'Why were the police so violent...?' MB debate. Re: mass demontrations and attempts to invade parliament by Countryside Alliance. 18/9/04
re: Police Thuggery Little Richardjohn - 97th post - 19 Sep 2004 18:03
As a photographer who saw most of the major demonstrations in London from 1974 - 2001, and judging from the extensive and lingering Sky footage, I can safely say that the police were no more violent yesterday than they usually are when faced with a hostile crowd.
If the OC asks for the crowd to clear, and they refuse or even advance on police lines, the police have full authority to use necessary force to maintain public order. Where's your problem with that, Daily Mail?
The problems usually arise when, as in a venue like Trafalgar Square, when the police routinely and stupidly cordon off the entire demonstration, tell them to MOVE and people have nowhere to go. This was not the case yesterday. In addition, this was Parliament under siege.... And to allow a seething mob of five thousand up to the doors was simply not on.
It's a good job the million anti war protestors showed more respect for parliament than this bunch of thugs, otherwise Tony Blair would be retraining for the priesthood as we speak and we wouldn't be at war.
Interesting how the people we are always told are undermining the British way of life by not wanting to kill people are more democratic and downright BRITISH than those who wrap themselves in the flag and scream how they and only they are the saviours of the British heritage because they like killing foxes. These rednecks are the real enemy within, as we shall see when they start clogging up the motorways with their tractors and people die in road-blocked ambulances.
Incedentally, the Poll Tax analogy is totally false. For a start, the levels of preparation were minimal. Most of the weaponry in '90 came in the shape of local street furniture and paving. On Wednesday, there were thunderflashes for instance. They don't sell those on Westmister Bridge. [reply] [Complain about this post]
re: Police Thuggery Bornyesterday - 402nd post - 20 Sep 2004 09:36
A bunch of thugs,the enemy within?...i think you will find the majority were hard working decent law abiding citizens, a few obviously may have spoiled things but the question arises why they have indeed been pushed to such lengths in the very first place.
The quicker our gov't realises and listens to us just for one split second then the better.
Until then thugs and rednecks whatever you may wish to call them will continue to show their feeling.
We all know who the real enemy within are,sorry i will not be blinkered by this sad state of affairs and neither will many other onlookers.
re: Police Thuggery Little Richardjohn - 98th post - 20 Sep 2004 11:40
I think you will find that the vast majority of people on most demonstrations are decent law-abiding.. etc etc.
It doesn't stop them being labelled thugs by the Daily Mail, and it doesn't stop the police behaving as the police always do, which is to thump everything within reach if they feel threatened, and often if they don't.
The reason I say that the C.A. are the enemy within (apart from it again being Mailspeak for anyone opposing war and promoting change) is because of their innate hostility to any notion of progress or collective responsibility. A hostility to the very idea of society. If it was left to this political faction, our society would not exist. From the abolition of slavery through votes for women to the NHS, these are the constant opponents of progress. The sturdy English Yeomen of yore who refuse to be pushed around by a 'Westminster elite' - namely the democratically elected government. They were the ones who attacked parliament, not the million strong anti-war demonstrators, who could easily have brought down this government if they'd thought of it, or maybe had less respect for the institution in general.
A million people on the streets can bring down any government in the world. But in a democratic society (if this is a democratic society), to do that is undemocratic. Therefore, those who choose to do it are an enemy of the system. Whether their reasons for doing so are 'right' or 'wrong' is a matter for individual assessment. And the only statistics we have to make an assessment in this case are the repeated opinion polls which show a stable 2/3rds majority in favour of a ban, and the re-election with an increased majority of a government which everyone knew was committed to a ban. I think that makes this one a no-brainer.
Defining a thug is more difficult, I admit, but it is the argot of the tabloids, which is why I used it, so you should ask them to define it for you.
Perhaps 'Blackshirts' would have been a more apt term for what we're talking about here. Or rural rednecks - for such a thing does exist in this country, only we don't like to talk about it. Even when someone like Fred West brings it forcefully to our attention.
Let's call them a gang of young men who have been deluded into thinking that they are being persecuted by a mysterious conspiracy of alien forces, but who are actually being manipulated by a few vested interests into putting their brawn on the front line of a false dispute. They have nothing to gain from their actions. So maybe they enjoy it. A lot of the people I've seen mixing it at demos over the years seemed to be having a whale of a time, unless they were on the receiving end, and that includes the police. People who enjoy being violent as long as they are hurting someone and not being hurt themselves. This makes them thugs, in my book. And if the decent law abiders are cheering them on, it makes them thugs too.
A ban on fox-hunting would open up huge commercial opportunities for OPEN drag hunting. Anyone who could ride a horse would in theory be able and willing to take part in what is one of the most exhilerating days out anyone could hope to enjoy, and one which is denied to thousands because 1. They don't own a horse, and 2. They don't enjoy killing things for the sake of it. So the idea that a ban would inevitably destroy the rural economy is garbage. MORE people would ride to hounds than ever, and this is the clue to the hostility. The countryside would, if it got its act together, be 'swamped' with townies and lower class oiks parading about as if they owned the place. Awful people. And for the people who run the hunts, this would never do, in spite of the rewards to the general rural population.
You would find that some of the larger landowners would reveal themselves as the Dogs in the Manger they are when they banned drag hunts from their land. Simply out of spite.
This in spite of the fact that their hunts have been trampling over and ruining the gardens and smallholdings of the rural working class for generations.
As to why they feel the way they do. I think you can look to the last knockings of British rural feudalism to answer that one. There is still a rigid power structure in the country. A system of unofficial patronage and boycott in which all sorts of transactions are on an informal nod and a wink basis. And if you are the one doing the nodding, you play ball or get in trouble, or at least end up without the seasonal work you depend on, or the loan of the tractor you were promised, or the deal to build that extension goes to your rival in the next village. And feudalism is, as you know, the kissing cousin of fascism, which has a long and venerable history of depending upon the decent middle class for support.
I don't carry any torch for Tony Blair, and any way he chooses to destroy himself is OK by me, but we should be under no illusions about the nasty political tendencies at work here.
Update. Feb 08. You read it here first.
Hunting Ban Sparks Rural Boom