Wednesday, 10 November 2010

militants at millbank

Earlier today students marched against the new proposed student fees and a relatively small group hi-jacked the march at Millbank, not far from where I live, in London.  Surely the police could have forseen the possibility but they appeared to be completely taken by surprise for some time. Many of the police offers on duty today were not up to the new improved standard we have been promised and could be seen beating and kicking protesters who were not attacking the police.
I am sure we will see more protest as time goes by though many people I speak with have the expectation that “the community” will not respond no matter what happens and that people will accept THE NEW REALITY with out a whimper. It is still early days and I hope they are wrong.
I wonder if you will march against the cuts or the other excesses of this CONDEM alliance yet to come. Has the current economic crisis already affected your life detrimentally? Do you believe in direct action?  Some years ago Lambeth residents had been complaining about rats on their estate for months. With the support of community workers they  filled sacks of dead rats and mice from their homes and marched into a council meeting at the Town hall. They threw the contents of the sacks on the tables and on the floor saying to the assembled meeting - "You live with it". Next day a team of exterminators showed up on the estate and within days the problem was solved.
Taking to the streets today is a risky business. Successive governments have dismantled many civil liberties. Blair’s lot were among the worst vandals. They did nothing to overturn Thatcher’s anti union law though they promised they would. I feel sure the u turns of the Lib Dems will prove costly to them in the long run.  If they continue to renege on their election promises it could rule them out of the political equation for years to come . Clegg and other Lib Dem MP s were allowed to abstain from the student fees vote at Westminster as part of the coalition agreement.
It is clear that the most vulnerable and those at the bottom of the economic pile will suffer most if planned cuts go ahead. As well as raising student fees this government plans a 40% reduction in funding for higher education across the board.
A recent report that described standards of care at a UK hospital as appalling, has cited the obsession with meeting unrealistic government targets as a major contributor to the problems. The resulting target driven paper work from the demo today will keep police officers busy for days and will take them away from real and meaningful policing.
If I met you and we began to chat I suppose what I want to know most about you is - What do you believe in? Today I would also want to ask – What are you willing to do about it?
Three options come to mind.




Have some of you gone a bit quiet or … have I forgotten to take my headphones off again?


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Anonymous said...

The current scourge of public services, paperwork.
Within local government we have been asked by the Condem alliance (love that abbreviation) what could be done to improve public services and reduce costs.
I am told that the vast majority of the responses related to the reduction of the massive amounts of recording for recordings sake we are all required to do.
A colleague today told me she is taking early retirement as she can no longer ignore the needs of those she trained to serve whilst she is filling in forms that go nowhere. After 30 years of helping those in need her skills will be lost to us all. I felt so sad when she said "the only thing that keeps people working here now is greed or fear".
Times have changed and will, undoubtedly, change further. I would like to think things will improve without direct action as it does not sit comfortably with me but "the new reality" tells me that it won't.
Sitting at my computer moaning about the constant demand for pointless statistics is no longer enough.


Anonymous said...

It is illogical for government to expect peaceful demonstrations over such emotive issues as we are faced with right now. Nothing of any value has ever been achieved with out confrontation between the people and the state. The French surely have got that right.
Line up be nice, march a bit, shout a bit, sit down for a bit and then go home to our beds with out having gained a thing? I don't think so. The New labour shower ignored the people and went to war in Iraq.
Not this time, too much at stake, and it's only just beginning.
Luv ya
Ed and Sue
PS FDPFAFDW brilliant.

Nige Fisher in deepest Cumbria said...

Hmmm good question and hoping to discuss this when you come to our FDPFAFDW :) However a friend just posted this on her facebook page within the last hour and it seems to sum it up for me "I prefer non violent demonstrations , but nobody listens to them , remember the anti war on iraq demos!now with the student cause a bit of violence and everyone sits up and listens , but it is also counterproductive, as the media etc have a field day manipulating the cause into one that is fuelled by rabid militants etc etc so what do you have to do to get politicians to listen"

Anonymous said...

If you have a sense of justice and honesty, self control, sympathy towards all people, respect for etiquette, respect for one's word of honor and no fear then, you can be victorious.
Resist the cuts that will damage communities and mobilise your community positively.


Anonymous said...

