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Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Demonstrations don't count half as much as votes

Paul Mason reprises a Remoanian whine in the Guardian today; they may have lost the vote, our Article 50 letter is good to go, our negotiating teams are primed but still he clutches at the most feeble of straws. Demonstrations matter, he says, because they lay the ground for future electoral victories. Thus NHS and pro-EU protesters will see no easy victory now, but will score unexpected wins in the future.

To a point, Lord Copper. Was the Brexit vote then a delayed effect of the Countryside march, the first I ever attended? It was as much a protest about the disregard of the elite Metropolis for the rurality as about hunting, and until the Iraq march was the biggest ever seen in London, dwarfing the recent piddling little NHS and pro-EU huddles. And what of the anti-Blair march, the second of my lifetime (and probably the last)? Did the size and scale of this presage the overwhelming destruction of the Labour Party, it's utter unelectability for all time? 

Yes, the pendulum will swing back again. It always does. But not because of enfeebled radicals such as Mason calling fewer and fewer ageing followers onto the streets. Generational change will drive a future political rebalance. Demonstrations are really no more influential than a successful pop song or blockbuster TV series. It's universal suffrage and the secret ballot that really bring change - both of them striking fear into the hearts of the Illiberals. 

Let me fix that strapline for you, Paul ..


DeeDee99 said...

As a Marxist, Mason has no respect for democracy; he believes that only a popular revolution will create a fair society. He's a nasty, left-wing extremist, rabble-rouser who is given far too much opportunity in our media to spout his divisive drivel.

Span Ows said...

DeeDee99 has it: Mason the Marxist is a shady extremist.

Re Countryside March, yes, a great day that everyone - including police - tried to make out was 3 or 4 hundred thousand. I have been in enough football and rugby matches to know they got those numbers were very badly (intentionally?) underestimated.

There was wide column of people covering almost the entire route for several hours...I'd say far more than the Iraq war protest, which was a million or so (OK...according to 'official figures'!)

Poisonedchalice said...

As Jonathan Pie aptly puts it in his excellent rant on why Brexit and Trump happened, he states that labelling people as racist or homophobic or stupid is hardly ever going to win them over and hurling insults at them won't endear them to the cause either. As a career technology salesman, I cannot think of a single customer that I won over by calling them stupid for not buying my products or solutions. The Illiberal elitists need to go home and think again!

Budgie said...

"... our Article 50 letter is good to go ..."

Yes, 9 months on. No wonder Theresa May never had children - it's meant to be 9 months pregnancy, not 9 months foreplay.

You think Article 50 has already caused trouble? Wait until you see what the EU can do to us because of it. Even Mrs May can see some of it, when she says that no deal is better than a bad deal.

If the EU are so blind and truculent they wouldn't give Cameron a deal he could sell to us, then the EU is sure not going to give May a good deal now. The net result is we've just lost 9 months for no reason.

Article 50 should have been recognised as the trap it is by all eurosceptics, not just a few of us. Then it may have been possible to influence the PTB to actually take control of any negotiations, rather than being purely reactive. We will end up in the same place but it will take 3 times longer and will be much more messy, and will leave us weaker.

Tony Harrison said...

I too attended both Countryside Marches. They achieved nothing. The "secret ballot" achieves remarkably little too, under our system weighted in favour of the status quo - a permanent duopoly of Lab/Con who take it in turns then get together in one of Westminster's many bars for a few laughs over taxpayer-subsidised booze. Me, cynical? After voting UKIP since the late '90s I might just about have given up, to concentrate on my personal interests and do my best to forget about politics. And Radders's "new people's party" is fine, sure - but it's been tried, and can't work for the reason I just gave.

John Brown said...

"Yes", as I emailed Lord Bragg, a Remainer and presenter of the R4 programme "In our Time" after the first Lord's EU Exit Bill amendments votes :

"Lord Bragg
In our Time

A possible subject for a programme would be how Henry VIII used the royal prerogative powers to break from Rome and the Papacy and how this led eventually to the age of reason and scientific methods, a global trading empire and the Industrial Revolution.

This was despite Henry VIII essentially remaining a catholic himself, despite the country being told that it would suffer dire consequences culminating in the Spanish Armada and despite attempts by remainers, such as Bloody Mary and Guy Fawkes, to keep the country catholic and under the control of Rome."

I see that Ms Sturgeon is becoming Mary Queen of Scots, Tim Farron Guy Fawkes and Anna Soubry Bloody Mary.