Apparently there are Confidential documents circulating around Whitehall: contingency plans for dealing with what this government and the police expect to be a ‘Summer of Discontent’. It seems the middle-classes have awoken from their comatose state fed by endless TV repeats of Poirot or Midsomer Murders and are Ready to Rage.
Bravo! Bring it on.
For well over five years I’ve been predicting the uprising of what I call “Citizens’ Action” - the bringing-together of small single-interest groups united by that mantra from the movie Network: “We’re mad as Hell, and we’re not going to take it anymore”. Politicians, of course, would call it civil unrest.
I detected the first rumblings about ten years ago, when those distinguished and genteel ladies of the W.I. slow-handclapped Tony Blair whilst giving an overtly political speech at their conference, which specifically requested a non-political one.
Clap, clap, clap. The look on his face: baffled, bewildered, keep that smile up Tone - “hey, why you doing this? It’s only me, an ordinary kinda guy, you know?".
Clap, clap, clap. And this was the Women’s Institute - jam and Jerusalem, right down to their knitted cardies, wouldn’t say ‘boo’ to a goose. But they gave our Tone a good hand-job.
After that emerged Fathers-4-Justice, the pent-up rage of certain fathers denied access to their own children. The jaunts of Spiderman clinging onto Tower Bridge or Batman on a ledge at Buck House or the purple-powdered condom thrown at Blair in the House of Commons may have seemed futile or silly, but It Got them the Publicity. This was (at last) taking Action into the hands of people.
The one conclusion I was forced to draw from all this was: does it have to come to a point where one has to publicly shame and embarrass people into accountability? Answer: sadly, YES!
Running in parallel to Fathers4Justice (time-wise) for a while was the rise and the rallies of the Countryside Alliance, ostensibly protesting about the foxhunting ban; but this was really the focus for a whole groundswell of discontent from those who did not live in the urban conurbations and felt neglected and ignored by Tony Blair’s shiny bright New Labour dream.
Still, at least it did lead to some jolly rioting on the streets of London and lots of photo-opportunities embarrassing the caring-sharing Government of the day. All those truncheons cracking against tweed-clad bones, the bleeding head wounds…not good.
Next, a couple of years ago, we had the blockading of the fuel depots by the farmers and lorry-drivers when it looked like an ‘unacceptable’ petrol rise was imminent. Panic at the pumps?, yes. Gridlock?, sure. But Gordon Brown, then-Chancellor, capitulated and didn’t raise the fuel duty that Autumn.
And just a few weeks ago we had more blockades, this time in Scotland. Workers chanting the words first coined by Brown himself “British jobs for British workers”. This is the mantra that will carry us through the Summer. These are the lies we live with in the UK.
Let’s face it: we mean nothing to the politicians. We are the shit caught between the cracks in their soles. They despise us and view us with contempt. They tell us “you have a powerful weapon in your vote” and “be thankful, we live in a democracy”.
Pure bollocks, of course. Do they see our sneers?
Wouldn’t it be interesting if some form of genuine Proportional Representation came into effect and suddenly everyone either refused to vote or ticked a box on the ballot paper ‘None of the Above’?; or voted en-masse for Anarchism, or for the BNP?
Now That would be a true democracy, however-much one disagreed with the result.
But in this genteel, crumbling country, where under Tony Blair "we are all middle-class now", we have Middle-Class Rage: “we’re mad as Hell and we’re not going to take it anymore”. Citizens’ Action….about bloody time!
It will be interesting to see if (when?) the Power workers come out on strike sometime during this coming year. Why? Because whenever this has happened in the past, normally the Government bring out the troops to cover.
But where are the troops this time? They’re in bloody Afghanistan or Iraq or elsewhere. Stitch that, Broon!
Let the jam-makers unite. Bring on the chaos!