After the riots

Forty one police officers injured, and a number of other people. Eight required hospital treatment. Fifty people arrested.

This is not a trivial incident. Nor is it one which any government can afford to back down in response to.

I fully accept that the great majority of those who took part in the demonstration wanted nothing more than a peaceful protest. As well as by government ministers, those who orchestrated and took part in the violence have been condemned by Ed Balls on behalf of the opposition and by the president of N.U.S.

Their right to take part in a peaceful protest has been taken away, not by the government (which is in the process of relaxing some of the restrictions on protests near parliament which Labour had imposed) but by the thugs.

I note that a few idiots have attempted to semi-justify the violence by saying that as politicians have broken their promises on student fees, the protesters had been deprived of a way to obtain their wishes democratically. I would not endorse violence against any party headquarters, or indeed against police officers and employees of other bodies which happen to be in the same building. But even if one did, the flaw in that argument is in which party was attacked.

* In 1997 Labour was elected on a platform which included not introducing student fees, and then introduced them.

* In 2001 Labour was elected on a platform which included not increasing student fees, and then raised them with "top-up" fees.

* In 2010, the Lib/Dems signed the NUS pledge to vote against increasing student fees, a promise which it looks like most of them are about to break. (For the avoidance of doubt, in my view their mistake was making a promise which they should have known it might be impossible to keep.)

So which of the three main parties had the building housing their party HQ smashed up? That's right, the one which hasn't broken a promise on student fees.


Anonymous said…
What riots? what happened at Millbank was just a few idiots, the riots are yet to come.

The fundamental problem the public have is with Lib/Dems, the lies and deceit to get elected, then promptly doing a U-turn on all their policies and pledges simply to support the Tories.

If you went for a job interview and blatantly lied your way to getting the job how long would keep the job for? You'ld be promptly sacked and rightly so.
Will Mr Clegg and his cohorts be sacked, of course not they can stay on full pay for another 5 years.
Chris Whiteside said…
By no stretch of the imagination can that justify what happened at Millbank. And it wouldn't have justified it even if the Lib/Dem HQ had been attacked this time or Labour HQ after the 1979 and 2001 elections.

But at the end of five years, David Cameron, Nick Clegg, and Ed Miliband, and all their colleagues, will be up for election. The voters can and will judge their record as a whole and, if they wish, get rid of them.

It is an important part of a functioning democracy that the voters' clearly have the power to "throw the rascals out" and sometimes use it.
Tim said…
David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Ed Milliband...........what choice ! Multiple presentation of an almost identical point of view.
Anonymous said…
Voters judged the elected MP's based on their party's manifestos and the pledges each individual made.
If these MP's act contrary to the pledges they made then I can assure you the vast majority of the country will not consider them as "rascals" but as bare faced liars. They should be brought to account now not in 5 years time.
Jim said…
Just a little thought for the 2 previous comments.

You don't like your voting options, well that's ok, why dont you stand. you dont need to a member of any party to run for either council or westmister.
you could even form your own party if you like.

I dont like broken promises either, never have, but at the moment this is a coalition govenment.
coalition is a compromise, and at the best of times an ideal compromise suits no one.

The number one issue remains defecit and national debt reduction. This means cuts must be made. Cuts cause concern for us all. My new wife, is very likely to lose her job next month. If the cuts do not come now, then when? perhaps when its too late and we all lose any savings too, when the economy has crashed like that of zimbabwe and a loaf of bread costs £3000?
Anonymous said…
The Fraud Act 2006 effectively makes lying a criminal offense. The Act not only covers making a material gain (or infliction of loss) by deception but also applys to the intention to make that gain or inflict a loss via deception.
If those Lib/Deems who made those pledges vote for the rise is fees then they most certainly will be acting fraudulently.
Chris Whiteside said…
If you could find an effective way to draft a law which enabled politicians to be removed for blatantly breaking an election promise, people might be more careful what they promise, and that would be a good thing. But you couldn't introduce such a law retrospectively, and it would be very hard to draft.

I do hope to see the "recall" legislation on the statute book in this parliament, and it will be very interesting to see how it is used.
Anonymous said…
How is the Fraud Act 2006 retrospective when it came in to force in 2007. Nick Clegg and the Lib/Dems were lying - acting fraudulently in 2010.
Chris Whiteside said…
I don't agree with your interpretation of the 2006 Fraud act, and in particular it does not apply to election promises.

To make election promises legally binding would need a new law, and it could not reasonably be made retrospective.

Which is not to say I don't agree that politicians should not make promises which they could reasonably expect that they might be unable to keep.
Anonymous said…
So to be on the safe side treat every politician as a liar whatever promises he might make - that does include in you.
Chris Whiteside said…
This is a council of despair which would have the effect of making all discussion with anyoneone putting themselves forward for elected office a complete waste of time.

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