Ok so I’ll just start with the simple mechanics of why the police wouldn’t have lost control as spectacularly as they did on March 31st, 1990. In 1990 police were beset by unreliable radios and a system where it could easily take 10 minutes to get any message to the commanders and back. This meant that it was almost impossible to move at the same speed as the protesters.
The Poll Tax Riot in London was also one of the first examples of kettling being used during a protest, and certainly the first example of kettling being used on a crowd of that size. It was doomed to fail, the police had no idea how the tactic would work, and when the levee broke, as it were, the police weren’t in a position to stop the crowds that now swelled all over Central London. The poor tactics combined with unreliable communication allowed that marchers to seize the initiative and divide the police.
More than that, the latest polls indicate that there is still majority support for the cuts - although personally I doubt that this is going to hold for very long, and the reality is that once the axe falls on April 6th, the support for the cuts will plummet once millions of people realise what it really means to them. At the moment the cuts are still just headlines in newspapers, very little has actually been cut. That’s about to change. By contrast, the Poll tax was hideously unpopular - opinion polls at the time indicated as much as 98% opposition to it.
In terms of people realising the impact; The Poll Tax was a fixed amount, from the point of Thatcher announcing the tax, it was clear to everyone what it meant - everyone could see in black and white how much it was costing them and how unfair it was. However the slightly, the cuts debate is more nuanced, many people still believe that the cuts are the only option, many people still hold the Labour Party responsible for the cuts, and many still subscribe to George Osborne’s empty rhetoric of us all being in this together.
Bringing down the government? By 1990 Thatcher was pretty much Britain’s most unpopular Prime Minister, she was increasingly being attacked not just by the Labour Party and the left, but by the Tories and the Tory press as well. It was already the end of her time, and she just finished it off by supporting a policy, and forcing her MPs to defend a policy that was so unpopular that had it been effected properly it would have been tantamount to electoral suicide. That’s not the situation with the coalition, the cuts are supported by the majority of Tory MPs, they are not yet so unpopular that it seems tantamount to suicide.
So for all those reasons and many more, yesterday never was going to bring down a government. Yesterday was never even going to illicit a U-turn from Cameron. It was ignored.
The rhetoric. All this ‘Turn Trafalgar Sq into Tahrir Sq’ stuff. It’s actually kind of unpleasant, and certainly rather insulting.
Sure. We’re having a protest. But let’s face the facts - Cameron is elected, he’s been there 10 months, and in that time there hasn’t been the institutionalised murder of dissenters, but I suppose there’s always time for a Blair Peach or two.
It’s not Tahrir Sq. This isn’t the English revolution. Cameron may not have a strong mandate. The cuts may well suck. But we aren’t Egyptians, campaigning for the end of a despot, so lets stop devaluing and trivialising the struggle and sacrifice of those in Egypt.
And we’re going to fail. We won’t win, we won’t change Cameron’s mind. We won’t change the coalition’s plans. They aren’t even listening.
So it seems like its too late for us to help the rebels. Gaddafi’s forces close on the rebel stronghold as you read this and I for one anticipate an utter bloodbath. I wanted to see Gaddafi gone, and ultimately I would have liked to see the Libyans do it.
Britain, France and the USA press for the UN to approve air strikes against Gaddafi. But this surely won’t be the end of the West’s military intervention - after planes there’ll be ground troops etc.
But the truth is that the West couldn’t have won. We created Gaddafi - and for that we must be ashamed. But it’s not for us to destroy him; the Libyan people, and the Arab world overall hates and distrusts the idea of western liberal interventionism, so if we parade in there and fight Gaddafi then we just look like we’re on a mission to grab Libya’s oil. And if we don’t? Well we look like we’re abandoning hundreds of thousands to their deaths - and we are. But I wish someone had thought of that when they sold Gaddafi all those arms.
And more than that? If we intervene there’ll still be a civil war, and there’ll also be a question of who we replaced Gaddafi with. We will potentially just help create the next Gaddafi - and in the long term I doubt we want that on our consciences.
Oh and the USA and the UK just stink of hypocrisy anyway, turning a blind eye to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain’s protests and the brutal treatment of protesters there - with the weapons Cameron sold them when he was out in the Middle East. We never learn.
I dunno, there’s something pretty ugly about tearing the shit out of a 13 year old girl? It’s not really a sport unless she knew the rules as well, and I’m not sure that she really did. Otherwise it’s just like fox-hunting or something.
But then again, if you must put something that vile on the internet, then why not?
The privatisation of the NHS amounts to the redistribution of wealth from the poorest in society to the richest.
We all pay our taxes, and now, when the tax revenue that previously went to the NHS goes to private companies who will doubtless be handed massive contracts to provide services, some of our taxpayers money will go to paying the multi-million salaries of the CEOs of these companies.
Look at Serco, a company that does almost nothing other than fulfill contracts given to them by the last Labour government. Our tax money goes to pay the salary of Serco’s CEO, who last year took home £4,000,000.
We hear about these so called ‘council fatcats’ who take home more than the Prime Minister (which is such an utterly meaningless statistic, but that’s a post unto itself), but nothing of how, under this new system, the tax payer will be lining the pockets of the super rich.
This government really does stink.