News Feed

Monday, December 6, 2010


A few weeks ago some 2000 plus students supported by a few anarchist ‘black bloc’ foot soldiers broke away from the main student march, where some 50,000 of their fellow students were protesting the coalition governments proposed student fees increase, and attacked Millbank Tower where the Conservative Party have their headquarters. The ensuing battle, destruction of the first three floors, and the seemingly powerlessness of the police to stop them was the main news story of the day, with images of young students smashing windows and partying like its 1968 being flashed around the world.

Suddenly there was an energy and focus to anti cuts protests, to frustration at the state of the economy, bank bailouts and so on, but best of all a new new government was in power that had had nothing to do with creating the problem but which included the Conservatives and a few posh, vaguely right wing, mildly Thatcherite types. Marvellous. So when footage of the destruction of the Millbank Tower started filtering back to the BBC, The Guardian, Facebook, Twitter, Sky and a myriad of other news sources the left suddenly sat up and took notice. Though none more so than the old-chardonnay-quaffing-Hampstead-socialist-handwringing-luvvie-activist types that usually regale anyone who’ll listen to them about their battles on behalf of the miners, CND, and of course fighting the great Thatcher evil!

It’s as if England’s legions of left-leaning luvvies, trade unionists, self-styled radicals, May-Day-Stop-the-City-Reclaim-the-Streets-Anti Poll Taxers and failed revolutionaries had heard a sirens cry and woken up from a hibernation that had set in some time in the early 1990’s. Suddenly the sight of a few thousand young students smashing windows and scrapping with the police whilst chanting “Tory Scum, Tory Scum, You’d Better Run”, (this winters equivalent of the miners ‘Here we Go, Here We Go”), had acted like a mass dose of viagra and woken up the Left’s long dead members.

Yet just as a man who as been pretty much sexually inactive for years can be embarrassing if he suddenly starts showing off his new drug-induced prowess by chasing young girls, so to is the zeal with which the nations aging radicals have jumped on the students bandwagon, desperate to be ‘in’ with the kids. On the 10th November, the day that Milbank Tower was trashed, Michael White, the Guardian’s political columnist, could barely contain his excitement, “Right on cue, exactly six months into David Cameron's premiership, the ancient British roar of "Tory scum" echoed across central London again” he squealed.

More predictable was the reaction of rich radicals like Tariq Ali who described the government cut backs as ‘atrocities’ and linked the student protests to those in Greece, France and so on. For the Ali’s of this world exploiting any situation that threatens to destabilise the goverment or destroy his adopted country is di rigueur of course, particularly as Pakistan, the country of his birth, is such a shining example of democracy, fairness and social cohesion.

Equally predictable was the reaction of the ‘radical’ folk singer Billy Bragg, who, when he isn’t singing to ex miners, donating his guitars to prisoners or running the Tooting Popular Front, is frantically Tweeting his support and excitement at each new student action and no doubt penning some catchy ‘Tory Scum’ ditties for his next greatest hits album.

Bragg’s enthusiasm was as nothing though compared to Britain’s Polly Toynbee who has, in keeping with the excitement engendered by the current wave of protest, reinvented herself as Che Guevara. For on the 4th December comrade Toynbee, no doubt inspired by the students successes, led a charge of UK Uncut protesters into Oxford Street’s branch of Top Shop. Pictured online afterwards looking suitably disheveled, angry and somewhat confused, the Guardian’s answer to Rosa Luxemburg was at least showing her fellow Guardianistas that when it came to protest Toynbee was in a league of her own...

The most alarming and damning support for the students though has come from John Pilger, one of the left’s ghastliest and most egotistical grandees. Pilger, who like Michael Moore and Oliver Stone, has a ridiculously inflated opinion of his own importance, has decided that the coalition is undemocratic and that the students represent the will of the ‘people’. Maybe they do, though I doubt it, and typically of Pilger he has now elevated the  lamentable coalition of the Lib Dems and Conservatives into a dictatorship.

He writes, tears swelling up in his eyes;

Your action, and the action of your fellow students all over Britain, in standing up to a mendacious, undemocratic government is one of the most important and exciting developments in my recent lifetime. People often look back to the 1960s with nostalgia – but the point about the Sixties is that it took the establishment by surprise. And that's what you have done. Your admirable, clever, courageous actions have shocked and frightened a corrupt political class – coalition and Labour – because they know you have the support of the majority of the British people. It is you, the students on the streets – not the Camerons, Cleggs and Milibands – who are the authentic representatives of the people. Keep going. We need you. All power to you”.

Actually he needs you, and thousands like him need you, to live out their failed dreams, to fight the battles they never did, and just like the old man with with his memories of the women that might have been, they clutch at the students like a man clutches at his viagra for they both offer a chance to rekindle and reenact the failures of their youth.

Unfortunately for the Toynbees and Pilgers of this world there is nothing more embarrassing than the parent that wants to be ‘in‘ with kids. The father that wants to join in, the mother that wants to a ‘friend‘ to her daughter and her friends. The awful moment someone’s parent turns up at your club, or bar and sits down with you, because they want to be cool, to be young, to be ‘in’. But it can never be, the spectacle of sixty something Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee, leading a charge of Tax Avoidance protesters into Oxford Street’s Top Shop store was the ultimate embarrassing parent moment and for the first time held the new wave of protest up to ridicule.

The anarchist blog, ‘Anarchy in the UK’, wrote “Having Polly Toynbee on your side is worse than shooting an albatross. She supported the SDP….New Labour….Tony Blair………..Gordon Brown……Lib dems…………AAAARGH She’s a JONAH – we’re finished!”  Whilst umpteen other more radical sites are running caption competitions for the funniest speech bubbles to accompany the numerous pictures of the ‘revolutionary’ Toynbee in action.

What the students erstwhile supporters are doing is seeking to impose, exploit and interfere with the protests for their own ends and for their own gratification regardless of the consequences for the students. Many would as soon hand out petrol bombs and guns as they would advice if it served their purposes and helped bring about the revolution they have dreamed about for so long. The only likely result though of all this sexagenarian interference is not the collapse of the great coalition dictatorship, but rather that Toynbee, Pilger and co’s support will prove to be so ghastly that no self respecting protestor will want to be associated with them. In which case we can all shout “I’m a counter-revolutionary capitalist pig-dog get me out of here!” and go home.

No comments:

Post a Comment