Tuesday, 31 March 2009

G20 summit poses questions

So tomorrow the City of London braces itself for the arrival, and resultant protest, of US President Barack Obama and the rest of the leaders in the G20 (which seems to expand and retract from the G7, or G8 when Russia can be bothered, almost weekly).
The advent of the so-called ‘summit’ brings mixed feelings to ShadowPlay towers. On a personal note I have family who work in the City (who aren’t greedy wankers but hard-working people by the by) and do not, as you or I do not, deserve to have to face possible violence merely to journey to work and return.

But really the protests, and the boarding up of every building in sight in the City, are indicative of how wrong it is possible to get things. To make things clear I agree with many of the issues being raised by the protestors on an incredibly large range of issues from human rights, nuclear disarmament, anti-war and even the pretext the summit is based upon – fiscal policy. The idea of protestors playing a giant game of Monopoly outside the London Stock Exchange is perfect, smashing windows, attacking people and getting involved in altercations, however innocently, with police is not. The line between protestors and anarchists is a thin one easily crossed and, although it proved ultimately ignored, the fact one million people marched to try to stop the UK entering Iraq in 2003 showed how to protest in a way that was universally noticed and astonishingly disregarded. To put it into context as a young man from Nottingham it’s not too hard to imagine a scenario where a drunk bloke in a short-sleeved shirt is drunkenly shouting at me outside a Yates’ and then smashes something. Now, am I more or less likely to listen to him than the still drunk but talkative bloke at the bus stop causing no harm? Transpose the boozers with the protestors and you see that smashing up the Starbucks opposite the RBS building near Liverpool Street (that’s my bet for taking a beating) is of little use.

With more than 2,000 protestors set to march on the Square Mile tomorrow I would just say that direct action does not necessarily lead to direct action – given the barrage of words Those of the Overblown Egos in the G20 are used to dealing with – maybe fight them at their own game. That soapbox is quite unsightly, let’s get back to the music…

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