Unworthy descendants

PROTESTERS attempted to storm the Houses of Parliament last night, and a compliant media duly provided the coverage that such a cunning stunt was intended to achieve for the organizers.

Some of them, apparently, were dressed as suffragettes (the protesters, not the media, though who knows these days?). But why? Undoubtedly these women (and they were all women) believe their cause – opposition to airport expansion – is justification enough for civil disobedience, in the same way their forebears had a moral authority by virtue of their cause.

And yet…

The suffragettes took direct action because they had few alternatives: they could hardly register their unhappines at the ballot box, could they? They fought for the right for every adult, on an equal basis, to have the same say in how the country is run. They weren’t fighting for special or privileged treatment; they didn’t want more of a say than anyone else – they simply wanted to move from “one man, one vote” to “one person, one vote”.

I doubt if those brave, self-sacrificing pioneers of democracy would be very impressed with what we saw yesterday. The attempt to break the law was self-indulgent and it was elitist – the very antithesis of what the suffragettes were hoping to achieve. Believing that your own cause is so much more important than anyone else’s doesn’t give you the right to try to subvert the law – a law constructed by a government elected through universal suffrage and accountable to the whole electorate, not simply to those privileged to have enough time on their hands to spend the whole of Monday in Parliament Square.

By all means protest. But don’t try to convince yourself that your cause is so great that it uniquely justifies breaking the law. Because somewhere there’s a fascist with a grudge who may well choose to follow your example.

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13 Comments

Filed under Department for Transport, Government, Parliament

13 responses to “Unworthy descendants

  1. Blackacre

    Your argument would have more going for it if the government intended to pay any attention to the results of its consultation, which will reveal a massive scepticism about the third runway.

  2. John

    I think you fail to realize just how much anger and frustration there is out there in the ‘real’ world.
    Give it another six months when the large increases in repossessions and unemployment have hit, and taxes, including Council Tax, are hiked up,you will probably witness far worse public disorder than occured last night.

  3. We are in a sad way if we have to rely on people called Tamsin from Cambridge leading the revolution.

    I agree with John though, there will be civil disorder in the next year.

  4. “not simply to those privileged to have enough time on their hands to spend the whole of Monday in Parliament Square”.

    Is this code for idle toff’s wives?

  5. steve

    One person , One Vote…. Zero result

    2005 election, Green vote 257,758, 1% of votes, zero MP’s.

    Until we get real democracy, then a protest is the only thing that works. We have a government that only 1 in 5 of the electorate voted for, how can anyone say that this is democracy at work?

  6. Brian

    I think you’ve got to realize that it is generally perceived that there is little/no difference between Labour/Tories/Lib Dem since the Thatcher days (true or not!) and as a result people have became really turned off by the Ballot box.

    It is also viewed that government consultations are a joke. I only need to think of the diabolical consultation on Monklands A&E where I come from where people were clearly against the but the ‘nanny knows best’ government simply decided that the public were wrong and it was right.

  7. “Green vote 257,758, 1% of votes, zero MP’s (sic)”

    Still over-represented in my book, mate.

  8. Why do the protesters have to believe that their cause is uniquely justified in breaking the law? Surely logically they could believe that lots of causes are.

  9. Johnny Norfolk

    I think you forget the founding of the Labour party.
    It has now come full circle and the oppressed are now the oppressors. You are a bully party who just orders people around just like the upper classes of the past only worse as you are not supposed to be like that.
    You need to take a long hard look at yourselves and try to understand the ordinary working people of Britain.
    You are the bully boys putting fear into ordinary people by what you are doing. we need a government for the people and that is not Labour who are now our Lords and Masters. I never thought Labour would become the upper class

  10. Parasite

    I’m sure the ordinary working people of Britain are not as enthused by opposing a third runway as much as women called Jocasta from Islington who’ve rushed down to Parliament fresh from the organic wholefoods shop. If they’re the oppressed I’m a Dutchman.

  11. Tom, dare I point out what share of the seats Labour has compared to their share and how over represented your party is?

    Well, maybe I’ll save it for this placard I’m working on…

  12. Harry T.

    ” cunning stunt”

    Got to watch how you say that one!


  13. “Green vote 257,758, 1% of votes, zero MP’s (sic)”

    Still over-represented in my book, mate.

    So climate change isn’t an issue? No wonder you’re keen to see more planes.

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