Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Riots in London: Heir to the Throne’s Car Attacked

One thing I keep on trying to explain to those who want Obama to fail in order for progressive politics to commence, or who claim the administration is basically a right wing republican one, is the REAL experience of having a non stimulus, expenditure cutting government in power in the UK.

Well today, within a mile of where I live, students – protesting at an 80 per cent cut in the university teaching budget and a 200 percent increase in college fees, have occupied the centre of British democracy: Parliament Square. There have been mounted police horses charging groups of students (a shocking scene I haven’t seen since the Poll Tax Riots of the Thatcher years).  Graffiti has been daubed on government buildings. Windows in the Treasury and Supreme Court smashed. Ten police have been seriously injured: twenty demonstrators.

And now the dispersed protestors – many of them schoolchildren – are looting shops and smashing windows on Oxford Street (our main shopping artery) and have surrounded the car containing Prince Charles and Camilla on the way to the theatre, smashing a window, kicking the doors, and covering the car with paint

I have no truck with the small number of anarchists involved in this violence. But they are only out, and only get the space to conduct such activities, because of the massive anger – especially among young people – about this change in policy. Their anger is particularly focused on the Conservative’s minority Coalition Partners – the Liberal Democrats – many of whom were elected in University towns because they made personal pledges to abolish tuition fees, but have actually tripled them

The vote to increase fees in Parliament cut the Coalition’s majority to 20, with half the Lib Dems rebelling against their leadership

I can’t help feeling that this is what happens if the you abandon the politics of pragmatism, and the right gain power in the wake of a split discredited centre left.

To many, New Labour under Brown and Blair became the kind of apology for progressive values, triangulators, traitors, and cheats. Yet, when the protest vote split the left, and the right gained power, things for the ordinary populace were a lot worse.

These student protests are only the first signs of discontent with right wing cuts. A huge rise in value added tax won’t come in until January. Then the huge cuts in benefits will also start to hurt. The main victims of the Coalitions Cuts are those who can least afford to pay for the failure of the finance system – the poor, the vulnerable, the sick, the very young and very old.

This is just the beginning of trouble in the UK. But there’s a lesson here for my American Friends.

I don’t think you realise how bad things could be.  


  1. HappyinVT

    Do y’all vote as often as we do?  Where are you heading from here in the electoral sense?  Or is it too soon to tell?  I guess I’m asking if there could be backlash in the next election, whenever that is.

    (Or do I not make a lick of sense?)  

  2. Not the riots necessarily, but the cuts. Our current economic troubles are all about capital. Labor has already taken the hit in higher unemployment. Now everyone that isn’t a member of the moneyed class is going to pay for the mistakes of those who hold the capital. We’ve been headed this way ever since Reagan. It’s only going to get worse.

    This is my favorite quote on the issue of capital vs labor.

    Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. – Abraham Lincoln

  3. spacemanspiff

    I would have been scared to death. Can’t imagine how terrifying this must have been for such a sheltered person. I know this wasn’t the main theme here but it blows my mind just thinking about it.


  4. Elch

    I walked all the way from Oxford St. to Leicester Square yesterday evening and suddenly found myself caught in between a few hundred drunken Santa Clauses. I believe my face expression was the same as on the photo.

    I could escape. 😉

Comments are closed.