UKUncut are keen to portray themselves as peaceful protesters. They reiterate that their objection is to legal tax avoidance by wealthy companies. They do not accuse anybody of tax evasion. Somebody must have read them a potted history of defamation law.
Even dear Vera Baird, the former, thankfully, Solicitor-General, was out and about on Twitter at the week-end, defending their actions. Moral protest is to be supported by those formerly highly placed.
It is vehemently blogged in certain circles that the police were acting unconscionably in arresting the members of UKUncut who invaded Fortnum and Masons at the week-end, under cover of the dastardly violent rioters who were out and about. All UKUncut did was to introduce several dozen of their members into a venue that they would not normally be in, sit down on the ground, and draw attention to their dislike, on purely moral grounds you understand, of the legal practices that Fortnum and Mason engage in.
So far so good. Is this the new face of protest? I doubt it somehow, for there are several other ‘moral protests’ that could be made.
Imagine several dozen members of say, UKUngay, invading the Heaven nightclub, occupying a fairly large area of the dance floor, sitting on the floor, and drawing attention to their dislike, on purely moral grounds you understand, of the legal practices that members of that nightclub engage in. Sympathy from the ex-Solicitor-General, you think? Understanding articles in the Guardian? A broadly appreciative run through of their members and their ‘social media success’ by Channel 4?
How about several dozen members of UKUnexpenses, invading parliament, occupying the front office of IPSA, sitting on the floor, and drawing attention to their dislike, on purely moral grounds you understand, of the legal practices that members of parliament engage in when calculating their expenses. Would that attract the same high level approval of their actions, the same calls for the police to back off, the same claims that they weren’t actually disrupting the business activities, and they should be applauded?
What say you? What other ‘moral protests’ would you like to see get the same sympathetic coverage?