Thursday, April 16, 2009

The arrogance of authority

It isn't so much the amount of violence involved; there was worse, much worse, at Bisopsgate - the police attacked when there was no media around for a reason. But there is a whole world of meaning in that slap by the back of the hand. It tells us a great deal about the attitude of the police, and for that matter of this government, towards protest. There is an arrogance, a contempt for the right to protest, an incomprehension of dissidence, the worship of power. The violence - the slap then the truncheon - is not used in self-defence, and is not used against someone who is "tooled-up", it isn't even used "man-to-man"; it is used by a large hulking copper against a woman who cannot possibly defend herself. He hits her because he can. Would that particular policeman even understand the proposition that one of his duties - not his only duty, to be sure - ought to be to ensure that the protestors are able to protest, to guard their right to protest. I doubt it.

Last came Anarchy: he rode

On a white horse, splashed with blood;

He was pale even to the lips,

Like Death in the Apocalypse.

And he wore a kingly crown;

And in his grasp a sceptre shone;

On his brow this mark I saw -



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