Wednesday, 10 November 2010
When politics gets violent
Today thousands of prospective students, current students, lecturers and ordinary people peacefully marched through Westminster in protest to the government's proposed lifting of the cap on tuition fees.
Sadly, these peaceful protesters will not on appear on the front pages of tomorrow's newspapers. Instead, images of the violence at Millbank Tower (the location of Conservative party HQ) will be what millions of people will see when they read their daily papers tomorrow morning. And none of this will change the governmen's policy - if anything, the violent protests have now made the new fees more likely to happen.
The blurb to this blog states my dedication to impartiality, but there is one issue where I feel I should state my opinion. To quote Winston Churchill, democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time. Most of the violent protesters were not students (nor are they ever likely to be), they were anarchists, who dislike democracy and believe direct action is the best way to achieve their goals. To be blunt, they are wrong.
This morning the Liberal Democrat MPs were very nervous about the changes to funding. At PMQs today, the Deputy Prime Minister (standing in for the David Cameron who's in Seoul) faced question after question about his party's sudden change in opinion on university fees. Many of Nick Clegg's MPs were terrified that this issue could lose them their seats and where talking about voting against the Bill when it comes to Parliament. However, the British public tend to support the campaigns of ordered and civil protesters, but quickly turn against those who resort to violence. Meaning those Liberal Democrat MPs probably feel a little safer now.
Direct action simply doesn't work in a democratic society, and it often has the opposite effect than that desired by its proponents. If you want to change policy in a democracy, debate the issue, convince people of your point of view, and scare the MPs with your support, but don't start smashing windows as it will get you nowhere.