Government has stolen effective protest but only if we continue to allow it to

11_february_2016A letter a day to number 10. No 1,339

Thursday 11 February 2016.

Dear Mr Cameron,

This is an issue that’s been bothering me for some time – What happened to protest that it is no longer effective in demanding and driving change?

Thankfully a wiser head than mine has been looking at this and Naomi Wolf nailed the issue to the wall in 2010 for all to see in an excellent YouTube video – “When Protest is Effective and When it is Not.” Had I any inkling at that time what you were about to do to the nation I would have been paying more attention.

Protest and civil disobedience go hand in hand and governments have been at great pains to legislate to break that vital bond.

If protesters want to march the organisers must now – ‘tell the police in writing 6 days before a public march’. Such legislation is designed to prevent disruption to people going about their business and the daily doings of civil society.

To be honest I am not sure why anyone would notify the police of a march, protesters don’t march, they walk, so it seems to me that the things a nonsense anyway. However, let’s not get distracted.

For a protest to have any teeth it should be disruptive and, of course, one of the most effective means of disruption is to block roads and traffic because roads are the arteries of the nation. It would be extreme, but effective, in a general strike to simply shut the nations roads down as they are the blood supply of every supermarket and businesses reliant on goods.

But we need not go so far because it is not our fellow citizens who are our enemy, it’s you Tories, and it is entirely pleasing to think of MPs discovering that their restaurants and bars are empty of food and drink due to a rather disobedient disruption in supply. The idea of you and George without your deliveries of Moet and Bollinger is also a very satisfying thought.

I wonder what the local food bank at Westminster Chapel would make of MPs wandering in begging for a free snack because the Gressingham duck with sweet potato fondant and crisoy kale was off the menu in the House of Commons Members’ Dining Room because the cupboard was bare? Bless, we’d probably hear the screams and tantrums here in Somerset unless, like you, we weren’t bothering to listen or remotely care. If we want democracy then civil obedience just won’t cut it.


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