Wednesday, October 06, 2004

protest and survive ?

And the trend of giving into bullying started, I suppose, with the fuel protests of recent years by which individuals that depended even more than the rest of us on an unsustainable and unaffordable source of energy for their living decided to blockade the rest of us into subsidising them through a series of clearly illegal industrial actions. There was a certain wry joy in the deadening irony of right-wing newspapers refusing to condemn wildcat strikes and secondary picketing bringing large swathes of the country to a close by "their" disciples, whilst continuing to rage against "left-wing" unions who were striking (and thus - horror of horrors - "inconveniencing" us put-upon middle englanders) after having jumped through every procedural hurdle the law now requires, not least the secret ballot of the affected workers. What the current hunting escapades seem to be doing is confirming the suspicion that we always had that, if actions the press repeatedly condemned were being committed by people they actually felt an ideological or other kinship with, then they would be virtually free from criticism, or at least attract explicit sympathy and understanding - the death threats to anti-hunting MPs being a prominent example. At least, unlike the fuel protests, the Government were prepared in the face of recent pro-hunt rallies to actually let the police uphold the law. But one suspects, even if the front bench doesn't manage to wriggle out of its moral obligations to accept the will of the House, that attempts to enforce the new law when it falls into place will be made, at best, with little of the vigour that is usually reserved for the rest of us.

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