Monday, 28 March 2011

Free to march or Free to riot

This weekend has seen another protest against the draconian cuts that we are all facing from the coalition government.  Once again despite the best intentions of the authorities the march failed to peter out, but again exploded into a running battle between the extremist wing of the protesters and the police.

During the second protest I watched transfixed to Sky and BBC 24 hour news, watching events unfold, buildings attacked, pop star children swinging on memorials and police snatch squads marauding and grabbing.  This weekend, I flicked occasionally.  Can it be so quickly with so many events around the world being brought to my living room (and sometimes bed) that I am very quickly anaesthetised to repeated events?  Has the Libyan war and the Japan natural disaster taken over from our very own troubles?  It is difficult to know.

What I do know is that the message that the march was trying to communicate is in danger of failing to be heard. A peaceful and some say joyous march seemed to be effective to deliver the message to the people of the country and the media had a story, but "the hangers on", those that are looking to change our society, have different ideas.  The cuts are not an issue for them, the cuts are a "god send" they provide the cover and the vehicle with which to communicate their message "ANARCHY IN THE UK".  The unfairness and divisiveness of the policies  of the ConDems are subjugated to the coverage of kettles and anger and hate and madness on our streets at night.

What is the answer?  I don't know!  Do we ban marches?  Take away our democratic rights to protest?  To be honest this is slowly being done anyway, as there are more and more restrictions on our right to protest.  Do we increase Police powers, which may only go to fuel further the aggression of the crowd - the police are no innocents in this?

I don't know the answer, I do know that there is an injustice being done in this country, where the poor are being attacked and the rich are being nurtured and the message is being muted.

I don't know the answer, but I do know that the message needs to be heard !!!!


  1. Kap

    I have a controversial thought on your last paragraph. I think the definition of rich needs to be more specifically defined, but there is a feeling in this country that the poor (or, to some, the lazy) are taking way too much from those that work, and that it is not fair.

    I’m defining the rich as those that work (in most cases very hard) to provide for their families. I’m not talking about the super rich, but merely those that have work and are struggling under the weight of the tax burden (both direct and indirect) that is required to keep funding the public services that neither they, nor those they support financially, consume.

    If you include those described as ‘benefit scroungers’ in the poor category then there is less and less sympathy for them as the average working man works harder and harder to keep his head above water.

    Many of the public services that the ‘poor’ benefit from are not consumed by the vast majority of those that pay the taxes to fund them. How can this be fair in the long term?

    Where I live, on Kings Hill, there are two really good primary schools. The Council Tax on Kings Hill is c.£2,500 a year - at least mine is. We all know that a large percentage of Council Tax is used to fund education. However, here’s the rub, when the schools were new many children from the villages outside of Kings Hill were given places in the new schools to fill them. The parents of these children are, in many cases, not significant contributors to HMRC, and don’t pay anything like the save level of Council Tax. Due to the siblings rule, many of the homeowners paying c.£2,500 a year on Council Tax, with just one child (due to being unable to have more on their incomes – something those on benefits are not constrained by) are forced to send their children to Private Schools out of the area or accept places in the very poor schools, because the Kings Hill schools are full of siblings – families that seem to be able to afford many more children than I can.

    The recent nurturing of the rich is, I believe, an attempt to save them from having to fund the increasing budget deficit that has been run up offering public services that the country just cannot afford.

  2. 2/2

    It is great being able to cure Cancer, I really believe that, but it’s expensive. It’s great to be able to offer a free University place to every member of society, but it’s expensive. It’s nice to have a fully stocked Library in each and every town and village, but it’s expensive. The same sentence could be applied to every public service, and we are running out of money.

    Sadly the definition of necessary and luxury, when it comes to public services, shifts when the money available starts to run dry. Those marching all want the cuts to public services to be stopped, but they don’t offer any clear way of paying for it. “Tax the rich” is all well and good, but the rich don’t have enough to pay for it all. In the end the bill has to fall on the normal working man, or the cuts need to be made.

    Basically the money is running out and the rich (and again I’m referring to those that have a job and a few quid that they work hard for) are fed up of being asked to pay more and more to subsidise the lifestyles of the poor, who are, in many cases, not working as hard for the ‘hand outs’ and public services they benefit from.

    As an example, I have only used a Public Library a couple of times in my whole life. If I want a book, I buy it. I don’t have a problem with Libraries, but I don’t want to see an increase in my contribution towards Tax to pay for them for those that don’t work as hard as I do.

    I know this makes me sound greedy, selfish and probably a little right wing, but I think you’ll find that my thoughts are much more common with those that are working and struggling to make ends meet while others are making no effort at all to provide for themselves.

    The marches to demand more money for public services cost the public purse millions. The extra Police bill alone will take money from the same pot that is already too small for the Police service that we all want. Thus a few marches with a violent minority actually means fewer Police in the long term. Great idea!

    Strangely, as time goes on, the main gripe of those struggling seems to be shifting from the Iraq war to benefit scroungers. The tide is turning and as more and more of these violent incidents at marches against cuts, against the G8, against University Fees etc. occur the more the voting public will lose patience with them.