I sense a great deception built upon the 'we know best principle' beloved of most politicians (particularly Tories). The Big Society? This appears to mean that the 'slack' will be taken up by the voluntary sector. Funding is dependent on 'outcomes'. How the laymen politicians can decide upon a satisfactory outcome for sufferers from mental health problems defeats me. Do they expect a person who has been 'frozen' in some horrible emotional collapse to be applying for jobs (which don't exist anyway)? These idiots do not realise that an 'outcome' can be as simple as living simply and without being a danger to self or others. I'm grinding my own axe here. Forgive me, but I see this and the risks every day.
Today's politicians are denying the advantages they were given to our young people today. Let's put it this way - our kids leave University with £20 grand debts, based on a promise that they can pay this back when they get a job that 70 other graduates are also applying for. They cannot buy a house because they can't get a mortgage because the bankers ran off with all the money. If they cannot get a job then their benefits will be stopped or they will have to sweep the streets (no doubt wearing a coloured jacket to show the Tory faithful that the policy is working). They have a right to be angry. No wonder that short term solutions often involve alcohol or drugs. If you give an entire generation no hope this is what happens.
I believe in targeted and thoughtful demonstration. Choose an issue that is particularly and personally important. Avoid 'rent a mob'. Use the media. Personalise the demo.

I'm on for it.

I used to be 'Paul, hiding in the Dales' but I have scarpered to the seaside. It is very windy tonight, I can hear the sea crashing into the walls and it gives me a lovely perspective of the awesome power of nature and makes me forget the toybox politics of Cameron and Clegg.

Peace, Paul by the Sea.

Anonymous said...

Some really thoughtful comments from all concerned.Protest?Absolutely.Peaceful?Has to be.Im with Gandhi on that one!But somehow the same old system is nt working.We need a new kind of economics.One that truly values people and planet and not just the same old dead end economic unsustainable growth pattern end game that everyone seems to so blindly follow.Its dead,disconnected and doesnt recognise the finite resources of OUR WORLD.I am much inspired by what I read in publications like Resurgence and Positive News.One world,but small is beautiful!Keep it local,empower people in their local community so that they feel involved and connected with such things as sustainable local employment,local clean energy production,local food schemes,wholistic health care.We need a whole new inspiring vision it seems to me.There is so much potential all around us if we can look at things outside the box.

Anonymous said...

Peaceful demos seem to serve no purpose because no one takes notice.
One million peaceful marchers couldn't change Blairs' mind about going to war in Iraq.
The poll tax was abolished due to the demos which history refers to as 'The poll tax riots' not the 'poll tax peaceful demo'.
It simply saddens me that someone has to smash things up before anyone listens to their grievances. Is that democratic?
Debate is stifled by those in charge who make decisions without prior consultation with those who are to be directly affected by that decision.
The only positive action to change Uni fees would be for the next generation of sixth formers to boycott Unis - simply don't apply, leave them empty and pleading for business.
Finally, my sympathy to Lib Dem voters who have been so badly betrayed - I trust you will all be letting 'your' party know that you won't get fooled again.
Shoreham Steve

Anonymous said...

"It may be long before the law of love will be recognized in international affairs. The machineries of government stand between and hide the hearts of one people from those of another".

Anonymous said...

I was about to come on here and say that government in it's current form, swinging from left to right and back again, is becoming increasingly outmoded, inappropriate and archaic - it is no longer working and actually hasn't been for the last 40 or 50 years.

Politicians have become people who are nothing more than traders and the 'work' that they do has become so completely removed from anything relating to the human experience.

Hence health ministers, ministers for culture, ministers for education, etc etc, are unable to do any good at all because their hands are tied by the perpetuity of the current situation.

My opinion is that this was set in motion long ago by a society that took it's eye off the ball because the collective psyche wasn't ready for industrailisation. The evidence of this is everywhere around us.

However I think the Ghandi quote actually says it better than I ever could.

Luv ya Rob by the way.

D. xx

Anonymous said...

How do we know these militants weren't on the government's payroll to discredit the majority of peaceful protestors?

Tony H.

Anonymous said...

Exactly.Good point!And the point that 1 million peaceful protesters against the war in Iraq did n't stop the war only serves to highlight the point that not enough people made their peaceful voice heard.If enough people had said no through every available peaceful avenue those in charge would have heeded the prevailing mood.The people get what the people want.Half the time everyone is so busy and preoccupied with the daily grind anyway that there is n't any time left to take direct action.We have become so disengaged that we are content to let others take decisions for us.Half the time in our own lives we are not prepared to accept the consequences of our own actions either.

edgar broughton said...

Immediately after the Student demo outside Tory Headquarters Baroness Warsi, Chair of the Tory party, made a statement on UK TV saying that while the students had every right to protest about rising fees, the damage and violence carried out by the few spoiled the day. She made it sound as though it was a picnic spoiled by a few louts. The idea that a political demonstration only has any value when it is peaceful is ridiculous. Members of the Women’s Suffrage Movement died so that women could have the vote. The Tolpuddle Martyrs fought for the right to be able to earn enough to feed their families and from this the Trade Union Movement was born. If the government was of the people for the people there would be no need to demonstrate. A culture of consultation and participation would prevail.