I am beginning to despise Nick Clegg. Originally I hailed him, voted for him, praised him. Then, I grudgingly came to accept his betrayals and thought that perhaps it was a good thing that there was a liberal influence in a Tory government. After that, I grew angry at Clegg once more, knowing that he was not the man I thought him to be. The man I intentionally voted for. Every now and then, he reminds me of why I have grown to dislike him, and why I am growing to despise him.
Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, has said believed the public would be would be “gobsmacked” and “appalled” by calls for the public to engage in civil disobedience to defend public services during the Olympic Games.
Len McCluskey, the general secretary of Unite – Britain’s largest union – has called on workers to strike against the Government’s harsh spending cuts during the Olympic Games.
“If the Olympics provide us with an opportunity, then that’s exactly one that we should be looking at,” Mr McCluskey told the Guardian. He also said members of the public should support the campaign by engaging in civil disobedience.
Nick Clegg seemed to believe that people would be “appalled” that workers are fighting against the spending cuts at such a glorious time in British history.
“I just think people will be gobsmacked, appalled, that someone thinks that at a time when we are finally hosting one of the greatest events in the world, he is calling for civil disobedience,” he told ITV Daybreak.
Clegg also called on the Labour party to “rein in” McClusky – Unite is Labour’s largest donor. But there is more to this than an element of opposition-bashing. Clegg generally believes, it seems, that the public would be against such action and has condemned workers and citizens fighting for their rights and beliefs.
Now, call me socialist or whatever term you wish to use, but I have always believed in the democratic right to protest, demonstrate and disobey against elected officials. The government does not get to pick and choose when and where this is acceptable, though they try. You used to be able to protest in Parliament Square, for instance. Used to being the key term here.
What better time or place for civil action then the Olympic Games? The main parties are right, the eyes of the world will be on us then, so why should we pretend everything is all rosy and peaceful? The coalition, rightly or wrongly, is tearing up public spending and pushing vulnerable people into despair. Are people who wish to fight against this to hold their tongue until a fortnight of sports is over with?
Downing Street condemned the calls and called them unpatriotic. UNPATRIOTIC? How is fighting for your beliefs, for others, and for national services unpatriotic? Fighting for your country and for your society means more than keeping silent when you are told to.
David Cameron’s spokesman said: “The Olympics are a great opportunity for this country to show everything that is great about the United Kingdom and advertise ourselves to the world. I think what he is proposing is deeply unacceptable and unpatriotic.”
In fact, I agree with McClusky’s statement:
“The attacks that are being launched on public sector workers at the moment are so deep and ideological that the idea the world should arrive in London and have these wonderful Olympic Games as though everything is nice and rosy in the garden is unthinkable. Our very way of life is being attacked.
“I believe the unions, and the general community, have got every right to be out protesting. If the Olympics provide us with an opportunity, then that’s exactly one that we should be looking at.”
He added: “Now nobody has made any decisions yet and, of course, it would be nice if we were able not to disrupt such a prestigious event as the Olympics.
“But by the same token, people have to understand that we are fighting for our heritage here. Our parents and our grandparents, having defeated fascism in Europe, came back determined to build a land fit for heroes. They gave us the welfare state, the National Health Service, universal education.
“All of that is being attacked. I, for one, am not prepared to stand by and have my children or grandchildren say to me, ‘What did you do when this was being taken away from us?’
“When you say what can we do, and the likes of the Olympics, I’m calling upon the general public to engage in civil disobedience.”
I’m sure you can find varying surveys of the public which portray different allegiances. I am sure there are those who support action, as well as those who condemn it and believe the Olympics should be about the sport, and not see any disruption. But you cannot support the idea of democracy and then limit or try and hide away people protesting, striking, or disobeying their elected officials and pretend everything is okay.
As Downing Street said: “The Olympics are a great opportunity for this country to show everything that is great about the United Kingdom and advertise ourselves to the world.”
– So why not show the world how great and democratic the UK is? How open to protest and free speech we are? Instead, the government wishes to lie and for two weeks pretend to the world that nothing is wrong, nothing to see here… If it was up to the government, the Occupy movement would be brushed under the carpet, strikes would be illegal and the world would be none the wiser. I do hope that disobedience happens during the Olympics, because it is undemocratic to set a time and a place for protesting or disobeying. It is unpatriotic to stifle those who wish to fight for their country.
I am gobsmacked and appalled at the rhetoric spewing out of this government of late.
- Clegg urges Miliband to ‘rein in’ McCluskey over Olympics comments (guardian.co.uk)