Now the political class wants to take away the right to get angry!

Do not be surprised when people who have their wishes ignored or their views suppressed turn against their oppressors, writes Christopher Goff.

It was a little unedifying to see the Conservative Member of Parliament and arch-Remainer, Anna Soubry, embroiled in the rough and tumble of street politics. And likewise the left-wing journalist Owen Jones, a writer for The Guardian newspaper, who I have to say looked more worried than Anna Soubry did when they each came face to face with a small group of pro-Brexit protestors outside the Houses of Parliament. One could say of the protestors that they were quite forthcoming with their opinions.

If you have been following the news over the past few days, you will know that both Anna Soubry and Owen Jones had separate encounters with what were actually only a handful of right-wing Brexit supporters, but who in their short tenure outside the Houses of Parliament have nevertheless managed to become an irritation to members of the political class who clearly regard this particular corner of Westminster as 'their patch', so to speak. And this because I think in the minds of people like Anna Soubry and Owen Jones, politics is only for people who carry with them a certain set of sensibilities. If you do not share this same set of sensibilities, well then your politics are not credible, you are persona non grata, and you are ignored by members of the political class in a way that can make you feel that you do not even exist.

Quite by accident, it was Anna Soubry herself that got straight to the heart of the matter by telling the BBC that, while on the one hand she had "no problem with people protesting", there was on the other hand a "small group of far-right extremists who just want to undermine democracy". With a level of hypocrisy I think worthy of some kind of award, Ms Soubry in her BBC interview was seemingly accusing "far-right extremists" of wanting to "undermine democracy" in pretty much the same breath that she was also calling for the democratic rights of certain people to be curtailed based on nothing more it seems than her dislike of those people. In other words, Anna Soubry was saying that 'democracy isn't for everyone'.

If some people are allowed to play the 'democratic game' while others are excluded from taking part, it means that the thing we had in the first place wasn't democracy at all. Now we know what I have long suspected: democracy is a sham. Only every once in a while someone, or indeed some group of people – like in this case a small group of "far-right extremists" – manages to pull back the curtain for a fleeting glimpse at the levers and the buttons and the other machinations of democracy, only to then have that curtain shut just as quickly as it was opened. People in Britain do not have democracy – they only have the illusion of democracy.

In Western democracies, the oppression of right-wing political minorities is highly insidious. Members of oppressed political minorities, however, always do one thing, and that is they develop hostile, or sometimes very hostile narratives towards their oppressors. In Britain, the people who voted leave in the EU referendum fear having their decision stolen from them by members of a political class which has a track record of ignoring the wishes of ordinary people. And it is a political minority, the far-right, which is spearheading efforts to prevent this from happening, only much to the chagrin of that same political class.

Oppression also involves the unjust use, by the state, of authority. At the behest of the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, as well as a number of signatories to a letter sent by MPs to the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Cressida Dick, an investigation has been launched into both the surrounding of Ms Soubry by protestors as she walked to the Houses of Parliament, and their earlier chanting of 'Soubry is a Nazi'. The Metropolitan Police's Counter Terrorism Command has doubtless been given the job of investigating the protestors involved in these events, including if any of them might have committed some or other kind of criminal offence.

While I very much doubt that any of these people did actually commit some type of criminal offence outside the Houses of Parliament, they nevertheless need to hope that they've all got TV Licences, like they also need to hope that there aren't any dodgy DVD's lying around their homes, because you can bet the police will want to get them for something. And God forbid if any of them happen to have in a kitchen drawer in their home a swastika-shaped pastry cutter, like for example the one an alleged member of National Action was purportedly found in possession of a while back, because then they will be for the high jump. 'Terrorist material found in home of Anna Soubry assailant', the headlines might read.

Those individuals in important positions of responsibility who have called for the arrest of 'unruly' protestors outside the Houses of Parliament under the provisions of the Public Order Act 1986 have in so doing made themselves look pathetic. The space outside the Houses of Parliament should be for everyone, including the people who have no voice; the people whose wishes are routinely ignored by members of the political class; the people whose views are systematically suppressed by influential figures in control of the mainstream media; the people who aren't as smart as Owen Jones, or as privileged as Anna Soubry; and the people who have to resort to shouting things at politicians from a distance in order to have their opinions heard.

If the people don't get what they want – in this case the ending of Britain's membership of the EU – then they are going to get angry. And if the state goes so far as attempting to take away from the oppressed their freedom even to get angry, well then the political class by default loses every last ounce of any credibility it might have. Democracy and freedom are two very different things – the former not worth having, and the latter denied.

Copyright © Christopher Goff
Tag: Freedom
Uploaded: 11 January, 2019.