Today I got two charming little bits of paper in the post.
Here are some points from a liberal-minded, broadly socialist student opposed to the speed and scale of the cuts, who, I imagine, falls into the target demographic for this literature:
- Direct action does not change anything. In recent history, there are probably four noticeable examples of protests, strikes and riots that have actually directly affected Government policy: the Suffragette movement (indirectly); the civil rights movement; the coal miners’ strikes; and the Poll Tax riots. All of these, with the exception of the coal miners’ strikes (the second of which resulted in a sound victory for Mrs Thatcher) were in cases of genuine social injustice: the disenfranchisement of women, as if a penis were somehow necessary to perform the task of voting; the treatment of coloured people as second-class citizens; and the policy that a person should be required to pay a Community Charge to their council simply for existing within the borough’s bounds. These were genuine social injustices—not a moderate increase in an automatically-deducted student loan repayment.
- The blue business card-sized thing advises me to show my anger at the fact it’s going to become more expensive to study by… not studying. Sod off. In an ideal world, yes, university education would be free. This is, however, not an ideal world. The Government will still be making a loss on student loans. Also, striking will not change one word of government policy.
- Here is the logo of the Socialist Worker’s Party, responsible for the Education Activist Network who distributed this landfill:
Now, this may be a personal irk, but why is the symbol of the Socialist Worker’s Party a fist? Fighting the power? All this does is reinforce the perception (be it right or wrong) that the SWP consists of young, angry, middle-class students playing anarchist. (Oh, and a closed fist can’t put an X into a ballot box, and hence can’t change government policy.)
There’s a reason I don’t believe in the direct action trumpeted by the SWP and others. There is already a method of direct action built into our political system. It’s called voting.
In the 2010 general election, 10.7 million people voted for the Conservative Party. That’s two million more than those who voted Labour, and four million more than those who voted Lib Dem. First-past-the-post has mangled the results a fair bit, but the fact remains that the Conservatives won the popular vote. Therefore, we are stuck with their policy (albeit regulated by the Liberal Democrats) until the next election.
If you think the Tories’ policies are shit, vote for another party at the next election. That’s all that’s needed. No fist-logos, no revolutions, no re-creation of the final scene from The Birds outside St. Paul’s. Educate other people about why they shouldn’t vote Conservative. If you think Labour and the Lib Dems are also shit, then provide a credible alternative that you can vote for.
The SWP, and its ilk, are primarily manufacturers of paper recycling and idealistic hot air. Hot air does not make the world go round, and hot air does not change government policy. Votes in the ballot box do.