- Politics and Social Issues»
Violent Demonstrations in Britain: The Miner's Canary?
A Demonstration that bordered on a Riot.Click thumbnail to view full-size
Just a Rumble at the Teddy Bear's Picnic?
A Demonstration or a Riot?
The demonstration and riots in Britain last night may signal a decisive change this time. As you all saw on the news, many of the demonstrators weren't satisfied with carrying pretty little placards disagreeing with the governments stance on cuts, they broke windows, ATM-machines and occupied large stores. Serious clashes with hundreds of police raged all over Trafalgar Square well into the small hours of Sunday morning. Nearly one hundred were arrested; both activists and officers were injured, a few badly.
Cries of indignation were heard on the major news channels and from government officials and police superintendents. the mouth- pieces of the UK establishment. Union officials made the point that no one listens to peaceful demonstrations; people need to be shocked to act. The awful little Labour creep, Millipede, or whatever his name is, was on the podium making the most of the situation.
The change I see coming here is a manifestation of the ever- growing gap between the rich and poor, and the government still thinking they can squeeze more juice out of the lemon that has been dry for quite some years in order to maintain the status quo.
The long record of this country’s "ruling" classes has been a chaotic and quite disgusting one. Once, when we had an Empire, Britain was just the base for our forays into the world and the colonization which sustained these tiny islands for 400 years.
Once again, up to perhaps 25 years ago, we still had a large manufacturing base - gone completely now - where working class lads and lassies could find solid, creative and adequately recompensed labour. We had important industries, too, such as mining, shipbuilding, steel and agriculture. The last produced work then, not merely huge profits for producers with machinery replacing the bowed backs; removing almost entirely an area that employed 10% of the country's workers and was a source of joy and beauty to all who saw the old farming methods at work. Today, you hardly see a person working the land, just mammoth machinery going round and around.
You only have to listen to the arguments from this government at the moment to know something is dreadfully and irrevocably wrong. "People need to work," we hear. "They need to get off welfare and take any job" What does this message mean? The recently redundant postal worker; the out of work store sales and management personnel; the nurses cut from the NHS? Are they being asked to sweep the streets; take badly paid part-time jobs; be "retrained" into some field they have no interest in, nor are equipped mentally or physically to handle? The government doesn’t say how people are going to find these unsuitable jobs anyway, just that "We have to cut the welfare bill and get many back to work." The point here is the bureaucrats are telling people they are going to loose their benefits - many have already - not merely suggesting they take anything to keep the wolf from the door.
You can’t create a paternal, caring society over 100 years and then sweep the rug away in 12 months and expect the nation to comply!
Cuts, cuts cuts...and the amount the nation borrows is still going up!
On top of the resentment felt by citizens hardly able to pay their mortgages on over-priced properties, is the indignation by millions asked to tighten their belts, while corporate moguls in banking and big business are STILL pulling down million-pound salaries, huge benefits, and the bonuses we were told the government was going to stop. Ha!
Even the politicians controlling and shadowing this mess have adroitly managed things so they can claim more expense money again while not actually increasing their salaries to convince us of their "solidarity" Ha! This is the UK, but things appear just the same in the United States.
Cameron's "Big Society" is seeming more and more like a desperate ploy to keep the moneyed classes as wealthy as ever through the troubled waters and to keep on acquiring more and more. Leaders can't seem to see taxing the rich another few percent doesn't have any disadvantageous effect - when they have so much. Whereas raising VAT and all the other "stealth" taxes in this climate of high inflation, along with all the other financial burdens imposed on the middle and working classes (what is left of them) has pushed a large percentage of the population to the edge of desperation; this is especially felt by British State Pensioners, those least able to aid ther own plight.
People are extremely resilient. The British are a law-abiding race in the main, and it doesn't sit easy with us to see demonstrators turning violent and braining police with sticks and cobblestones, (if police and brains doesn’t add up to an oxymoron), or destroying the affluence found in London's West End by breaking windows with crowd-control barriers and firing paint guns at the premier hotels. (And I must say the worst cases of extreme violence with baton and truncheon I saw on Sky News were practiced by brutal officers beating demonstrators bloody and senseless)
But if those who have power over us won't listen to reasoned debate, but just charge on like some invincible, all-seeing deity, the frustration grows until it breaks out into violence against the obvious signs of wealth, or the minions who try to safeguard their master's riches - the British "plod," the police.
I am not blaming the government for the woes that beset this society. There’s too many people in a world fighting for too little decent land or resources. But we cannot go on dividing the spoils of our endeavours in such an unfair and unequal way any longer. Those with huge estates bequeathed to them by their long line of ancestors have to realize, in a tiny land like this, they must part with these millions of acres in the public good. The same applies to holdings by the church, the administration and private business and individuals who hang-on to houses, unoccupied for years, waiting for prices to rise to heights they will never again reach.
The running of the country should be mainly paid for by those making millions - even billions - per year in remuneration. No they can’t have £200,000 yachts, ten houses, any number of vehicles and other toys while those at the other end of the scale can’t even afford to run a ten-year-old jalopy, live in government housing and can never afford meat more than once a week.
We hear the lament by MP's, “Oh, if we push them (bankers, etc.) too hard, they will simply leave the country, yadder,yadder, yadder...” Well, good, that’s what I say. If all they see Britain (the US, et al) as cash cows to bleed for every penny they can, we are better off without them Where would they go anyway? Few countries would put up with more of the greedy super rich than they have already, thank you very much, without parting them from a larger part of their wealth than they would allow.
I recently published a hub titled "A One-Class World." More and more I can see that it is the only sane way to go...but that it never will by negotiation among men of sense and reason with the powers that be.
To become a politician, any man or woman needs the backing of special interests, such as banking, the alcohol and tobacco giants, the huge oil and manufacturing conglomerates. They put up the campaign funds for the expensive television ads and so on... without which no one can be elected these days. It is only a select few - the Ghandi's and Lenin's, or the independently wealthy, etc., who lead and administrate without caring about monetary reward. One only had to listen to the 500-plus members of the British Commons arguing like a pack of effete wolves over whether or not to "accept" a one percent pay-rise this week, (it was an insult some said!). They were astute enough to try to cover their mendacious feelings (after all, it was on BBC TV!), but they forget millions no longer trust them; the few decent members going down with the rest in the halls of public opinion. It will be a long time before any faith in them is restored, if ever.
There will be more and more strikes and demonstrations I am sure. The elastic band of suffering is stretched to the absolute limit here in Britain; the US can't be far behind despite their vast nation and resources. David Cameron and Mr. Obama just have to take it on board that more taxing of the poor is a dead issue, or the consequences will make the demonstrations in London last week seem like a rumble at the Teddy-Bears Picnic.