These past 12 months have been far from average, from the global pandemic, which is still a massive part of our daily lives to increase political activism – primarily driven by Black Lives Matter (BLM) and Extinction Rebellion (XR).
Political activism is excellent; it shows that Britain has a healthy, thriving democracy but the problem that has been born out of it is the goals of the minority of people who run these organisations.
In the case of XR, they’ve taken Climate Change, which is a concern for 64% of people who participated in the Peoples Climate Vote survey, with 72% of people in Western Europe and North America saying climate change is a global emergency.
If we look specifically at Great Britain, with data taken from a poll by YouGov – 45% of participants agreed with the view that ‘The climate is changing and human activity is partly responsible, together with other factors’ with only 1% being in denial about the climate changing. The statement of ‘The idea of man-made global warming is a hoax invented to deceive people’, 2% responded saying ‘true’ and 56% saying it’s ‘false.’
Black Lives Matter
Turning now to BLM, no-one denies their concerns as ‘illegitimate’; however, for many people, the way the people at the top are going about raising the message just does not sit right. Instead of the leaders being at the front and taking the hit, they have sat back and allowed the movement to be hijacked by a minority of people who think they are helping – but in reality, causing more harm than good.
In one poll by YouGov, when responders asked ‘How often, if at all, was it clear who was behind the ads about the BLM protests on big social media platforms and the responses were as follows; 10% never, 19% rarely, 26% sometimes. Additionally (in another survey by YouGov), they found 40% of people thought BLM had had a generally negative impact in Britain, with 24% saying they thought the protests had had a ‘small but short term impact.’ This little impact that BLM has had highlights the problem of having the movement being hijacked by a minority who think they are helping. The goals become unachievable, and the judgement of the actions to take next become clouded and detached from reality.
It is this detachment from reality that this piece has outlined a few exciting survey results. The results from the surveys give you data, data which shows the real world; with us still being in lockdown, it is easy to be consumed by mass social media – which will have you believe that we are being taken over by far the left and that they are winning.
Danger and Damage
The danger is that the left-wing agenda has been (ironically) under the banner of a ‘kinder, gentler politics.’ This new kind of almost idealised politics entered the mainstream when Jeremy Corbyn first became the Labour Party leader – way back in 2015.
The reality of the ‘kinder, gentler politics’ has focused so heavily on identity politics that the judgement has been clouded by generalisations and discrimination and has been strengthened by the 2019 intake of Labour politicians – most notably Nadia Whittome and Zarah Sultana – MPs who are only a little older than me.
The mature, grown-up conversation has, in turn, been replaced by divide and conquer tactics. These tactics have forced cracks to appear, have caused instability and in place of stability is plaster of hatred, curtailing of individuality and pitting one another against each other.
In a report by Dr Rakib Ehsan, the findings highlighted the damage from “physical violence towards the police” to statues’ vandalism – including Sir Winston Churchill in Parliament Square. And it is this point that I want to stress; demonstrations and protests are great. They are more inclusive and gather a sway of attention; however, what we saw last summer is the teetering on the edge of damage and danger. The damage and danger of a minority using racism attempt to destabilise and further their Neo-Marxist agenda. For so long, we have been working towards getting ourselves to a society that accepts everyone. This community pulls together and does not buy into the idea of ‘identity politics’ because of the problems it causes regarding discrimination based on outdated stereotypes.
I am a master’s student, so being exposed to the left-wing agenda is not new. It is something I have discussed with friends and challenged in essays. I won’t lie to you, though, at first, I sympathised with the movements; racism is still a problem, and it is scary. I believed (like a lot of people) that those in charge of BLM had good intentions – intentions that would benefit everyone, not just the minority, and there is no denying that XR has done an excellent job at raising the concern for climate change, getting the conversation at the forefront of the agenda.
In another example of the damage and danger, one only has to look to the impact of the protests against the new Police, Crime Sentencing and Courts Bill “which gives powers to tackle non-violent protests, including those deemed too noisy or a nuisance.” These protests that have been held and are scheduled in some of our largest cities are known as ‘Kill the Bill’ protests, as protestors are concerned with the increase in police powers that will be given to them, in an interview one protestor told the BBC “I think the government have deliberately put this bill for a time when people can’t protest and I think that’s really wrong.” Another told the BBC that “this bill will last for decades if it does pass, and that will have very serious consequences over Covid currently” however, with the violent turn that these protests are taking from setting police vehicles on fire to attacking officers, causing one officers arm to break, to another officer suffering from broken ribs.
Source: BBC ‘Bristol protest: Police attacked as ‘Kill the Bill’ demo turns violent.’
These scenes are not only terrifying but also disgraceful; it really highlights the danger of a small number of people with the intent to cause danger and harm to totally disregard what is supposed to be a peaceful protest.
And it is the danger of the small minority who are violently pushing for the left-wing agenda who need to be stopped. Dividing society through identity politics and causing unnecessary disruption along with injuring police officers – when you’re supposed to be peaceful – is not going to help; rather rejection will come through thick and fast. The requirement for a push back needs to be strong and steady as well, as things start to open up again; from spending hours upon hours in our online echo-chambers to seeing people and returning to a form of normality where conversations about what needs improving remain civil and are far from violent.
* First posted on Wolves of Westminster