Wednesday, April 01, 2009

There was much on the radio...

...this morning about the possibility of riots in London, because of the G-thingummy Summit. People in the City were apparently all being warned to Arrive In Casual Dress so as to Look Like A Protester and Not a Rich Banker. So Jamie left for work in his idea of Casual Dress... I am not sure the tweed jacket and barbour were quite what was meant, but since he's neither rich nor a banker I suppose it doesn't matter... Actually, since the protests were supposed to include a farmer's market and camping and outdoor barbeques, it all sounds rather country-tweed-ish anyway.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Auntie Joanna, This editorial on the G20 protesters was published in Australia's national broadsheet newspaper. Thought it was classic! Also available on

The Australian,
TUE 31 MAR 2009


Globalisation has done more to end poverty than socialism

IN their quest for an ideal world in which everyone has a job, no one is poor, greenhouse emissions are negligible, trade barriers build social justice and all the Pandas have plenty of bamboo, the 35,000 Group of 20 protesters who assembled in London's Hyde Park on Saturday missed their big chance. Instead of listening to ACTU president Sharan Burrow chide bankers and corporate CEOs for ``filling their own pockets'', they should have wandered deeper into the park to the bronze statue of an ideological soulmate in Kensington Gardens. There, since 1912, has stood Peter Pan, the boy who refused to grow up.
The protesters range from self-proclaimed class warriors, ``radical anthropologists'' and anarchists to anti-airport busybodies, anti-Israeli organisations and the International Union of Sex Workers. Add Greenpeace, a handful of British Labour dissidents upset about the ``brutality'' of welfare reform and the messages are garbled, contradictory and pointless. Broadly, they boil down to one aim -- overthrowing capitalism.
What the protesters -- including the university academics -- are too economically illiterate to grasp is that global capitalism and the freeing up
of international trade have helped lift more people from poverty in the
past 50 years than was achieved in the previous 500 years.
By lifting productivity and therefore living standards, globalisation has boosted average life expectancy and quality of life in countries that were battling hunger and disease a generation ago.
No one disputes that poverty is an evil that should be eliminated. But insofar as they have any ideas, the protesters' agenda would plunge millions more into hunger and disease. Shutting off trade and energy from fossil fuels and trying to solve the credit crunch by nationalising banks and eliminating the profit motive would bankrupt much of the world.
Ironically, it is mainly Western capitalist nations, which the protesters so despise, that respect their right to protest peacefully as a sign of robust democracy at work. Che Guevera and Fidel Castro were never as tolerant.
This protest, however, promises to go far beyond peaceful protest. Antics such as hanging effigies of bankers in the steets and targeting firms that failed to turn off their lights for the symbolic, spurious ``Earth Hour'' are provocative and idiotic. In hard economic times, gridlocking a major city to the point that the real economy shuts down for hours on end is indefensible. While the last thing police should do is turn the rent-a-crowd into martyrs, their right to protest does not run to inflicting even greater economic pain on workers whose jobs are already on the line. The same could be said of yesterday's Qantas baggage handlers strike that paralysed four capital city airports.
As the G20 crowd are determined not to grow up, London authorities would do well to redirect them off the streets and into the park towards their utopian Neverland.