Friday, 11 January 2008

David Cameron treated unfairly

I was quite upset by this story. David Cameron attempted to take a publicity photo outside the Salford Lads' Club yesterday. He was recreating the iconic picture of The Smiths taken in 1985, but local protesters got in the way and stopped him from taking the snap. The placards included the charming slogan "Salford lads not Eton snobs".

Far be it from me to cry any tears for Dave, but I can't help thinking that he was hard done by. How can you criticise your political opponents' views if you don't give them a chance to publicise what those views are? Democracy is supposed to be a high-quality national debate. This sort of behaviour turns it into a competition to see who can drown out their enemies the most effectively.

Still not feeling sorry for David Cameron? Take a look at this footage of Labour activists disrupting the Lib Dem campaign launch at the Sedgefield by-election. If it wasn't fair to do it to us, it isn't fair to do it to the Tories.

Most of all, imagine if it was a working-class politician being ridiculed for their background, rather than an old Etonian. Class prejudice and social slurs are wrong, and it doesn't matter which direction they go in. Dave didn't choose to have wealthy parents, any more than you might choose to be black, or gay, or disabled. It doesn't make the slightest difference which school somebody else chose to send him to when he was a kid. I'm much more interested in what the adult Mr Cameron thinks about modern-day Britain.

Let's hear the Lib Dem frontbenches condemn this undemocratic thuggery, and get back to some proper politics.


Sam said...

Stop me, oh, stop me
Stop me if you think that you've
Heard this one before.


Anonymous said...

I was about to say "Your a Tory dressed in Yellow cloths". but you can not be, as you have no back bone to stand up with and say what you believe in. Oh I forget, your politics are whichever way the wind blows.

I support the protesters actions and found your blog after a search.

David may not be able to change his up bringing, but he should at least face it rather that trying to hide it.

Also this comment of yours:
"How can you criticise your political opponents' views if you don't give them a chance to publicise what those views are?"

Is rather strange, because he has £250k's worth of publicity following him everyday, but he chooses not to share his views.

Steven Allan said...

Well written article, Jonny, and I totally agree with you.

Democracy is a marvellous invention; It allows for us to fight through the ballot box instead of any other way, the ultimate being civil war.

Recently, Oxford student Luke Tryl was threatened with his life by a mob desperate to stop arguments which they didn't agree with from being heard. You have given two more examples and it would appear that it is extremist factions of the left wing which are respsonsible every time. They seem to be more interested in preventing the views of others from being heard than they are from promoting thier own.

We have a dilemma here. Democracy allows for people to demonstate. However, if demonstators stand in the way of freedom of speech, then the politicians must step in and legislate to preserve domocracy itself.

In respect of schools, if David Cameron is to become PM, then it is in the interests of every man, woman and child that he received a good education. We should be proud to have a school of the calibre of Eton and our political parties should strive to make all other schools as good.

Sam said...

Steven Allan: As one of the "mob" there outside the Union that night for three hours I did not once hear any calls to "Kill Tryl", and suggest that if such calls were made they were most likely both in jest and by a minority, considering the generally light-hearted and pluralistic nature of the crowd.

Money, connections and the trespass laws protect the Cameron crew, ordinary people have only their own minds and bodies to defend their interests.

Steven Allan said...

"Light Hearted ..... crowd" ?

I don't think so. The mob prevented people with tickets from entering, caused the meeting to begin late and curtailed the freedom of speech in a democracy. That is not acceptable. My point is proven.

Everyone has a right to his/her own view and democracy allows for those of any persuasion to have many avenues along which thay may choose to venture. 'Ordinary people' can start a blog such as this one or join an existing party and work for it, canvassing etc., join an organisation which promotes a cause in which one believes or various pressure groups which exist locally and nationally to promote, in a positive way, a cause which others can consider.

At the end of the day, someone's view has to be carried and only those who do something positive stand a chance of seeing their views realised. Others who do nothing more than stand in the way of those they don't like will likely benefit anybody without knowing who. It is even possible to benefit the person who is being obstructed.

JRD168 said...

Having just seen the Sheffield Wednesday comment on your eight wishes for 2008, I'll be reasonable! This was funny in my humble opinion, there is a delicious irony in Dave being turned away from Salford Lads Club. The thought that Dave is a fan of the Smiths (famous for Margaret on the Guillotine) is funny enough, hopefully he'll make a donation to keeping the club open, and then see if he's allowed back.

Jonny Wright said...

Sam - nice article, well done! I'll leave a proper reply over at your blog. I'm not sure I want to rake over the Oxford Union debate anymore, but I'll just say that even if the majority of protesters were peaceful and legal, that doesn't change the fact that some of them broke the law and physically barred students from getting into a debate that they were entitled to go to. A few friends from my college went along to mount a counter-protest, with a placard in favour of free speech, and a group of protesters went and helf UAF placards over theirs to stop it from being seen. It's that minority that we're talking about.

Steven - thanks very much for your comments. I think we're entirely in agreement here. In a democracy there are plenty of legal and peaceful ways of making your voice heard. You don't need to resort to acts of violence and disruption to make your point, when you can quite legally join a political party or NGO, or organise your own protest.

This isn't entirely true - draconian Labour laws like SOCPA have seriously curtailed our right to make our voices heard, particularly by banning protests outside Parliament. I think civil disobedience could be justified in some specific circumstances, like an illegal peaceful protest outside Parliament. But 99% of the time, in a democracy, that sort of behaviour is totally unjustified, and you put up a very convincing argument there.

Do you have your own blog, by the way? I've googled for you, but can't find anything!

Tristan said...

The inverse-snobbery here is ugly.

A person's background shouldn't matter, unless they make an issue out of it.

I don't care that Cameron went to Eton, it doesn't affect my disagreements or occasional agreements with him.

I prefer to argue on policy, not on class, sex, race or anything else like that. Pity that others can't manage that...

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