Today will see the TUC and students join in protests in London and Manchester. The TUC are protesting against public sector cuts and the students against increased tuition fees.
There have also been recent protests against government plans to scrap the Education Maintenance Allowance designed to keep 16 and 17 year olds at school (rather than add them to the unemployment statistics ).
Many visitors to TheOpinionSite.org will remember that a few years ago, a million people marched in protest at Tony Blair’s decision to go to war with Iraq and some of those protesters were seen again only last week as Blair appeared for the second time at the Iraq inquiry.
The fact that ties all these actions together is that none of the protests, marches, speeches or anything else make any difference whatsoever to the actions of the government. Cameron will push ahead in the same way as Blair did, in the firm belief that even if the decision to do so is wrong, it must not be seen to be wrong.
I’ve been around a long time now and the only protest I can remember that ever made a difference in Britain was over the Poll Tax introduced by Margaret Thatcher. There was such opposition in the country that her own ministers felt secure enough to plunge the knife into Thatcher and force her resignation.
On the streets, people were covered in blood, some after being mown down by mounted police who were just as arrogant then as they are now and who were much more concerned with being seen to ‘maintain law and order‘ than worrying about whether or not anyone died in the process of doing so.
After the last round of student protests, many of the participants got a visit from the police and were charged with public order offences. They now have criminal records and have screwed their chances of getting a meaningful job or in some cases even continuing at university. This pleases the government greatly as ministers can now use what happened to these protesters as a way of threatening others.
There were almost certainly undercover police in the crowd during that protest, masquerading as students and making sure that things turned violent. That way, public opinion would be turned against the protesters and allow the government to come out with all kinds of sanctimonious verbiage about ‘responsibility’ (which they did as soon as possible) , particularly in regard to the ‘attack’ on Prince Charles’ car – though why anyone should be surprised that he was attacked is a mystery to most ordinary people.
The point is that whilst the UK allows so called ‘peaceful’ protest, the sad fact is that peaceful protests achieve nothing. History demonstrates clearly that the British only ever succeed in changing government policy when they engage in actual protest and a few eyes are blackened, bruises sustained and politicians deeply embarrassed. That was true 500 years ago in Britain and it is still true today.
Successive administrations since the Poll Tax have been keen to introduce law after law making it more difficult for people to do anything other than march through the streets with police on either side of them, afraid to do or say anything meaningful for fear of being arrested.
In contrast, protests in other European states are actually much more effective, with the police not getting involve until the inevitable standoff at the end of the day when everyone is too tired to fight anyway.
Well, TheOpinionSite.org has a warning for the British, so called Coalition government . The students of today (unless they are from Oxford University) don’t give a damn about spraying Churchill’s statue with paint or climbing the Cenotaph. These false icons of British supremacy and pointless sacrifice are from a different era to that of the protesters who, unlike the government, are more concerned about the future rather than the past.
They don’t play by the rules of Eton or Rugby and they certainly – and after recent revelations, in our opinion rightly – regard every policeman with the utmost suspicion. You see, today’s protesters don’t care much for a police state either.
They care not for ‘peaceful’ demonstrations because they know full well that such exhibitions achieve little or nothing. Nor it seems do they care about the greatest love of all of traditional conservatism, the Royal Family; not if previous protests are an indication of sentiment.
If those marching today really want to make their point though, they’ll have to do a lot more than just walk through the street imitating a load of noisy, well managed sheep.
TheOpinionSite.org doubts that today’s ‘peaceful‘ marches will achieve much at all – and we believe that for very good reasons:
MPs are away in their constituencies, Cameron is elsewhere, Clegg doesn’t care anyway and most other people are either watching football or doing their shopping. TV coverage will be minimal unless something dramatic happens and, in the end, the government won’t take any notice anyway.
In fact ironically, the only people likely to benefit are the already over-powerful and overpaid police – who get a fortune when asked to do a bit of overtime. All policemen involved in today’s actions should thank the protesters for their generosity and kindness.