The middle classes are out in force – or is it farce? – again in Bristol tonight, allegedly protesting against the Police and Crime Bill. It’s the usual thing. Around 500 people from the revolutionary heartlands of Stokes Croft and Clifton gathered on College Green and then made their way to the Police Station, whereupon they sat down blocking the road, preventing law abiding folk going about their business. As I write, it hasn’t kicked off just yet. No police vans have been set alight by law-abiding citizens, fighting against, oh what was it now? A few cans of White Lightning and it’s hard to remember anything. Looking at this lot, I reckon it’s a few bottles of Chablis.
I suppose the good thing is that we are not in the midst of a pandemic which has killed upwards of 150,000 in our country alone. Wait – we are! And as things stand, we’re not allowed to attend a sporting event, go to the pub, meet up with more than one other household, go away on holiday in a tent but it’s perfectly okay to march, cheek by jowl, with not a Bristolian accent within at least a mile, with like-minded comrades, before sitting in the middle of the road. As you do. It’s even safer, I believe, to lob fireworks at police officers and daub police horses with paint. It’s enough to make Priti Patel smirk.
I know this doesn’t go down particularly well with the chattering middle classes and Champagne socialists, but I’m with the police on this one. Many years in the civil service, working alongside the thin blue line, changed my views on everything to do with the police. I’ve had my moments when I’ve seen individual acts from coppers which I have found unnecessary and unwelcome. But when you walk adjacent to their shoes, cynicism turns to admiration. Of course there are a few wrong ‘uns in the Old Bill – have you seen Line of Duty, for Chrissakes? – but most of them do a near impossible job impossibly well. Dealing with 500 bampots tonight can’t be fun.
Hopefully, tonight’s crowd will not set fire to police vehicles or smash the windows of the police station? It strikes me as a strange thing to do when the government is already hell-bent on taking away our rights to protest. It’s doing Priti ‘Vacant’ Patel’s job for her.
You’ll need to trust me when I say that what’s happening in Bristol is not representative of the people who live here. Few of the people outside the police station tonight coming from the city’s working class heartlands. Atticus and Hazel will not be from the sink estates and even if they were, they’d have disowned where they came from years ago. More canapés anyone?
The Kill the Bill protests/riots/fucking nuisance/nonsense are of the time, of the moment. Soon, it will be something else, although for most of us, the joy of getting a haircut or a pint in a pub will be enough.
Patel’s Bill is a very bad Bill. Peaceful protest, employing social distancing, is legal. Being a twat, especially an anarcho-syndicalist twat, doesn’t help, but I suppose if you are an anarchist you don’t want to help anyone, do you?