Thursday, January 23, 2014

Hosing away democracy in the UK

The British government has been implementing a vicious austerity program for the past four years, cutting the NHS, benefits, and (of course) taxes for the rich. The result has been protests and riots. But now the British police - still mired in the C19th mindset that any protest against the status quo is a revolution in progress which must be put down by sabre-wielding cavalry - have a new tactic: water-cannon:

Chief constables are to press the home secretary, Theresa May, to authorise the use of water cannon by any police force across England and Wales to deal with anticipated street protests.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) says that the need to control continued protests "from ongoing and potential future austerity measures" justifies the introduction of water cannon in Britain for the first time.

The London mayor, Boris Johnson, has already announced a consultation on the introduction of water cannon on to the streets of London ready for use by this summer.

So, the British police's answer to democracy is simply to hose it away. Voila! Clean, ordered streets! But hosing away protesters doesn't make the fundamental problems with British society go away, any more than beating and kettling them does. Instead, it will just mean a greater erosion of consent, and a further transformation of the UK from a democracy to a state where a tiny elite rule over the people for terror and brute force.