I was sunning myself in Jubilee Park and wandering through Waterlooville Town Centre on Saturday afternoon mostly wondering where the hell the fountain had gone and when I got back to my sisters she asked me if I had heard about the protest outside Nick Clegg’s house. I hadn’t and with no internet at my sisters and no 3G (how do people live in such conditions?) I wouldn’t get up to speed on the issue until the best part of 48 hours after it had started.
So having read up on the issues I’ll say that the UK Uncut mob weren’t doing anything illegal or nasty but they once more showed themselves to be the selfish lot we have all seen before. They think they speak for everyone but we all know that isn’t the case. No-one can speak for everyone. A few weeks ago I got tweets from people attacking me for what the Southend Liberal Democrat Councillors did. Now unless the count saw a monumental cock-up I am not a Southend Lib Dem Councillor but several people thought because I was a candidate that I was fair game for abuse on situations that I had no control over or say in. That is idiotic and so is the claims by K Uncut that they speak for everyone and/or the majority of people.
So I have established (well I haven’t but I have said) that the protests didn’t do anything wrong per se but what they did do was cause distress to people who weren’t the target of the protest. Nick Clegg and his family have neighbours and some of them probably don’t like Nick Clegg so thought ‘good on you’ but others will have seen their kids upset and scared by all the kerfuffle outside where they lived. Do the UK Uncut mob think of anyone else or did they just not think of possible collateral damage?
They clearly thought that Clegg’s three boys were fair game otherwise they wouldn’t have protested outside his home and would have caught him somewhere away from his kids. That was pretty disgusting in itself but it effects other people and other children as well.
Two of my excellent Lib Dem colleagues have already blogged about this (well probably more than two have but I have read these two) The 2012 bookies favourite for Lib Dem Blogger of the Year Caron Lindsay has written UK Uncut should not have been protesting at Nick Clegg’s house and the man who won best new Lib Dem Blog last year and was later than Nick Clegg to the interview with the man himself Richard Morris is taking stick over at The New Statesman for his piece entitled Targeting Clegg’s family home was plain wrong. Both are worth a click and a read if you want more views on this subject.
I am going to write about another situation though and try to draw some parallels. Sometimes you do things that you don’t see as a problem but others might and the example I am going to use is nudity. I live alone and work from home. I also don’t tend to wear too many clothes if the weather is nice around my apartment. I have no problem with nudity but I understand that others might and therefore I don’t go outside in the nip or sunbathe with no clothes on in my patio area. I also don’t have the patio doors open in general (my patio backs on to the communal area) if I’m in my birthday suit and if I do then the curtains will be shut. If I’m cooking or washing up or whatever then I’ll ensure I pull down the blind in the kitchen.
‘But wait – being seen in the nip is indecent exposure’ I hear you cry. Well actually it isn’t. It is generally believed so but it is a common misconception. According to the Sexual Offences Act 2003 Section 66:
A person commits an offence if—
(a)he intentionally exposes his genitals, and
(b)he intends that someone will see them and be caused alarm or distress.
So walking around my apartment naked might get point a but it would never get point b. I would never intend to cause alarm or distress to anyone by seeing me sans clothes but just to be sure and because I’m not selfless I will close curtains/blinds if I think there is any possible chance of someone seeing me and inadvertently causing them distress. So even though being naked in the home and being seen isn’t illegal unless you intend to be seen and intend to cause alarm and distress I will not put people in this situation because I think of others. This is where the UK Uncut mob differ from me as they didn’t think of others and only themselves and their desperate attack on Nick Clegg.
I’ll end with from quotes from a piece in the Telegraph with my rebuttals in normal text:
Jean Sandler, 42, a UK Uncut supporter, said: “Nick Clegg is one of the architects of austerity; he’s a millionaire and lives in a million pound home.
Did you know that his wife is extremely successful and earns way more than Nick Clegg? No. No you didn’t did you Jean?
“The cuts are a political choice of this Government and the Cabinet of out of touch millionaires, they are not necessary.
Yes they are a choice. We could choose this or we could choose ignoring the debt and going the way of Greece. Everyone would have cut. No-one wouldn’t have cut it is just a question of how much and in all honesty the difference because how it is being done now and how Labour would have cut isn’t exactly a chasm.
“No one voted for Cameron and Clegg’s disastrous plan that means that we end up paying for the banks’ crisis.
Well actually more MPs did than didn’t. We vote in MPs to make the decisions on our behalf. Not every Bill goes before a national vote. That is how our democracy works…
“These cruel cuts are designed to destroy our public services, the NHS, the welfare state and our future.
What bullshit. I’m guessing the sun was affecting this man/woman – heck Jean could be either so I’m not guessing here.
“The cuts are getting personal and so are our protests.”
So this person is basically saying that you can get personal as long as you believe you are in the right. Er…not too sure that is the best way to go. History has taught us that much.
Why do UK Uncut let people talk for them who are clearly deluded or is that just par for the course of many within this movement?
I think that is a good question to end this on. I’m going to get a drink but I’m wearing underwear so no concerns about indecent exposure.
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