Open Mike

by Richard on March 26, 2011

The floor is yours. Same rules as before.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1

malc 03.26.11 at 8:27 pm

To be topical (and possibly controversial from all but the grumpy old men), something that always gets my goat are protesters… with the exception of the Poll Tax Riots (and I guess riots is a more extreme protest) I can’t think of any that have ever achieved anything other than cost the public purse (that’ll be the taxes we pay) for policing, repairs and cleaning up the mess that’s left.

There are currently at least 250,000 people marching through London protesting against something everyone (including those in the House of Commons) already know are unpopular but are all the same going to happen. What they are doing is providing cover for those that just want to cause damage and cause chaos on the streets of London… thankyou guys, you’ve achieved nothing but distracting the police so a small number of people are able to commit criminal damage.

And don’t get me started on the mess that the “peace camp” or the students left in Parliament Sq…

2

Bob Gilston 03.26.11 at 10:11 pm

I remember the years that the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp existed. I don’t think it made the slightest difference to the decision about keeping nuclear weapons there. The camp site is now a Historic Site. I understand that some of the women have admitted that they only took part because it got them away from the house. I have to admit a grudging respect for those who commit themselves to a cause. 70,000 on one particular day.
My feeling is that such protests only make changes when the issue is of no particular importance to the government of the day but they certainly commandeer news space.

3

Mendip Nomad 03.27.11 at 7:10 am

My view is that they can make a difference, but that difference is not always the significant difference hoped for. I dislike going on marches intensely (I don’t like big crowds, they don’t walk anywhere near as fast as I’m comfortable walking at, and I’m too much of a “the issues are complex” man to feel like shouting simplistic slogans) and one was enough for me (one of the anti-Fees marches in the late ’90s) but as someone who has been a politico, who has been one of the backroom boys trying to negotiate changes, it doesn’t half help when you can say, “Look out there, we’re not just a handful of people, we speak for all of them.” Of course, the reality is that when you’re pushing for change you are going to have to accept compromise, compromise that may be weighted towards the people in power rather than your own view. Marches may not make wholesale, clear differences, but that doesn’t mean they’re pointless, or that they don’t make a difference somewhere, somehow, further down the line.

4

Mendip Nomad 03.27.11 at 7:12 am

Oh, plus in a world where a great many people are unable to gather and protest over issues that directly affect them without risking torture and death, isn’t it a good thing that we are able to, even if they do get hi-jacked by some idiots looking for an excuse to do vandalism and violence?

5

Bob Gilston 03.27.11 at 7:45 pm

MN - It absolutely is a good thing that we are able to gather and protest. It’s a tragedy that the news is about the hate and violence rather than about the point of the march. I agree they can make a difference, but unfortunately the difference is usually insignificant.

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