For the last few weeks, across France, people in Yellow Hi-Viz Vests, the Gillette Jaune movement as it is called, have been taking to the streets in protest. Whilst the mainstream media have sought to portray this as a Paris protest, the movement has formed across France with people in the Hi-viz Vests taking action up and down the country.
UK Yellow Vests
It would appear that the Yellow Vest movement is no longer restricted to people from our sourthern neighbour. People in those vests have appeared on the streets of the UK with most videos appeairng to have been made in London. Bridges over the Thames have been blocked as well as junctions and streets.
In the true British sense of fair-play, it would appear the UK Yellow Vests are only blockading the streets to certain types of vehicles. Independently operated Taxis, businesses and Ambulances appear to be allowed free passage across the Vest lines.
The UK Yellow Vests seem to chant about the Government’s lack of intention to deliver a real Brexit and whilst this is a worthy cause, I can’t help but wonder if the Anglo version of the French Yellow Vests is a one issue group. There are certainly many things that need fixing in the United Kingdom. Poverty and homelessness, the welfare benefits system, along with mental health services seem perennially at the top of the list of issues requiring attention.
Have people on the streets protesting shows a lack of any democratic channels for those people to raise their complaints and have them listened to, considered and acted upon. You only have to look at how our politicians insulate themselves from the general public, by using security teams and the Police.
Ineffective democratic redress
Ineffective democratic redress should be a big concern for us all. It is a bit like running a steam engine without any pressure safety valve. Pressures will continue to grow and rather than them being dealt with in a gradual and effective way, they will reach a point where they will simply explode. That would take the form of widespread civil disobedience, violence, rioting and looting. If society gets to that level, nobody wins in the long term.
You can’t get turkeys to vote for Christmas
How can the Yellow Vests get the politicians to listen to their requirements and demands? Getting politicians to accept greater and more direct accountability to the general public is very much akin to getting turkeys to vote for Christmas. (Or Thanksgiving for our USA based readers.)
It will be a long slow process that will require great patience and that may be beyond some.
So in the short term, I am preparing for the days of widespread civil disobedience. The politicians and the Police they control will suggest that ever more draconian measures will be required and they will probably blame the demands for these powers on Brexit.
However, people need to remain calm. Stay focused on longer term goals and understand that ‘we the people’ can shape our future if we stick together.