7 Dec 2010

#UKUNCUT, Wikileaks, Robin Hood and New Politics

There is a lovely parallel between the #ukuncut phenomena and the #wikileaks ideologies in current affairs in the UK.


While I will diplomatically abstain on commenting about #ukuncut's approach to student fees, I admired and vicariously supported their demonstration on Saturday against Top Shop boss and Government Advisor Philip Green.

For those who are new to the subject, students demonstrated against Top Shop venues across the country with the cries of "Where did all the money go? He sent it all to Monaco" amongst others.

The protest was about Philip Green's transfer of assets into his non-domicile wife's name and transfer of earnings to a tax haven.

I approve of an ideology which asserts that taxes should be fair and equal across all of society. That condones the approach that all members of society should bear the brunt of the deficit, no matter what they earn or what class they belong to.

If this approach were adopted by the current administration, the cost of the cuts would be spread more evenly across society in the UK and the cost per person would diminish.

This embraces utilitarianism that should be adopted in order to empower a productive and fair society.


The Wikileaks and #cablegate saga has released torrents of support for democracy, accountability and fairness in society which gives credence to the better side of human nature.

With the developing phenomenon of modernity and our interaction with the world through the internet, we are all flaneurs of society through windows of technology.

We both belong to and contribute to the cogs of the country, with Twitterati, websites like Demotix and Red Pepper and the growing penchant for internet led revolutions which can bring down an X Factor single success and by the same measure, may have a significant affect on politics and society as we know it.

We should be embracing this mini-revolution, that cites fairness, greatest good for all and openness and accountability at every level. But instead, members of the public are seeing the arrest of Assange, the potential attempt to "cover-up" further but without any justification.

We will, of course, eat humble pie if Assange is found guilty of the crimes in Sweden.

Robin Hood

All of this echoes romantic and noble premises of Robin Hood.

The fictitious character who challenged authority to embrace and demand equality.

But while Robin Hood paid no taxes; we are seeing a rising group of people who appreciate the necessity of taxes, and the benefits that they entitle us to.

People in Britain are proud of their National Health Service, they see merit in education to different levels and they value the collection of their rubbish.

But they resent the inequality across society, they condemn those who are granted unfair opportunity on the basis of class, money and clever accountants.

New Politics

However, none of these ideas are remotely new. As Robin Hood demonstrates.

Fairness and equality in society has been a common thread for the end of 20th Century and has continued in to this century with aplomb.

What is different is the accountability.

Robin Hood could not hold his country's administration to account.

Wikileaks and Julian Assange have provided one conduit for accountability that ought to be truly empowering.

But Wikileaks is one small chunk in a potential infinity of information, resources and power on the internet. This all forms part of a new wave of journalism, a new wave of consideration of social structures and ultimately a new wave of politics.

Students are already calling to withdraw Clegg as a their MP, in a bitter irony to his statements in the Election Debates, where he called for honesty and integrity and power to the people.

However, these people should not be blinded by waves of spin. There are dishonest and misrepresented ministers in every party.

The key is demand accountability. To demand recall. To demand transparency and openness and to ensure that people listen.

And if the key to this is a vicarious "hash-tag" or super-gluing yourself to a shop window, then take it.

Think of the lengths Emiline Pankhurst and fellow suffragettes went through, having their teeth removed and being force fed when they went on hunger strike. If the public want something badly enough, they should suffer and sacrifice for it, if that is what it takes.

And it is my genuine belief that honesty, integrity, accountability and fairness are what we as British People should be demanding, and take the appropriate (naturally non-harming to others) route to achieve it.

Note: Perhaps this empowerment will be supported if we succeed in the AV Referndum next year.

1 comment:

  1. Robin hood was not fictional, though he may have been plural.


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