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Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Their Protests and Ours: the Middle East and Middle England

It's many years since I went on a demo and I'd find it hard now to mobilise the mixture of indignation and exhibitionism which used to make it possible.

I never got arrested and never tried to, though it seems that is now something you are supposed to do. It's what makes the difference between a protest and a parade, though both are nice little earners for the police. So much so that the police busily encourage them all. This should be investigated: there is clearly a conflict of interest between the police's duty to maintain public order and their regard for their payslips.

If I'm to be honest, then I have to say that I despise the annual (September) charade of French street protests, and that I don't have much more sympathy for the bog standard UK protest. Ask yourself the question, What is the ratio between positive results achieved and expenditure of energy (and police manpower)? In the recent past, only Tax Uncut can give an upbeat answer to that question. But spoilt brat demonstrators simply don't care about success.

An objectionable remark by one Canadian police officer has now given indignant exhibitionists everywhere an excuse and we now have Slut Walking. Whatever.

Our protests are not like those in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, Bahrain - even Saudi Arabia. We don't live under despotic and cruel regimes. We can vote but most of us can't be bothered, though if we do we vote for the status quo, give or take a bit.

It would show a bit of solidarity with those taking real risks in the Middle East if we gave them a clear run for the world's attention and suspended our own demonstrations, let's say for a year.

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