Boiling point: when marching isn’t enough.

We like a good protest. Y’know, as long as it doesn’t get too rowdy. In the last five years I myself have been on two national protests, March for the Alternative and A Future That Works. We stood with thousands of people, waved our signs, shouted some stuff, went to Hyde Park where people said stuff on a stage, we all cheered, we all got on our buses and trains and went home.

The general public like an organised protest. They like it when people march and say “we’re cross!”. They’re not so fond of it when it gets “out of hand”. Case in point: the student protest from a few years ago. The London riots. Maybe it’s because we’re British. We don’t like to make a fuss. We’re good at asking nicely, we don’t like conflict and we tut at people who are too emotive in expressing their anger. We’re less “¡Viva la Revolución!” and more “Down with this sort of thing”.

I find it very difficult to know where to draw the line. The one thing I can categorically say is that while these marches have demonstrated the force of feeling behind the country’s situation, no-one with any clout is taking a blind bit of notice. We are given our allotted space and allotted time to shout and then it’s done. This method is not working.We can gather in London and hear people speak until we’re all collectively blue in the face. Nothing is changing. In fact, it’s getting worse. Which means people are getting angrier, and organised marches are not going to cut it any more.

The news media love a good protest, and they love it when it all kicks off as they have the chance to play the same 5 second loop of someone with a scarf over their face throwing something at a police officer, while talking to experts about how it’s always a few bad ones that ruin it for everyone else and isn’t it a shame. How everyone was having a lovely time until these angry people spoiled it.

Thing is, protests aren’t meant to be a nice day out. A lot of the time they *are*, but they’re meant to convey a nation’s feelings about something they feel is an injustice. They are meant to put pressure on people with power until things change. This isn’t happening. And the worrying thing is, when people feel they aren’t being listened to, they get angrier, and more frustrated. And then when the news media tell them their anger is bad, that they were wrong, then they get even angrier.

I wonder where the boiling point will be. I wonder what happens when you have an angry populace who now figure they’ve got nothing left to lose. Whatever happens, it ain’t gonna be pretty.

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3 Comments on “Boiling point: when marching isn’t enough.”

  1. Tony Taylor says:

    Reblogged this on IN DEFENCE OF YOUTH WORK and commented:
    What do you think about Emsy’s musings about resistance, anger and what might be a boiling point?

  2. Tony Taylor says:

    Emsy – thanks for this questioning blog. I’m not sure at all when and where the boiling point might be reached. Have reblogged on In Defence of Youth Work. Hope you are in reasonable fettle. Take care.

  3. hwalker825 says:

    Nothing will happen when the country hits boiling point. I think, given the kind of traction the Tories’ recent victory gained with liberal-leaning news providers, you’d be led to believe that by 2020 we’d be living in a real-life set of Children of Men.

    It’s hyperbole just as bad as that which political parties use in their election campaigns.

    The point of print media is to sell the news. Negativity sells. But violence will solve less than nothing; it’ll make things worse.

    I’m glad no one acted like a dick at the protest yesterday though. Incredible that no arrests were made.


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