May 28, 2015 5 Comments
I don’t know, but I doubt you happened to catch this story from The Guardian yesterday. It tends to remind us that not all opposition is as civil as it should be, and Britain does have its share of nutters.
The Ukip MP, Douglas Carswell, has been escorted away in a police van after he was surrounded by anti-austerity protesters in central London.
Carswell later tweeted that he had been waiting for a bus when he was attacked by a crowd, describing it as “very very nasty”.
The MP said he had been engaged in peaceful discussions with a small group before being confronted by far larger numbers shouting insults such as “Ukip scum”.
“It got extremely, extremely nasty. Their intentions were pretty murderous and I needed a lot of police officers to prevent them from attacking me,” he said, after being taken by officers to another stop to get his bus.
“I was stunned. I think MPs should be able to go about their business. It was incredibly intimidating. It was like a lynch mob on the streets of London. I thought this was a country where we had democracy and discussed the issues.
“It just got incredibly ugly. It was an attempted lynching. I am in a state of shock. I do not want to have to worry about going about my business.”
First, and perhaps least important, how refreshing is it to think of an MP taking a bus? Seen any Congresscritters (or even their junior staffers) doing that lately? Yeah, me either/ Maybe they’d be a bit more in touch with us ordinary mortals if the got out of their limos, and took the bus (or the subway).
But the second and the main point is that in a democratic system there simply isn’t any room for intimidation, and the threat of violence. The left, which the anti-austerity demonstrators represent, lost the election in the UK, to honorable convictions and I think good sense. It’s up to them to come back with a better campaign.
Frankly it’s not all that many years ago that this type of outburst could read to the reading of the Riot Act and use of armed troops to disperse the demonstration. One hesitates to say it was a valid reaction then, so often it got out of hand but one can easily understand how it happened.
In a strange way, we’re seeing the reverse side of the coin in Baltimore, where the police have found so little support from their leadership (and the prosecutor) that they have become afraid to enforce the law, and so society has in great measure, simply collapsed.
Our civilization walks, and always has, a fine line between tyranny of the right and of the left, and if we succumb to either it can be very difficult to return, especially without the good will of all sides, and that seems in increasingly short supply.