Monday, April 03, 2006

Are we lucky to be able to protest?

Here at BondBloke we don't do a whole lot of blogging of the type "go read this, it will improve you". Rather we seem to be happy enough to tell you what our views about the state of the world (and presumably, implicitly, we somehow think this might be improving or interesting or at least mildly diverting). Allow me to depart from this general practice just for once.

Over at The Quiet Road in a post about the PR problems of Condoleeza Rice's visit to Blackburn (too much protest and all that jazz), Jim writes about the relationship between protest and democracy:

[Rice] could answer this question… “what, in practical terms, is the difference between a regime that outlaws all protest and a regime that ignores all protest?” Being told that we are “lucky” to live in a democracy and have the right to protest is easily the most patronising thing a politician can say. It ignores the fact that “luck” has nothing to do with it, and that the “right to protest”, like all such rights, has been wrestled - spilling blood, sweat and tears - from those in authority by the protesters. She is paid by the people in order to serve the people. It’s time she thought about how lucky she is that we, the people, have given her the right to step down from power without the aid of a guillotine. The protesters are lucky to have their rights? I think not. Especially not when members of the ruling class feel comfortable patronising or ignoring them. Let them eat cake, eh Condi?

Indeed. It rather speaks for itself. But if I could just add one gloss. When did you last hear a democratically elected politician say: "I'm glad you came out to protest. Because it either [changed my policy/made me realise I was wrong/resulted in my stepping down from office] [delete as appropriate]." No, indeed. As Jim says, they say "I'm glad you came out to protest, because now I can say that I didn't stop you from doing that, but I have absolutely no intention of changing anything at all." Of course, we still have the sanction of voting people out of office. But will we take it here in the UK. Roll on 2009 I say! Let me at them.


Blogger Cliff said...

As one local authority in the NE said about their schools reorganisation, 'this is a consultation, not a referendum' ie. we'll go theough the motions of asking what you think then do what we want regardless. I think some kind of citizenship classes should be required for politicians to remind them of the point you make bondwoman that it's us that put them where they are and they serve us, not vice versa.

having said that there is another point of view to that of the blackburn protesters last week so they do not have the monopoly claim on the right to decide the issue either

I enjoy the thoughtful comments on here. it's all too complicated and I think I need more coffee...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006  
Blogger BondBloke said...

Cliff BondWoman sometime needs reminding that she is dealing with mere mortals - I think it time to give her a talking to about keeping things simple for us...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006  

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