy: indeed, it was silent, except for the clanging of the noisy equipment carried by the police escort – rather larger than the demonstration itself. And then we heard of this idea: what if, for every few yards these men advance, you donate, say, £5 to a good cause? So that their progress disseminates a little good – to the homeless, say, or to ill-treated donkeys – so that they are unwittingly contributing to the good of things, doing something to negate the evil prejudice of their intentions? Perhaps (I think to myself, as so often these days), this is no time for liberalism: fight venomous fire with a different kind of conflagration. “make sweet the bitter …’.

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