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Con-Dem Policies May Provoke More Civil Unrest - But Don't Blame the Victims of Austerity for It

15/04/2013 13:01 BST | Updated 14/06/2013 10:12 BST

Hundreds of people made their way to the centre of London on Saturday afternoon marking the first Saturday since the news of Margaret Thatcher's death was announced.

On Wednesday we will see Thatcher given a state funeral, funded by the tax payer, with David Cameron desperately hoping that he will emerge from it all looking more statesman-like than he did previously.

Be in no doubt, that the government and their colleagues among the right wing press, will seek to present this whole episode as if it were the Diamond Jubilee all over again, or some other royal nonsensical event designed to whip up an unwarranted feel good factor among those watching. It will also be used by many in the media to paint a picture far removed from the reality of how most people really feel.

This is politics after all; Show business for ugly people as they say. This isn't really about Thatcher or her legacy which seems to have miraculously transformed via the pages of once liberal newspapers into that of some sort of people's freedom fighter.

No, the propaganda of the last few days is about more than that. This is about the current administration milking this debacle for all its worth.

Similarly, when people take to the streets during Thatcher's funeral on Wednesday, they won't simply be attending just to voice their disdain at the cost of it all.

There is a wider backdrop to accompany the last few days, and it is that of a firm rejection of the neo-liberal policies of austerity and cuts which both the former PM and David Cameron represent.

Being encouraged by Cameron et al, to celebrate the life of Mrs Thatcher an apparent champion of freedom, while the current PM and his expensively educated brethren seek to implement their equivalent of Thatcher's poll tax is just adding insult to insult.

They might think that people are switched off from politics. Perhaps Cameron is hoping that somehow he can scrape a majority at the next election and thus discard of Nick Clegg and the not so Liberal Demagogues.

But being sick and tired of the mainstream political parties is not the same thing as being switched off from politics. People are politicised, and will become more so as the effects of the cuts become clearer. Many people turning out on Saturday in London and across other cities reflects this. Let's not forget too that membership numbers for mainstream political parties are among the lowest they have been for a long time. Voter turnout is low. But people are mobilised around a myriad of issues and are finding alternative ways to bring them to light.

But contrary to how many in the media portray anyone and everyone engaged in resisting the government's cuts, or any other form of protest, a minority of people smashing up local shops doesn't represent the majority of everyone engaged in dissent, any more than the criminal behaviour of some in the police represents the behaviour of all of the police.

At demonstrations though, the media often misrepresents what is happening and demonises all who are taking part in any protest. In the same breath they wilfully neglect to inform audiences of any criminal behaviour by the police.

And so the media becomes the government's sock puppet, distracting people from the issues that have led to people taking to the streets in the first place, tarnishing all demonstrators as criminal.

On numerous occasions over the last few years we have seen examples of this taking place from the demonstrations in December 2010, through to the reporting of the riots which took place in 2011.

Remember Alfie Meadows? He's one of those who was at the tuition fees demonstrations in 2010. He was beaten to within an inch of his life and then presented and vilified as a criminal.

What about Ian Tomlinson at the G20 demonstrations in 2009? He wasn't even taking part in the demonstrations but was killed after he was pushed to the ground by a police officer who eventually walked free. The episode was even caught on camera. In the initial days following Mr Tomlinson's tragic death all sorts of ludicrous justifications were put forward to try and explain away the act of police aggression while many in the media portrayed events as if somehow Tomlinson himself had courted trouble.

When Mark Duggan, yet another young Black man to die in extremely suspicious circumstances in police custody was talked about in the media in the days following his death, he was presented as a criminal, the implication being that he somehow deserved to die.

Then there was the case of Jody McIntyre also at the student demonstrations of 2010. Police were caught on camera dragging him from his wheelchair and across the street onto the ground-the only thing more criminal than McIntyre's treatment by the police was Ben Brown's subsequent interview with him on the BBC.

In all these instances questions about the conduct of the police were glossed over, while many of the victims of injustice found themselves being character assassinated in the press so that the public's attention would be diverted from the real issues at hand.

So be wary of what many-not all-in the mainstream media might have to say about the proceedings during Margaret Thatcher's funeral on Wednesday.

If it goes wrong blame it on the neo-liberal economics of this shambolic government-don't blame it on the victims of austerity.