karen2205: Me with proper sized mug of coffee (Default)
Karen ([personal profile] karen2205) wrote2011-04-01 08:00 pm

Policial rambling

Feeling both that I disagree with a lot of the policital points being made and the means of making them within online circles of people I know whilst also seeking approval from others. The two don't go together. I've misplaced whatever it is that enables me to be a good lone voice or a good dissenting view. So, in an attempt to find some of that again:-

1. I think public spending cuts are inevitable in the current economic climate.

2. I don't agree with where some of the cuts are falling as there seems to be a disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable in society.

3. Whilst I agree that everyone (companies and people) should pay the tax they owe, I consider that it's an enormous oversimplification of several different issues to suggest that unpaid tax from particular large corporations magically fixes the national debt or removes the need for public spending reductions.

4. I agree people have the right to protest by marching through the streets if they want. But I'm pissed off at the justifications I'm seeing for damaging property. No, it's not OK. And beyond that, I find it very hard to understand why people put themselves in harms way like this to make this particular point. If we know the police will use 'kettling' and we can reasonably assume within a very large event that there will be small groups of people out to cause trouble, then why join a protest march?

5. I'm reasonably happy with the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition so far. [There are individual decisions I would criticise, but over all they're not bad].
arkady: Close-up of self with red hair. (Default)

[personal profile] arkady 2011-04-01 10:01 pm (UTC)(link)
People go on the march in spite of the risks of police brutality, kettling and maybe getting caught by the vandalism and violence of the black bloc anarchists that have been using the marches as cover for their acts because at the end of the day, they feel strongly enough about the issues that they want to stand up and be counted, That won't happen if they sit tamely at home.
fluffymormegil: @ (Default)

[personal profile] fluffymormegil 2011-04-02 09:04 am (UTC)(link)
I would expect that some of the peaceful protesters last weekend turned up precisely because the police use "kettling", quite simply to make the point that it will not shut people up.
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[personal profile] daweaver 2011-04-03 11:02 am (UTC)(link)
For the record, and to avoid any claims of covert bias, this comment comes from a card-carrying Lib Dem member. Opinions are my own, and probably don't chime with any party policy.

1. I think public spending cuts are inevitable in the current economic climate.

I agree. So did Alistair Darling, who proposed cuts of this scale at the election last year, just a year later. The question was all about scale and timing, and whether there should be more emphasis on taxation than the Conservatives propose.

2. I don't agree with where some of the cuts are falling as there seems to be a disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable in society.

This matter requires a good amount of nuance, because the more vulnerable tend to rely more on social support (whether through the government or other bodies) than the better-off. I suspect that if there were a way of taking services away from people in equal amounts per recipient, then an awful lot of middle-class benefits would go, schools and health would really suffer, and the government would be unpopular amongst the people who really support them. Maintaining services so that everyone feels like they get something for their taxes, and no-one is left unable to live an independent life, that's really difficult. It's almost inevitable that there will be some clear losers, and I don't think the government's done quite enough to identify and ameliorate the problems.

3. Whilst I agree that everyone (companies and people) should pay the tax they owe, I consider that it's an enormous oversimplification of several different issues to suggest that unpaid tax from particular large corporations magically fixes the national debt or removes the need for public spending reductions.

I fear that this debate has been made murky. If I recall correctly, it began when it emerged that Vodaphone had struck a deal with the tax office, so that it would only pay £1000m of its £6000m tax bill. Other companies are believed to have struck similar deals. This much is clearly unfair, clearly wrong, and it's entirely right that Questions are Asked.

But the debate's spread its tentacles, looking at companies that structure their affairs with the explicit aim of minimising their tax bills in many countries. The way they effectively ship profits from the UK (corporation tax: 26%) to Ireland (tax: 12½%) or a Caribbean tax haven (tax: 0%). That's too big for any one government to address, and international negotiations are taking place.

There's a further proposal by the people behind last weekend's march: a tax on the financial industry, specifically, on currency transactions. If I understand them correctly, the unions acknowledge the fact that Labour's spending boom was built, in part, on an unsustainable banking bubble. So their one tax-raising idea is to extract money from the banks in a manner that's equally unsustainable, and will itself delay the recapitalisation of the banks and further delay the resumption of normal lending. Excellently joined-up thinking there.

4. I agree people have the right to protest by marching through the streets if they want. But I'm pissed off at the justifications I'm seeing for damaging property. No, it's not OK. And beyond that, I find it very hard to understand why people put themselves in harms way like this to make this particular point. If we know the police will use 'kettling' and we can reasonably assume within a very large event that there will be small groups of people out to cause trouble, then why join a protest march?

My hackles are really raised by this "kettling" tactic; it's doing an awful lot to divide the police from the people. Once the citizenry withdraws its consent for the police to exist, then a lawless anarchy reigns and it's everyone for themself. The sooner a competent court realises the danger in this tactic, the better. The sooner the police remember that they are part of the citizenry, and can only exist with the consent of the community, the better.

On the general point, I've never understood the purpose of marches. It seems to be exclusively a left-wing phenomenon, an excuse for trade unions to say that they exist and to support themselves, but at the price of inconveniencing an awful lot of people, and taking a remarkably large amount of effort per column-inch of coverage. Surely there's a better, less labour-intensive, way of garnering publicity for their message?

5. I'm reasonably happy with the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition so far. [There are individual decisions I would criticise, but over all they're not bad].

My main beef with Labour was their mile-wide authoritarian streak, doing away with the very freedoms that jihadist extremists wish to destroy. The government has addressed the most egregious violations of personal freedom, and there are plans for this process will continue through the parliament.

