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The spirit of Peterloo

Written By: - Date published: 8:57 am, December 5th, 2010 - 30 comments
Categories: activism, police, uk politics - Tags:

David Cameron made the commendable decision to create a national happiness index to compliment GDP but there’s a lot of unhappiness in Merry Old England under his rule. To avert fiscal disaster, while allowing bankers and the elite to keep their wealth, Cameron is making savage cuts to public services. And the Police are going old school on the resulting protests.

h/t Norightturn

See also, kettling and mass arrests of students.

30 comments on “The spirit of Peterloo ”

  1. Olwyn 1

    This was posted on facebook by a friend:

    • Olwyn 1.1

      I forgot to add: the name of the boy speaking is Barnaby Raine and he is 15 years old. An astonishingly good and articulate orator, challenging the common claim that the young are politically indifferent.

      • Bazar 1.1.1

        I’d argue that thee young are mostly ignorant and/or indifferent. *mostly*
        Having a few exceptional people doesn’t change that, just like having a few adults that are political retards change the fact that adults have more knowledge and experance.

        End of the day i think the young get full voting privledges too early, as most are just too underdeveloped to vote well.
        There are plenty of adults that never develop.

        Its just werid that i was allowed and expected to vote when i turned 18, when i couldn’t even remember the previous election and what the parties stood for, to evaulate them.

        • Colonial Viper

          I believe the answer to young people and young adults becoming more politically aware and politically active is to start them thinking about issues earlier on. And giving them ways to participate, voice an opinion and make a difference earlier on.

          I agree, if its simply about giving young people a vote earlier on without the supports and context of improved civics education, etc. it doesn’t seem worthwhile.

          This will also give more time and opportunity to mature their political outlooks and activities so that they can be even more effective as they get a bit older.

  2. Bill 2

    Disaster Capitalism…take a crisis and use it as cover to slash public spending/services and privatise ie Camerons Big Society’.

    Sold as “the biggest, most dramatic redistribution of power from elites in Whitehall to the man and woman on the street.”, the ‘Big Society’ simply means that wealthy private individuals and private companies will assume the roles formally undertaken by the government via Whitehall .

    Oh, but Whitehall can keep the population in line via the police force ’cause the population ain’t going to like the reality behind the rhetoric.

    On a connected matter, I was reading the other day that IMF related measures being taken in Ireland include installing water meters in every home ( a move that had been successfully resisted until now and obviously a prelude to water privatisation) and tying in the pension funds to the IMF loans…ie Ireland’s pensioners get to be held for ransom lest the government default on the loan.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      Considering just how important water is I’m all in favour of putting meters in every home. We can’t just use the resources available as if they are unlimited.

      • Bill 2.1.1

        You know how often it rains in Ireland Draco? And it’s a much cooler climate meaning much lower evaporation rates than here.

        Anyway. Pay meters don’t limit domestic water use. Income does. They’re a mechanism for putting money in private coffers. Nothing more.

        • Draco T Bastard

          You know how often it rains in Ireland

          The resources is still limited. If you use too much the land will die as we are seeing around the world. And having a meter doesn’t mean that it needs to be charged for although there does need to be some limitation.

          • RedLogix

            Metering is ALWAYS the pre-requisite step to privatisation. By itself metering has been shown to produce a single one off 10-20% reduction in water consumption when introduced…but over time the effect wears off towards the lower end of that scale.

            There are far more cost effective ways to permanently reduce demand… low flow show heads universally installed would reduce demand by about 15%… for far less cost.

            Reducing supply pressure is another simple cost effective method.

            Metering is expensive and not very effective…unless of course you intend to privatise.

            • Bunji

              They’ve privatised in the UK without metering.

              UK and Ireland are the only 2 developed countries where most people aren’t metered. And having lived there, it results in a lot of water wastage. There is no incentive not to waste water. The result is that everyone ends up paying a vast amount for water as so much water gets used, and they don’t know who uses it. The result is that meters reduce costs, not increase them.

              Water meters are good, like most things that allow us to use our earth’s resources more efficiently.

    • A 2.2

      Apparently the cuts have majority support; especially the cuts to welfare. After all, the cuts fall disproportionately on the poorest sectors of society and allow the middle classes to keep their stuff.

      Democracy: the friendly way to screw the poor.

  3. Sanctuary 3

    The interesting thing about the police response to protest in the U.K. is their near imperviousness to political oversight and control. Not only do the British police now routinely tell the most outrageous lies to the media, they also regularly make decisions and use tactics that their nominal political masters have explicitly told them not to.

    Britain has sleepwalked to the situation where now it is a surveillance state. Half of all the CCTV cameras in the world are installed there. When I was last there two years ago the ubiquity of the cameras gave me the creeps. The British police, backed by three decades of sycophantic governments, are on the cusp of becoming a lawless mini-state, a law and order Taliban in the very home of the idea of parliamentary democracy.

    The lessons for this country should be obvious, but instead we’ve currently got a borderline psychopath as police minister in a government of authoritarian capitalists.

    • Bill 3.1

      “The interesting thing about the police response to protest in the U.K. is their near imperviousness to political oversight and control.”

      But, but….actually, nah. Laugh or cry. Your choice. Cameron in his Big Society speech…

      So, for example, by releasing the data about precisely when and where crimes have taken place on the streets…

      …we can give people the power not just to hold the police to account…

      …but to go even further, and take action themselves – for instance, starting a new neighbourhood watch scheme, youth club or an after-school club if they realise that’s when most of the trouble begins.

