Freethinkeruk’s Weblog

UK Political weblog

Archive for the tag “riots”

Petitions

Being just a tad politically active ūüėČ I get to sign an awful lot of petitions and I’ve been giving them some thought of late.

In pre Internet days they were a good way of expressing complaint or desires to those who had the power to make changes. Thousands of signatures on paper meant people actually stopped, took time to think about the issue and physically make the effort to sign and consequently it said to governments or whatever, look out, listen to us or you could lose the power you have.

Now it’s so easy to just click a link, click ‘sign’, feel good about yourself for a couple of seconds and that’s it ’til the next one. Along with the huge proliferation of petitions, the meaning and effect of on-line petitions has been reduced to almost zero. The recipient never sees detail of the numbers signing just a total, maybe issues a meaningless response and presses the delete button.

Originally an aid to more open and accountable governance and a useful feedback to Ministers or CEO’s of Multi Nationals they are now barely an irritant. A possible consequence of this is a growing feeling of impotence that could then lead to more direct action which would lead to more repression leading towards riots in an escalating spiral.

The now five yearly General Elections when none of us get the government we thought we had voted for is not sufficient for the maintenance of peaceful democracy and freedom. We are at an impasse, what should or could be done? What do you think?

Advertisements

Student Protest

I admit to having mixed feelings about the student protests. I fully support their outrage at what is happening under this appalling¬†coalition government; it’s not just the huge increase in student fees but the huge cuts also in university funding, particularly in social science and the arts. We are the 6th richest nation on Earth and no one can convince me that we can’t afford to invest in our future through educating our young people. The figure of ¬£9000 keeps being bandied about but it’s not just nine grand, it’s nine thousand per year, plus I’d guess at a minimum of another ¬£6000 per year to pay for living expenses. So we’re looking at around ¬£45000 debt for a three year degree, so imagine a couple of graduates going along for a mortgage and starting negotiations with a joint ¬£90000 debt around their necks. What hope?

In general I oppose violence and it was fairly obvious that some at the demonstrations were there just for that. On the other hand one of the advantages of 24 hour news is that you can watch events unfold rather than the three-minute snippets on news bulletins¬†and I saw police provocation and a charge by mounted police that seemed completely un-called for. The small attack on the car carrying Charlie and Camilla of course became the news of the day rather than the student’s cause but they came to no harm and will serve to shake them a little from their complacency of wealth and influence by birth rather than the ballot box. The coverage though does raise another thought. Most of the cabinet (18 of which are millionaires) went to so called ‘public’ schools with Eaton being prominent and then to Oxford or Cambridge university. So too did the top journalists and newspaper editors and media executives.

As I stated earlier, in general I am opposed to all violence but I can’t help recalling history. Would the governor of the Bastille have handed over the keys to a sit down protest and would Britain have given independence to the United States or many of our other colonies unless they fought us for it?¬†I am not advocating violence but the power resides with the people and not with the few who seize it and abuse it and unless they recognise that then violence is almost inevitable.

 

Post Navigation