That's not to say that everything in the garden is rosy - the healthcare reforms I think are wrong, the change in student funding suffered from abysmal presentation, the "free schools" policy is at least badly explained and probably badly broken. But saying "I wouldn't start from here" is easy; actually moving so that we're not here is much more difficult.

Sorry that this isn't going to help so much with your quest for dissent.
reddragdiva: (Default)

[personal profile] reddragdiva 2011-04-03 03:37 pm (UTC)(link)
While funding cuts were likely inevitable, it is nevertheless accurate to say that the money is being transferred pretty much directly from the cut programmes to Vodafone et al - the place in the middle being general revenue. Thus, speaking of programme cuts in terms of percentages of a Vodafone is actually meaningful. This does obscure the issue.

[identity profile] valkyriekaren.livejournal.com 2011-04-01 07:23 pm (UTC)(link)
I find it very hard to understand why people put themselves in harms way like this to make this particular point. If we know the police will use 'kettling' and we can reasonably assume within a very large event that there will be small groups of people out to cause trouble, then why join a protest march?

You don't think trying to speak out on behalf of the vulnerable is worth a certain level of personal risk?
lovingboth: (Default)

[personal profile] lovingboth 2011-04-01 07:33 pm (UTC)(link)
Yes, this is the bit that I found most eyebrow raising.

There are people (looking at the Mail/Express/Sun et al in particular) who delight in talking up this 'ooh, there'll be trouble, won't it be awful, don't go' / 'two people chucked something - entire protest invalidated!' angles for their own(ers') political reasons.

I was on JA duty last Saturday, but if I'd gone, I'd have taken a folding stool etc. Plus followed the 'what's happening where' feeds.

[identity profile] valkyriekaren.livejournal.com 2011-04-01 09:46 pm (UTC)(link)
I think if the police managed to jam the mobile telephone and 3G networks of the whole of Central London (which I doubt they have the capability or indeed legal right to do), there would be such a colossal outcry that we wouldn't need any more protests - the Government would be overthrown within days.

[identity profile] emarkienna.livejournal.com 2011-04-01 09:52 pm (UTC)(link)
What forms of campaigning? Of course, I realise there are other ways - but I think protest still has a place as one useful form of campaigning.

Most of the time it won't change policy, but nor will any other methods I know of. Sometimes policy can be changed. I think a side benefit of protesting is that it raises awareness of the issues, which may lead to more people supporting you.

[identity profile] valkyriekaren.livejournal.com 2011-04-01 09:44 pm (UTC)(link)
Why pick ONE at all? You seem to be presenting a false dichotomy - or trichotomy, if you will - that there are people who are 'armchair activists' who write to newspapers and their MPs, people who are community advocates as you describe above, and people who go on demonstrations. I don't think you can these activities as disparate and divorced from each other - they feed into and complement each other, and very often it's the same people doing all three things! I'm a charity worker, I lobby my MP on issues that matter to me, and I go on marches and demos when I can. I very much doubt I'm alone in this - or in thinking that all these things are worthwhile, and within my rights.

[identity profile] mirrorshard.livejournal.com 2011-04-01 07:29 pm (UTC)(link)
Mm, interesting. I think I see where you're coming from.

1. By 'economic climate' do you mean strictly economic, or political? If you mean "any set of politicians we might actually have are going to make some cuts no matter what" then I can certainly agree with you.

2. I haven't seen any that wouldn't, but then I'm acutely aware that the poorest & most vulnerable depend on public services much more than the rich do. It's possible that I'm too close to the issue to be entirely rational, but the cuts to (for instance) libraries and education funding, and the raised university fees, are explicitly going to affect me and people close to me very badly.

3. I agree as phrased, but I don't think many people are saying that it would; in my view at least, it's simply proof that the proposed cuts are ideologically based rather than economically, because if they were really looking for cost savings rather than looking for cut excuses they would attempt to maximise income rather than letting vast amounts of fiscal revenue drain away into offshore tax havens.

4. Absolutely - vandalism is not OK. It's also not necessary. As for why people go on protest marches under those circumstances, I think it's a primal instinct - putting ourselves in harm's way is more or less a Platonic ideal way to highlight and protest the illegitimacy of that harm. Staying at home to avoid police violence (and the lesser violence from vandal protestors) seems like tacitly acknowledging the right of the police to commit violence.

5. Fair enough - can't argue with someone's priorities and taste. Personally, the way they're destroying so much social infrastructure and effectively asset-stripping my nation makes me sick to my stomach with despair.

[identity profile] emarkienna.livejournal.com 2011-04-01 09:45 pm (UTC)(link)
If we know the police will use 'kettling' and we can reasonably assume within a very large event that there will be small groups of people out to cause trouble, then why join a protest march?

Isn't this a problem though - if people are deterred from peaceful protest themselves, out of fear of the police action?

(I don't disagree with the rest of your post btw, this bit just stuck out to me. Lib Dems are still the party closest to my views, even if I don't like everything they've done, and I like Julian Huppert.)
reddragdiva: (Default)

[personal profile] reddragdiva 2011-04-03 04:56 pm (UTC)(link)
Kettling is cool with the teenagers. A's daughter reports kids bullshitting and bragging about going to a march and being kettled. It's a mark of social pride. This lot will be voting in 2015.

[identity profile] xeqikaon.livejournal.com 2011-04-12 10:28 pm (UTC)(link)
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[identity profile] fruit-boy.livejournal.com 2011-05-22 05:31 pm (UTC)(link)
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