civil unrest

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

First outbreak of action on the streets as the reality of cuts becomes apparent: fuelling the anger is of course Nick Clegg’s volte face – in April 2010 the Liberal Democrats pledged to oppose and indeed, if elected, remove charging for student fees. In private the NUS of course opposes any violence but I bet it’s probably well pleased with having made it to the top of all today’s new bulletins. Still wondering what will be Cameron’s poll tax moment, not student fees but more likely something to be perceived as an attach on the NHS or maybe something completely different out of the blue. The French have a proud record of civil disobedience although this time the, the French parliament voted in favour of am increase in retirement age. If The Countryside Alliance and the SWP find common cause, the Coalition will know that it’s in real trouble. Will the Coalition be dusting off the civil unrest plans from 1984? [note: the orinal title of the George Orwell book was to have been 1948 but his friends in the newly elected Labour government pressed him and his publishers to retitle] Perhaps, but I bet there’s already been a COBRA meeting to discuss the implications and that chief constables are ensuring that they have adequate supplies of tear-gas and rubber bullet. The Met were badly taken by surprise today or did they ignore intelligence in the desire that something would develop that would help their own campaign against the cuts: if social unrest does become a feature of civil society, the thin blue line well be tested as it was in 1984. Will Downing Street be seeking to create a national police force if individual chief constables don’t toe the official line? Probably not, Margaret Thatcher could not do  it although for a short time there was a flying squad put together (uniformed minus  force or rank insignia)  that were set into action against the miners and brought back into action the following year for the Battle of The Beanfield. This flying squad was expensive since it comprised police volunteers from around the UK who were well paid for their  additional  duties and bought new cars or put down house deposits from their unanticipated lucre.

I’ve met people from all sides (there were more than two) who were the Battle of The Beanfield, and over the years I’ve been the kind of person that people talk to. Guess I just have that kind of face but its less dangerous than being on the Road to Basra or in the protests that marked the Velvet Revolution. Local news – it would appear that Frome will lose its two PCSOs so the thin blue line is getting thinner already…

Every time I see the reports of French civil disturbance, I wonder what it might take to set this country alight part of the Thatcher years  strategy to make unrest difficult was by the simple expedient of home’ ownership’ (nobody is a home owner while they have a mortgage, look at the small print) whereas this government seems determined to reduce the numbers of home ‘owners’ thus creating an even larger shiftless population who are stake holders in nothing. Perhaps the state will withhold benefit fromj anyone involved in civil disturbance? Doubt it will be too difficult to identify from the video footage thus proving that those involved were not actively seeking work. The regulatory framework is there already, let’s hope nobody thinks to use benefit suspension/disqualification it as a tool for civil order control.

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