The Home Secretary, Theresa May was today questioned in the House of Commons about the riots in London at the weekend.
In particular, she was asked to explain what further measures may be taken by the Metropolitan police in the event that similar events occur again.
Mrs May was quick to praise the police for their actions and stood proudly in the House of Commons as she told MPs that 149 people had already been charged as a result of the police action. The triumphalism in a voice was clear for all to hear and was reminiscent of the arrogance of Tony Blair when he told the Commons that he was proud about the number of people that were being lockup on a regular basis.
The Home Secretary and numerous Members of Parliament made the distinction between the peaceful protest by 500,000 people which culminated in Hyde Park with various political speeches and the acts of violence carried out by protesters against landmarks in London that are associated with wealth and the rich such as the Ritz Hotel.
At no point however did anybody in the House of Commons today mentioned the reasons for the violent protests so much in evidence at the weekend.
The talk was all about giving the police more powers and not one word was said about the fact that people are running out of money quickly, have no hope of employment and are therefore forced onto the street to protest as a last resort.
It says a lot about this government’s thinking too that half a million people can protest against the spending cuts and within hours hear the response that the government will not be changing its policy.
Indeed, it would have made no difference at all if there had been four times as many people marching through London at the weekend. This government would still not listen and would still not change its policies, let alone admit that it may have got things wrong.
TheOpinionSite.org must also point out that the Home Secretary is looking to use the riot act of 1868 to grant emergency powers to the police.
It is no coincidence that when the Act was introduced and last used in its original form, the poor and underprivileged members of society were at that time also fighting for survival in the same manner in which they are now. The riots so frightened the government of the time that ministers were quick to turn on those that they supposedly represented.
Listening to MPs today, their speeches and parliamentary rhetoric was frighteningly similar to that which issued forth from the mouths of Members of Parliament in the middle of the 19th century.
Those in government seem reluctant to understand that when ordinary people who cannot afford to put food on the table or purchase the basic necessities of life feel the need to protest, they are likely to spill onto the streets and often act out of character in what may seem to those in power as acts of criminal behavior.
This is what happens in other countries on a regular basis. It does not usually happen in Britain because people are too frightened of going to prison to protest in any way that might actually make a real difference.
This government like all governments encourages peaceful, democratic protest as it knows full well that such peaceful protest can be ignored easily and with political impunity. As soon as people begin to protest in any way that forces the government to take real notice of them, they are automatically branded as criminals.
In other words the government is saying to all of us, “You can protest as much as you like as long as you do it in a way that enables us to ignore you.”
In this time of economic austerity, the Metropolitan Police will now spend tens of thousands of pounds examining videotapes, news footage and photographic stills in order to catch what is probably a handful of people responsible for the worst violence of the weekend. Those people can then be held up as an example in an attempt to frighten the rest of us into submission.
That is exactly what happened to over-excited students who took part in the student riots in London a month or so ago. As it has done today, the government refused to back down on that occasion and as a result universities have been allowed to treble the annual fees that they charge. Now, there is nothing that anyone can do about it.
As pompous and arrogant Members of Parliament across the House came together today as one to condemn the protesters who took action at the weekend, the degree of ignorance and stupidity illustrated in the speeches of our political representatives was almost unbelievable.
In fact, they demonstrated that they are so stupid they actually believe that by threatening the public with more and more police powers that will put an end to any direct action against the government’s policies.
They fail to understand that the more you turn against the general population, the more citizens will fight back. Furthermore, whilst violence should not be condoned it is nevertheless almost inevitable if the government insists on ignoring the will of the people.
TheOpinionSite.org believes it is now very clear that this government, like its predecessor refuses point blank to learn the lessons that history teaches us. That lesson is very simple to understand if one has a mind to do so and that lesson is that if you try to suppress the British public, they will eventually fight you with everything that they have, even to the point of willingly going to prison if that is what it takes.
If the government thinks that things are bad now, it has a lot of learning still to do.
Just as people revolted against Margaret Thatcher’s Poll Tax, so they are likely to revolt against the government’s current actions.
It is not that people deny the need for economic cuts that is the problem. Rather, it is the government’s determined and resolutely stubborn refusal to listen that is the cause of the problem along with its belief that people in Britain today are prepared to be pushed around in the way that they were 150 years ago.
Clearly, this coalition government still has a great deal of learning to do and it needs to learn quickly before things get much, much worse.