Tag Archives: UKUncut

Boris please note: We don’t need violence to demonstrate against Thatcherism

It seems police confiscated an effigy of the Blue Baroness after protesters set fire to it in Glasgow. It is doubtful that the scene looked anything like the above image. Without an effigy to burn the protesters did NOT become violent. They DID do a conga, while chanting, "Maggie Maggie Maggie, dead dead dead".

It seems police confiscated an effigy of the Blue Baroness after protesters set fire to it in Glasgow. It is doubtful that the scene looked anything like the above image. Without an effigy to burn, the protesters did NOT become violent. No – they did a conga, while chanting, “Maggie Maggie Maggie, dead dead dead”.

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.

When police fight the disabled there can be no winners

You may not be aware of this but disabled people were being manhandled off London’s streets by police officers today, as they tried to stand up for their way of life while ministers enjoyed the Paralympic Games elsewhere in the capitol.

The scenes outside the London HQ of Atos, the French company that is being paid £100 million a year to find reasons for removing disability benefits from 87 per cent of claimants, and at the offices of the Department for Work and Pensions, the government department that hired Atos, were part of a day of action organised by the group Disabled People Against Cuts, together with UKUncut.

It was a small protest in comparison with many that have taken place recently, and a sad one for several reasons.

In a country where the government could easily raise more than £20 billion per year by closing legal loopholes that allow the very rich to seed their money away in tax havens rather than pay their fair share into the treasury, it is shameful that the Chancellor, George Osborne, has chosen to slash £18 billion from the welfare budget, regardless of what this will mean for the people who will lose their only means of support.

Nobody from Atos, or the DWP, bothered to speak with the protesters. They were not interested in what they had to say, even though they must realise that a disabled person must be given a very good reason indeed before they will make the effort to travel into central London – braving all kinds of possible risks to themselves as vulnerable people – to raise a political point.

The police turned up very quickly to try to shut down the event, and this led to scuffles and scenes which, as TV newscasters say, some might find distressing. Saddest of all is the fact that the officers and constables taking part were being used as political tools, to remove what their masters might describe as a hindrance, rather than as people. Upholding justice and the law had little to do with it.

We’ve been here before, of course. But when young people and students were ‘kettled’ by police while demonstrating against the tripling of tuition fees, we saw harsher scenes than today. The manhandling of disabled people by uniformed men and women who are equipped for violence is more tragic than outrageous – although you should be outraged to see it.

You probably won’t see it on television, though. Mass media news reports appear to have been minimised, as usual – the norm now for anything relating to direct criticism of the Coalition government and its policies.

But you can get a taste of what it was like here – http://www.katebelgrave.com/2012/08/disabled-people-against-cuts-and-uk-uncut-protest-friday-31-august-london/

– and here – http://bambuser.com/v/2946786

You can read the background to the event here – http://diaryofabenefitscrounger.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/warning-toxic-government.html

– and here – http://aguynamedguyuk.wordpress.com/2012/08/31/british-decency-another-call-to-arms-six-months-on-atos-wrb-disability/

And remember, figures show that 32 people die each week, from their disabilities or stress-related complications of them, after being told by the DWP and Atos assessors that they are fit for work.