Friday, December 10, 2010

Demo 2010: An Open Letter In Both Directions


STOP characterising the demo violence as an organised anarchist assault on public order. The troublemakers are a small minority, and you know it. The same types turn up to any public demonstration against the establishment, they always will, and you can't use them as an excuse to stop peaceful protest. So stop trying.

STOP jumping to knee-jerk defences of transparently excessive police tactics, like the outrageous intimidation tactic of “kettling” in sub-zero temperatures, or the use of mounted baton charges against unarmed kids. Yes, policing these protests is a bloody difficult job, but you do the Met no favours by leaping to their defence quicker than they do. Oh, and Mr. Plod? The next time you're reaching out to topple some kid out of his wheelchair, you might just want to ask yourself; what could I possibly let him get away with that would look worse than this?

STOP calling for draconian punishments for “rioters” from the comfort of your armchairs. You probably still haven't noticed, but this kind of pathetically faux machismo simply drives down the consensus as to the probable size of your penis.


STOP pretending that this is about Tuition Fees, an issue on which the NUS and the Coalition Government are about as ideologically conflicted as Ant & Dec. It's an ideological reaction to the very notion of Conservative government, and its root are far wider. Which is perfectly fine – just so long as you admit it.

STOP fuelling the narrative of “Betrayal” by the Lib Dems, who are unable to enact their policy by virtue of (read this next bit carefully) losing the election. Yes, coalition politics is a bit new, and it may seem counter-intuitive that a party in government may lack both a mandate for its promises, and the responsibility to enact them. Boo Hoo. Get used to it. Anyway, even fewer students voted Lib Dem than in the electorate as a whole; and that was bugger all. Doesn't an election “pledge” kind-of carry with it the implicit notion that those you are pledging to will actually vote for you? So, who “betrayed” whom first?

STOP using the tired Thatcher-era language of class war, as if the last thirteen years never happened. When the Government first launched its attack on “benefit scroungers” while ignoring billions in tax fraud, there was an echoing silence from over there. When the Government first let the banks off the hook while planning swingeing spending cuts..? Hmm, still barely a grumble. The single defining difference between then and now, is that “The Government” are now (mostly) from the blue team. Your embittered, righteous fury is actually pure, cynical political opportunism, and shame on you for it. An illegal foreign war that kills thousands; a crusade against the common liberties of ordinary citizens; collusion in torture for fuck's sake; all these things could be allowed to stand, but a modest re-adjustment of Higher Education finance is the cue to unleash Hell? Bollocks.

Now, both of you – go home, calm down, and grow the fuck up.