Posts Tagged ‘Protest’

Corbyn’s lack of a political strategy is his achilles heel

21/07/2016, 01:25:52 PM

by Kevin Meagher

I didn’t vote for Jeremy Corbyn in last year’s Labour leadership contest and I won’t this time either. It’s not because I think he’s a bad man, I don’t. And it’s not because he’s wrong about everything, because he isn’t.

In fact, he is sincere and compassionate – commendable enough qualities in anyone. But for a political leader that’s just not enough. The problem is that his ‘politics of hope’ – important and refreshing though it is – just isn’t tempered by the politics of realism.

Labour people should know by now that it isn’t enough simply to make the moral case that some injustice or other should be ended. The British people are practical. They want to know exactly what you intend to do and how you will pay for it.

Jeremy Corbyn fails on this score miserably. Calamitously, in fact. There is an empty space where, by now, he should have sketched the outlines of a new programme for Labour. All he seems capable of offering is slightly tweaked variant of the same stump speech he has been making for 30 years.

His biggest weakness though – and one his querulous parliamentary colleagues have let him get away with for the past year – is that he has nothing resembling a political strategy about how Labour puts its values into practice and wins the next general election.


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Don’t disparage direct action: it works

03/04/2011, 10:43:09 AM

by Conrad Landin

It’s always a shame to see people on the left talking down our achievements just so they can prove their point. But this was exactly how I felt reading Dan Hodges’ argument that the rally last Saturday was “ruined” by the direct action taken against businesses in the West End.

Seeing smashed windows and paint-splattered police helmets weren’t my only memories of Saturday. And nor were these the only aspects picked up on by the media. The night before, for instance, saw the BBC talking to rather unorthodox protesters in the home counties, while live coverage during the day included the memorable aerial footage of the sheer scale of the crowds. Sky News’s subtitles – at least for some time – bore the simple words “250,000 on protest march”, or something to that effect.

In an age of sensationalised media, where it seems that, in the rather unfortunate words of Ken Livingstone’s reference to knife crime, “if it bleeds, it leads”, such attention for a peaceful protest isn’t bad going. (more…)

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UK Uncut was always going to spoil Labour’s party, but we invited them in

29/03/2011, 07:00:01 AM

by Dan Hodges

By the time you read this I will just have completed my morning’s shopping. First, I’m popping into Fortnum and Mason. Unlike the majority of public school anarchists who were trashing the place on Saturday, I can’t afford a full hamper, so I’ll probably settle for a nice jar of strawberry jam. Then I’m planning to wander down to Topman. Not too sure what I’ll pick up there, seeing as I haven’t been in a Topman since Mark Harrison’s fifteenth birthday party back in 1984. I think I bought something grey. To me grey was, and still is, the new black. I was part of the south east London greyblock.

These are, I concede, small gestures. But there are times one has to take stand. Fight the power. Face up to the man.

At the moment I’m a lone voice. But I have high hopes of blossoming into a fledgling movement. UK Half Cut. Or Half Baked. Something like that.

Meanwhile, as I await the flood of applications to my new, organic, grassroots protest group, (I hope I can get a few  grandmothers who have never protested before; the BBC love those), I must proffer an apology. (more…)

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Protest is not the preserve of the young.

17/02/2011, 02:00:22 PM

by Victoria Williams

We all know what a protester looks like. They are long-haired, middle class, vegan, university students who wear woolly jumpers and read the Guardian. Look at the comments on the Mail Online and you’ll discover that they are also “lentil munching yoghurt knitters”. And so they may be. And so what?

The stereotype has been around for decades, and, though irritating to serious political activists, it has generally been harmless enough. Until now. Now protest matters again, and so does our perception of those who participate in it. The problem with our commonly held view of activists is that, as with so many stereotypes, it is simply not correct. The faces we’ve seen at demonstrations in London and throughout the UK in the last few months have come from all backgrounds (and have sported a variety of fetching hair styles and fashionable alternatives to the knitted jumper). And while we can laugh off silly assertions about hair and fashion sense, the enduring belief that those engaging in political protest are all very young is more pernicious. (more…)

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Protest or power? We can’t have both.

16/11/2010, 10:30:03 AM

by Dan Hodges

My old generalissimo at the GMB, John Edmonds, used to have a nice line on demos. “If we’re going to have a march, lets make sure it’s a public demonstration of our strength, not our weakness”.

Watching the pictures of Millbank Tower being invaded by a hoard of rampaging journalists, the odd student anarchist in tow, I was reminded of those words. In terms of numbers and organization, last Wednesday’s protest was impressive. It has been a while since the unions managed to get 50,000 on the streets in support of a single issue.

Nor did the unfortunate dénouement at Tory HQ appear to undermine public support. A Sunday Times poll found that 65% of those questioned backed the demonstration, an even higher number than opposed the government’s policy on tuition fees. The issue dominated the media, captured the Parliamentary agenda, and energised the movement. A triumph of direct action.

But a counter-productive one. Set aside the violence, indefensible though it was. What was alarming wasn’t the spasm of aggression. Or the lack of awareness of potential damage to a wider cause. It was the sheer enthusiasm. The love of protest. (more…)

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Fastest anti-budget protest?

22/06/2010, 07:28:29 PM

By 6pm this evening, banner-waving protesters were already massed outside Camden town hall in north London.

Surely, they must be the first to have taken to the streets against the budget?

Even more so, they won’t be last.

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