Several apparently disparate things have happened to me this morning and put together they have coalesced into this blog.
The first was suddenly seeing this iconic photograph on the twitter site of a splendid lady called Helen Warlow, who puts up several photographs and paintings of various kinds every day. (Thank you Helen) I follow her avidly because I enjoy her choices and it’s always a pleasure to discover new artists but this one stopped me in my stride, because I knew it so well. It had first been published in the middle of the Blitz, when I was in London, and it speaks volumes about the blitz spirit which, contrary to the popular opinion of it now, was actually stoical, quiet, self controlled and full of loving kindness. It was never any surprise to me that the people of the blitz voted in a revolutionary Labour government in 1945, which established the NHS and the Welfare State. The attitude led directly from one to the other.
The second thing was discovering a blog by Erica Chenowith, who is an American Political Scientist, that explains what is meant by the 3.5% rule. (Thank you Erica) I’d seen pictures of it written on various walls and pavements all over the place and wondered what it was about. Now here was a blog to tell me. Apparently, it had only taken vociferous and obvious opposition by a mere 3.5% of the population of Chile to get rid of General Pinochet and a similar proportion to remove Milosovic from power in Serbia. And if that is true, by implication it can work in Trump’s America and Johnson’s UK.
Personally I have doubts about whether such a small number could actually achieve so much here or in the USA but the need for public protest is obvious. Nothing has ever been achieved without it, we only have to think of the great movements in our history and the admirable people who have led them, like Martin Luther King’s Civil Rights Movement, for example, or Mahatma Gandhi’s salt march, or the Pankhurst’s Suffragette campaign, to know that ‘We shall overcome’ is not just a hopeful song but can also be an accurate prediction.
And now, hooray, we have a cause that is making a well organised and passionate group of our young people take to the streets to protest, with their parents and teachers and a very large number of other people supporting them. And that is the scandal of the A-level results which are so blatantly and cruelly biased that they simply can’t be ignored, even by our highly partisan and suspect right wing press. The anger on social media this morning shouldn’t leave anyone in any doubt that this time our lying, inadequate, biased, antisocial government of quockerwodgers has gone too far. Strength to your arm all you protesters. Others will follow you.
And here to help you on your way is some information about two other public demonstrations planned that may well interest anyone out there who’s had enough and doesn’t know where to start to make their political will known. You could join the two days of protest at Chequers on August the 18th and 19th. Or the 3.5% protest on September 5th. You will find the news about both of the on social media.
But please don’t sit at home feeling depressed about what is happening. ‘Long-term change,’ as Erica Chenoweth writes ‘never comes with submission, resignation, or despair about the inevitability of the status quo’.
#Revolt#resist#protest as our magnificent ex-sixth formers are doing in Parliament Square at this very moment. Respec’ you splendid young people!
And strength to all our arms.