Toby Perkins Labour MP for Chesterfield clearly made his thoughts known as he waded into the after event Twitter discussions into last nights ‘kill the Bill protest’ at Bristol opposing the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. A bill that infringes on our fundamental rights to protest.
Perkins response sparked an outcry from Left-wing supporters and some well known Left-wing commentators like Owen Jones, Paul Mason along with Guardian and Jacobin columnist Abi Wilkinson.
The centrist Labour MP and ally of Sir Keir Starmer Tweeted: “This looks to me like entirely appropriate use of the baton. A good example of proportionate policing under extreme pressure. Well done.”
No one is condoning violence of any sort but to see a Labour MP cheerleading the police in their use of a Baton shows a real disconnect from the people.
Paul Mason actually calls it when he Tweeted a response to Perkins stating: “Your comments are politically disgraceful and illiterate even from a public order point of view. The commanders of those officers will have been desperate to de-escalate and return to normal policing. We need an inquiry into what happened.”
Perkins was taken to task at his comments one Tweet expressing by Ellie Baker who suggested “If you’ve ever wondered how fascism arose in Nazi Germany, just listen to centrists lecturing an oppressed people on the correct way to protest as their Prime minister mobilises to deny your right to peaceful protest .shame on you Perkins“
Owen Jones Tweeted: “This ghoul isn’t some random right-wing troll on Twitter – he’s a Labour MP. People like this throughout history cheered on the police beating striking miners, LGBTQ activists and suffragettes, all claiming it was proportionate action given the circumstances. Nauseating.”
Perkins made claim the police are public workers and needed protection. Comparisons of police brutality were made with the miners strike, Perkins took acceptation to that.
What started as a non-violent demonstration in the city centre against the government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill turned ugly after hundreds of protesters marched from College Green to the New Bridewell police station.
The event was dubbed ‘Kill the Bill’, in reference to the attempts to stop the Government’s proposed law which would give police and the Home Secretary increased powers to stop protests.
The Bill also makes a special new law to protect monuments and statues, in the wake of the toppling of the statue of Edward Colston, with the crime of damaging them punishable by up to ten years in prison.
Many protesters were wearing face masks and carried placards, including slogans such as “say no to UK police state” and “freedom to protest is fundamental to democracy” and “Kill the Bill”.
Abi Wilkinson certainly called it right when she said: “Violence is unacceptable regardless of circumstances, zero exceptions. I thought that was the line?”
The question is what next for the centrist playbook? “spare the rod, spoil the child”?
People will not be cowed
There is no justification for wanton violence and destruction wherever it comes from but its safe to say after the restrictions of lockdown and the injustice of this Bill it will be a very hot summer.
“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”- John F. Kennedy
There is an inevitable truth in the words of JFK, its not a justification of violence but it is a warning of more protest and a rejection of a system that has overstretched in its intrusions onto peoples liberties and lives.
This bill can only lead to more civil unrest, it does not just effect the Left but all citizens.
The civil liberties group Liberty described the vote on Tuesday evening as a “dark stain on our democracy”, adding: “Our right to protest is not and should never be viewed as a gift from the state.”