This protest march today is, ultimately, a complete sham. When it's presented as 'a national protest... against the manner in which the financial crisis is being handled by the Government' I'm all "Absolutely! Count me in!!" But it isn't about that at all. Not really.
When the unions say 'It is accepted that everyone will have to contribute towards resolving the current problems, but this should be done in a fair and equitable manner' that's just coded crap for 'this is all someone elses fault and you can feck right off from my pay packet.' It's as if we’d suddenly balance the books and everything would be ok if we seized the assets of a couple of dozen bankers and property developers and chucked them in jail. We should do that anyway, by the way, but it just wouldn't solve anything.
The truth is that it is an absolute fact that, despite having the highest levels of disposable income in Europe for years, people in this country believed and still believe they are over-taxed.
It is an absolute fact that the vast majority of the population believed and still believe that they are fully entitled to ‘first world’ healthcare (whatever that means) and education; Guards on every street corner; free child care or child care assistance; free water, free waste disposal; care for the elderly and those with special needs and so on and so on - all to be paid for by their existing, relatively paltry (by other European standards) tax burden.
People are aware the country is banjaxed but the problem is that people are both refusing to accept any responsibility for either the mess we've made or cleaning it up. The way people are carrying on you’d think that the number of people who benefited from the Celtic Tiger can be counted on one hand with a missing thumb. The public sector workers brazenly acting as if benchmarking never happened now grinding the civil service to a halt even before the strikes. The construction workers in their 20s who were earning more than their parents and who flashed their wealth in everyone’s faces now spitting in the face of their employers' body's leader. The middle-aged who flogged their houses for ten times what they paid for them and who told the world and its children that property ‘never lost value’ now stuck with buy-to-let shoeboxes no one wants to rent. The unionised workers who rode their multi-national employers sideways for wage increases, bonuses and overtime now acting all surprised and upset when they upped and left and dumped them in the dole office. The car dealers and shop owners who fleeced us royally now whinging that they're closing because no one wants to buy their overpriced goods anymore... and all the rest who were all at the same sort of thing.
The fact is we live in a country of lemmings who believe whatever it suits them to believe. The electorate are, generally speaking, that stupid. They saw the waste and the mis-directed money for 10 years, then went along with it again in the last election because they never thought all this would happen or that it wouldn't happen to them. But it has, so it's out to protest...