Sunday, 12 December 2010

Protests have the opposite effect

As I have said before, the British people don't like violent protests. More than that, protests have little use in liberal democracies.

On Thursday, the Coalition faced its first rebellion in the House of Commons with more than half of the Liberal Democratic's voting against their own government. Yet, all the TV news reports that night, and all the newspapers the next morning, showed images of windows at the Treasury being smashed, flags being pulled down at the Cenotaph and the heir to the thrown being attacked. The story of the tripling of tuition fees and rebellion in the Commons was lost. I wonder if those protesters who decided to turn violent are pleased with themselves.

In the end, the bill past and tuition fees will rises. The protests have achieved little to change the will of the government. In dictatorships, change can often come from the streets as that is the only place where the people's voice can be heard, but this is not the cases in democracies where the government is chosen by the people.

Voting in elections is where the people are heard and their will expressed. Ironically, the demographic least likely to vote are those who were protesting last week. People aged between 18-25 (a group to which I belong) are far less likely to vote than any other age group. If they want their voices to be heard by those in elected office, they should actually vote in elections instead of rioting in the streets.

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