First of all can I say well done to the 60,000 largely peaceful demonstrators that made it up to Manchester over the weekend. There were some really creative protests such as an anti-austerity rave and a flash mob at Manchester Piccadilly train station to try and make it a fun and inclusive affair. However the protests were overshadowed by a group of idiots that threw an egg at a delegate of the Conservative Party conference, spat at a journalist as they came out of the conference centre and generally being quite aggressive towards the Conference delegates going in and out.
Yet I've seen quite a few people on the left defend this aggressiveness saying that what the Tories are doing is much worse and that the Tory member that got egged had it coming because he was goading the protesters by showing them pictures of Margaret Thatcher. But throwing an object at someone is assault and assault is obviously wrong and against the law, whoever the victim is. The first two articles I saw about the protest could barely get a paragraph in without mentioning the egging so well done to those for making the headlines about that rather than the importance of the protest itself.
Yes I don't expect the majority of the media to be onside with our movement, however by doing what they did, all that these idiots have done is give ammunition to the press to paint the left as militant thugs. Exactly how are we going to build a movement to beat the Tories if we put people off from joining due to this?
Am I making it worse by focusing on the minority of protesters behaving aggressively? I don't know. All I do know is the majority of the public don't really care about politics one way or another and that all they see in terms of the protests is the bitesize headlines and what exactly are those headlines going to be focusing on?
I get that there is a genuine heartfelt anger at what the Tories are doing and believe you me I, like many people, have been negatively affected by austerity. Here's an idea though. How about you channel that anger into positive action against the government. I know that the vast majority people within the movement do this and that there will always be idiots at protests who think they are being funny and clever when they assault someone. However, if you are serious about helping build a strong movement against the Tories, then cut out the puerile, immature and aggressive behaviour and don't create negative headlines that can be avoided. As Jez says, no personal attacks. Thanks and solidarity x.
P.S. Quick message to the police and the government. Please don’t in future intimidate innocent peaceful protesters by having snipers aimed at them. Ta.