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Why on earth does Boris Johnson think it’s necessary to put the fear of violence into our heads, just because people are coming to London to demonstrate in favour of common sense?
The London Mayor said hundreds of Metropolitan police officers would be “kitted up” and ready to be deployed rapidly, in case of outbreaks of disorder.
The trouble with that, of course, is that he has made everybody involved – protesters and police – paranoid that unpleasantness of some kind will happen, and that it will be the other side that starts it!
How utterly ridiculous. By all means, keep your political tools (the police) ready, Boris, but keep them in the background. Otherwise, you’re the one inciting trouble.
If only he was able to step back and look at the situation dispassionately. Consider what the protests are about:
The main event is a demonstration against the current lionisation of Margaret Thatcher that has already cost the taxpayer nearly £2 million in expenses payments for MPs who were recalled to Parliament during their Easter recess for no good reason, when tributes could have been paid to the Blue Baroness upon MPs’ scheduled return, on Monday. Add to that a further £10 million for a state-funded funeral with military honours that a huge proportion of the population believes is undeserved – especially when the late champion of privatisation had more than enough cash in her estate to pay for as much pomp and ceremony as she could ever have wanted – and anyone can see there is a valid justification for the event.
Attendees will include former miners, and members of mining communities that were devastated by the Thatcher government’s decision to force a confrontation with the unions – the real reason the pits were closed in the mid-1980s. They will be joined by travellers – whose kind were attacked by police, in their role as a political tool of the Thatcher government rather than as guardians of lawful behaviour, most notably in the ‘Battle of the Beanfield’. Students whose grants were transformed into loans during her period of office will also be represented, along with those who are politically opposed to her policies and their legacy.
History tells us that violence involving those groups has always been instigated by those arrayed against them – the forces of the government; remember, the BBC was forced into a (grudging) apology after it was proved that footage of a police charge had been doctored to make it seem the miners had attacked first, when in fact the police provoked the unpleasantness.
So let’s hope that nothing of the kind happens today – either at the main event, the UKUncut demo against the Bedroom Tax and benefit cap, or the Taxpayers Against Poverty march.
But if it does, let’s all take a good hard look at whoever kicks it off – particularly their voting history. I have a sneaking suspicion that anyone causing trouble today will have a prediliction for supporting the Conservative Party.