Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Where Is The Public Outrage & Protest?

If a centre-right UK government was in power right now and presided over an approximate £22,000 drop in property value in every house in the UK, the media, led by the BBC would be calling for the PM’s head. Our TV screens would be full of Left leaning MPs calling for the uncaring and inactive government to be overhauled. “Economic Experts” would be in the news telling viewers and readers that people are struggling because of the Governments actions and/or inactions.

If a centre-right UK Government passed a law that allowed NATO to make and impose legislation governing UK border policy, defence policy or any law really, there would be protests in the streets. Petitions would be organised and passed around. The reaction would be stronger if, that government was elected with a specific promise of allowing the electorate to make that decision, via referendum.

If a centre-right government had been in charge of a monetary policy that had saw Sterling plummet to a 23 year low against the dollar, and all time low against the Euro, and we were witnessing loses of thousands of Manufacturing Jobs; the trade unions would be protesting in the streets about the tough market conditions and the increased jobless numbers.

If a centre-right government was proven in the media to have Parliamentarians selling, openly, their time and professional influence in making and changing laws; we would be calling it a “Constitutional Crisis”, and every law passed during that parliament would come under immense scrutiny. Lawyers would be having a field day. An immediate General Election would be called for by the left-wing leader of the opposition.

If a centre-right PM appointed his most influential minister to the House of Lords, free from the scrutiny of public election and being shadowed by an elected member of the shadow cabinet, then everybody would be calling it exactly what it is; an attempt to undermine Parliamentary accountability.

If a combination of the above situations had occurred we would likely have a combination, or all of the above consequences and responses. Eastenders would have story lines families going broke and being evicted, there would be students organising protests and recruiting members to radical organisations, and the Labour and Union conferences would be getting in depth media coverage. We would be told that there is an unprecedented social crisis taking place in the country.

So why is it, with a left-wing government in power, with The EU Lisbon Constitutional Treaty being forced on the UK without the promised referendum, with house prices nose-diving, with Sterling crashing, stock prices crashing, with a seemingly irreversible trend of the rich-poor divide growing further, with unpopular and oppressive laws being passed, with Peers being caught on tape selling their influence within the upper chamber of our national legislature; why is there no coherent, organised, public outcry of any significance? Why haven’t the people taken to the streets?

It is my assertion that if we currently had a Conservative Government, and were facing the scale of problems that we currently are, things would be very different. The opposition would be in a much stronger position. In fact, I suspect the calls from the public for a general election would be deafening.

There are no mass protests against the government in the streets, there is no radical student band amassing at St Stephens Gate.

The blogosphere has become an established force, and though there is balance and a real spectrum of views and approaches, it is noticeable that the centre-right opinions are prevalent. Have people taken to their computer keyboards rather than marching in the streets. Has the blog become the voice of the right, where the strikers placard is the voice of the left?

I am not sure that it has, or is. But I do not think the blogosphere realised its full reach and influence. Where there seems to be a balance in favour of influence to the political right on the blogosphere, there seems to be the reverse in the organising and effect of public protesting. With the Left targeting the blogosphere more and more, is now the correct time for the centre-right parties to be looking at getting people involved in rallies and protests, for which there is much to target? If they did, we may, just possibly, see that general election in 2009 that nobody is expecting.


Oliver said...

I couldn't agree more with this article. 12 years of this government has changed the will of the people to fight for their rights. Today for the first time the construction industry are striking over the use of European imported labour on one of their sites.
Maybe this will be the start of the revolution and hopefully the ridance of the kamikaze wanker Brown.

Andy said...

You are so right to ask this question. I have worked in the social care sector since the 1980s, and the scale of cutbacks now imposed by the UK Government in England (the other nations have devolved administrations) would have caused uproar back in that decade.

Mind you, this Government seems a lot sneakier than the Thatcher lot. Many of the cutbacks in social care are slipped in without the public being informed and under a thick blanket of waffle.

I believe that, after the riots and uproar of the '80s, the electorate lost interest in politics in the 1990s and lost touch with various changes taking place.

The attitude seemed to be: "People are so much more caring than they were in the 1980s!" - smug self-delusion in my opinion.

Now, hopefully, things will begin to change.