Sunday, 27 May 2012

Useless Uncut

For a protest to have maximum impact, it needs to have a clear message, be highly visible, and have a relevant target. It may be disruptive and I may not agree with what the protesters are saying, but that's the price of having such a freedom in this country and I certainly wouldn't change it. It also follows that I have freedom to criticise such protests if I think they are a load of old nonsense, which is exactly what I'm going to do here with UK Uncut's latest publicity stunt:

Hundreds of anti-cuts campaigners have staged a "street party" protest outside Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg's home in south-west London.

As with Occupy, I can't stand UK Uncut - it's a union front using discredited figures dreamed up by a union-funded "tax expert". It is therefore grounded in ignorance and so doesn't offer an alternative to "vicious, callous ConDem cuts" as it purports. Yesterday was a departure from the usual screaming at branches of Topshop and harassing Vodafone shop workers with Nick Clegg's house in Putney being targeted for an enforced street party UK Uncut style - crusties, dubstep, and SWP placards. UK Uncut are of course heralding it as a success:

In London over 300 people took part in a anti-cuts street party directly outside the Deputy Prime Minister's million pound Putney home. The protest started just before 1pm when six activists in wheelchairs chained their wheelchairs together at each end of his road. Hundreds of protesters who had earlier assembled at four points in central London then arrived at the demonstration, the target of which had been a closely kept secret ahead of the day.

During the family-friendly street party protest, disabled campaigners, mothers with children, public service workers and activists enjoyed music, poetry, comedy, games and held a people’s assembly to discuss the alternatives to austerity.

Hyperbole and boilerplate protest speak all the way. Even if you take their turnout figure at face value, that's piss-poor in a city of eight million people, on a Saturday with glorious weather. The reality of this is that it has achieved fuck all - I don't believe that Clegg's house is a legitimate target; people in the public eye deserve a private life, whoever they are (although his constituency office in Sheffield, which was also targeted, is fair game). Being held in a sleepy residential area meant little, if any opportunity for outreach and the discussion is all around the form of the "protest" rather than any message it was supposed to convey. All of this makes it nothing more than a left-wing circle-jerk as opposed to a movement serious about effecting change.

Addendum to the original post - Clegg wasn't even fucking in when it happened. Idiots.

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