Saturday, 20 October 2012

October 20th, 2012 - a demonstration which will achieve nothing

I write this, as someone who barely ever watches the TV news or reads the newspapers, having just learned of the anti-austerity protest in the capital.  Do I think it will achieve anything positive?  No.

Let's be clear on one thing: the government of the UK is a right-wing, Conservative government, slightly tempered by the centrist principles of the Liberal Democrats, and they did not vote themselves into power.  Protesting against the government and their policies is frankly laughable in this context, because I seriously doubt whether a large number of those protesting actually turned out to vote at election time, and probably never will.  In fact, voter apathy is the problem here, and no amount of protest will change that.

For some years now, UK governments have been highly aware of falling attendance at polling stations, and therefore able to act in the knowledge that it is not the will of the people that gave them their power; no, it was the will of the few who did vote - largely those whose interests are served by allegiance to a particular political ideology.  The majority of those eligible to vote stay away, complaining that "my vote does not make a difference".  Well, it does.  If you, the ordinary people, do not vote, the interests of the few will be put ahead of the interests of the many.

Yes, the government implements policies that affect us all, but they implement policies which give them a chance of winning the next election, being aware only of the needs of the few who will vote.  The best thing we can all do is to actually turn out and vote, sending the clear message that they must represent a whole country, not just the privileged few.  Maybe then, the government we elect will start acting in our interests.

The protest?  It will be far too easy for the government to dismiss it as a minority of trouble causers.  The likelihood is that it could, as many similar protests have done in recent years, descend into chaos at the hands of a few with no other motive than a propensity for violence, vandalism and disorder.  Ultimately, it will achieve little or nothing and will probably work against the cause it claims to support.  For the record, I hope I am wrong.

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