Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Fight the power
There’s been a lot of stuff in the news recently about the G20 protests and police brutality. The surveillance worm has turned, it seems, and now the jackboot is on the other foot. Because we’ve all got mobile phones these days, and because the phones all have cameras on, we’re all carrying cameras round with us all the time, without even realising it. For example, did you know that Nokia is actually the world’s largest manufacturer of digital cameras, purely because it sells so many phones with cameras in. Mental!
Anyway, people are using their camera-equipped phones, or camera-phones, to film the police brutalising hippies. It’s a bit like hardcore game for a laugh, watching us watching you watching us. It’s all good stuff, I reckon. The police get away with far too much brutality, in my opinion, although I haven’t actually seen a policeman hit somebody since a cricket match between Hampshire and Surrey in 1980. And to be fair, the guy deserved it. And he apologised to the policeman afterwards. I don’t know if that’s cricket supporters in general, or just how things were back in the day. Anyway, I’ve seen the stuff in Metro, so I know what goes on.
I didn’t actually go to the recent G20 riots but I did go on an anti-gulf war march in ’91. Unfortunately, by the time we got to Trafalgar Square, I was starving so I nipped into Maccy D’s for a quick QP with cheese and missed Tony Benn’s speech. Gutted. I also marched in the more recent anti-war protest a few years ago, at least as far as parliament, then I quit the march, because I was going to Oxford Street to get a new suit. But I don’t see why you can’t march for part of the way if it’s especially convenient.
The right to march and protest is one of our great freedoms in this country and part of our democratic heritage. But I’m not sure it should always be allowed. Recently I was waiting for a bus and one wasn’t coming. Not only was one not coming, there was no traffic coming down my side of the road at all. Then, in the distance, I heard some singing, and the sound of a band.
Very slowly, coming up the hill was a transit flat-bed with some smiley teenage musicians on board and they were all singing songs to Jesus. Behind the van were about 40 marchers, young families mostly, with glassy-eyed stares and they were all shouting:
Who is the rock on which our church is built?
Who came to earth to die for us?
Who is love?
These idiots were holding up all the traffic, because they were only travelling at five miles an hour. They had two policemen on bicycles in front of them and – get this – one of the policemen kept trying to do wheelies! WTF? Do we pay our taxes so some idiot copper can try and perfect a wheelie in front of a bunch of half-wit Christian loons? I tell you what, I wish I’d filmed it and sent it to the Metro.
If those people had been crusties, all shouting “There is no God, and we don’t like the war” or something, the coppers probably would have had big sticks and riot shields, not mountain bikes. And they’d probably have been trying to perfect the surreptitious head-whack, and not the wheelie.
Needless to say, I was late for my appointment and when I made it clear that this would happen to the wheelie-ing policeman, he said I was miserable and it was just a bit of fun. Ordinarily, I’d have called him a twat. But you can’t do that to the Man, can you. Because you’ll get biffed up.
We live in an unfair world, people, so keep your cameraphones at the ready and let’s take a stand.