      Don’t you love it? In the interests of the ” most dramatic redistribution of power from elites in Whitehall to the man and woman on the street.”, Cameron is going to release surveillance info…to who?…so that somehow the police are held to account while people get to institute informal curfews through running youth clubs or whatever.

      You can see how Cameron envisages this playing out. Neighbourhood Watch reports kids on the street when (in their mind) they should be at a youth club or after school club ’cause if your on the street and not at those places during those times it means that your up to no good.

      The surveillance state evolved to self surveillance society using Panopticon / Stasi mixes of psychology and reality.

      The surveillance and reporting is all there (Stasi) and individuals will modify their behaviour due to the accumulative effect of omnipresent surveillance riding alongside social perceptions of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ based on simple location (CCTV, Neighbourhood Watch plus a growing expectation within the general populace that youth…already the loathed and feared enemy for many… should be in certain places at certain times)

      • ianmac 3.1.1

        A long time ago protesters defence against mounted police was to liberate bags of marbles with the result that the poor animals lost their footing and crashed to the ground. Wasn’t there a law created that made marble carrying a criminal act?

        • Bill

          Dunno about marbles or any law created banning the carrying of them. I do know that caltraps were and are used to disable horses or puncture tyres.

          • Colonial Viper

            Charging at young civvies with horses is not good. Reminiscent of medieval England. Would be of interest to examine how those police are mounted on to the horses. Can horses be spooked by sight smell or sound? I don’t know anything about them.

            For historical interest, I believe that in the olden days against cavalry, infantry used caltrops (thanks Bill), spears, nets. Halberds and pikes could be used to forcefully hook and dismount riders. However it is always true that footmen are at a serious disadvantage most of the time against cavalry.

            Of course horses were the targets of these weapons as much as riders so I expect these days the SPCA would not be pleased.

            • Draco T Bastard

              Charging at young civvies with horses is not good.

              I consider it premeditated use of deadly force and that responding in kind is warranted.

              • Colonial Viper

                Hear ya. I’m waiting for the youtube video one day in the future of a Police cavalry man getting dismounted in self defence and a protestor mounting and charging the police foot infantry on horseback. Whats good for the goose and all that.

                Where is Maximus Decius Meridius when you need him.

  4. Colonial Viper 4

    Looks like old fashioned dismounting of armoured cavalry is going to be a skill of use once again. The more things change, the more things stay the same.

  5. WOOF 5

    It’s like being trapped in a giant dog pen! 🙁

  6. I call all of this an “I told you so” moment ……… and we haven’t seen anything yet 😉
    But lets ignore all this and keep making babies )
    misery loves company IE Pike River memoral

  7. swimmer 7

    A great tool for stalkers as well. The problem has gotten out of hand. Technology is installed everywhere and is slowly eroding civil liberties and rights. Who asked for all this? I doubt that there was any great demand for it. It has just been quietly implemented and people have been forced to adapt, much like body scanners and invasive pat downs in airports.

  8. felix 8

    Gee those British police are a pack of violent sociopathic misogynist scum.

    So glad ours are all decent and virtuous, the very cream of kiwidom.

  9. BLiP 9

    Welcome to the 19th Century everyone.

  10. Bill 10

    I have to say that having watched the embedded it clip it looks like basic police control as used to be practiced for crowds coming and going from football matches. I get it, that it was kettling.

    But go 2 min 10 sec into the linked youtube video if you don’t care for the balaclava prelude offering a bit of broad context, and you’ll see the result of kettling from 1985 in the UK when about 1600 police first kettled people for days before beating the living shit out of travellers comprised of men, women, pregnant women, children and babies following it all up with the biggest mass arrest since WW2.

    I’ve posted the link, not so much because of the police brutality, but because it arguably marks the point where police in the UK adopted ‘para military’ tactics and , again arguably, where the state began to launch operations simply to impose compliance to accepted socal norms…which might partly explain the muted response of the general population to unfolding political realities.

    As you’re watching the clip, you might want to reflect that these people weren’t engaged in any political activity and that many lost their homes to police vandalism and subsequently their children to social services because they couldn’t provide them with a home.

    Also, here’s a short excerpt from a more informative 1991 Ch4 documentary “Operation Solstice” that includes interviews with some of those there on the day.

    edit. Forgot to mention that much of the footage from the day taken by mainstream journalists ( video and stills) mysteriously ‘disappeared’.

  11. jcuknz 11

    It is funny that in the two weeks I was in the Uk I don’t remember seeing a camera … but then I was driving within the limit, not that I discovered the motor way limit until about the 12th day and had by then driven the length of england, into wales, and was close to Hadrian’s Wall. I’m sure there would be a wave of protest and not just the RSPCA if people started using caltrops.

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      Ignorance is bliss?

      The police and MI5 have been given access to a network of infrared cameras that can track millions of car journeys across Britain.

      The 1,090 cameras read numberplates of cars on all motorways and major trunk roads, recording the time, date and location of the vehicle and storing the data for five years.

      ‘Daily Mail’

    • Marty G 11.2

      you don’t see them until you look a little higher than normal eye-level. It’s quite scary once you become aware of just how many there are there…. or even here now, for that matter.

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