Don’t get me wrong, as someone who is interested in politics and political reform, I welcome protest and dissent. Protest and dissent are vital to civic life and listening to criticism is vital for political growth. However, if you are going to protest and want to engage with the people you disagree with, the following might be useful -
- Appropriating other people’s struggles, their appalling treatment and life and death desperation for your own ends is insulting, demeaning to those people and shows you have no understanding of privilege. For example the guy who yelled at me and others queuing to get into Sheffield City Hall, declaring that Sheffield had been turned into the ‘Left Bank ‘ would had a better reception if machine gun emplacements, bulldozed homes and the bodies of murdered children had been more in evidence. As it was, we stopped listening to you pretty much instantly for saying something so idiotic.
- If you come up to me and say you would a like a constructive conversation about why you are protesting, but then don’t have any real idea of what to say except that anyone who disagrees with you is ‘tory scum’ then I’m going to walk away.
- A catchy placard slogan is not going to make up for not knowing what you are talking about. If you are going to disagree with a policy, read that policy first and then tell me what you would do differently. Making threats and personal insults is not protest, it’s plain old fashioned thuggery.
To all the other people whom did take the time to be polite, well informed and to actually listen , a big thank you! We may not have agreed but it was good to talk to you.