By Vitaly Kuzmin (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
When the headlines rang out in the morning papers that Boris Johnson had bought water cannon to maintain the safety of London streets the contempt he and other senior politicians have for the electorate became glaringly obvious.
That the need for this intense level of crowd control had never been proven on mainland Britain speaks volumes about the manner in which we handle freedom of speech and peaceful protest. In protests last year the police introduced the tactic of “Kettling” the demonstrators without the need for forceful assaults of the kind these horrendous weapons can inflict.
Indeed some police forces are showing real concern at this new development in crowd control as, rightly so, they believe it will change dramatically the relationship between police and the public. It is accepted that there are aggressive elements at demonstrations who simply like to disrupt and be aggressive, but they are not the majority. Water cannon go beyond the line of democratic action in a country that is the home of free speech and will introduce greater aggression by protesters as their frustration to make a point is further diminished.
The timing could also not be worse, as people continue their anger at the increasing surveillance society our own GCHQ seem to be spearheading across the globe. If water cannon are the ultimate contempt for democracy then surveillance has to be the ultimate hypocrisy, as it is obvious government can hand out being spied upon but can’t take it themselves!
But there is a more sinister theme running beneath the surface and that is the mind-set of government ministers who seem to have little or no respect for the people that elected them to power. This is forcefully demonstrated by Boris Johnson’s actions over these water cannon. It appears, from press reports, that it was the ability to buy them on the cheap that motivated him, overriding concerns about the already poor relationship politicians have with the electorate and our history as responsible peaceful protestors. If this isn’t seemingly rubbing our noses in it with a vicious crowd control machine bought as a ‘job lot’ to score political points over Theresa May, I don’t know what is!
This is arrogant contempt of the most vile, offering a vivid insight into political thinking these days. I accept we are in an era of ‘career’ politicians and so any form of vision in directing this country is at a premium, but holding onto power at any price is now increasingly becoming the norm, of which this is a gesture of the most extreme.
All of this shortly after having to listen to Michael Gove pushing “British Values”, without having the first clue as to what he was talking about, something that became very evident after the launch of this latest sound bite. Well Messrs Johnson and Gove, let me tell you that “British Values” are about playing fairly with the people who put you and your mates into power, and there is an election next year.
I for one will be pushing for the electorate to only vote for minority parties and not the three main parties, whose time must now be coming to a close, as it becomes increasingly obvious how out of touch they are with the electorate. The country will not come to a grinding halt, as the Civil Service will continue their splendid job of running the administration of this country. Of course another election will have to be called to find a majority party but a powerful people generated kick up the backside will have been delivered to Parliament that MAY get you all thinking about the best interests of the electors, instead of politicians and their corporate sponsors.
Until the next time