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Doh! We reckoned without the cunning council.

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Joined: 30 May 2013
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2013 7:48 am    Post subject: Doh! We reckoned without the cunning council. Reply with quote

I was merrily sitting in front of the local news last night only because I was waiting for 'Question Time'. The announcer made some remark about how people had been going to protest in Newport about our Chartist mural on Saturday. I thought "What! Has the demonstration been banned by the police?"

Then I and the rest of us saw the horrible truth. The council had pre-empted us by destroying the mural yesterday! We saw the wrecking ball go in. All I could think was 'Arrgh! Oh no! This can't be happening." Some of us may have blamed ourselves. All we had done was hasten the work of desecration. Yet if we had done nothing, it would have happened anyway. Perhaps we should have communicated by carrier pigeon like the original Chartists.

Unlike a good number of people on the web, I don't suffer from paranoia so I don't think the council did this specifically to destroy the memory of the struggle for democracy. No doubt they were just fixated on money. But in their contempt for public opinion they have incidentally shown an undemocratic spirit. We must also deplore their philistinism.

I'm not just not paranoid. I'm pronoid. I was too optimistic. Perhaps the person I was scoffing at as a prize Silly Billy was right, at least factually if not strategically, when he went to polling booths just to spoil his paper by scrawling on it 'Democracy is a sham' or ironically 'Democracy is a wonderful thing.'

In the next few days, we may find out if the council was acting ultra vires. This is not unfeasible. When I was growing up in Llanelli, the local council routinely behaved with blatant illegality. They held meetings in camera. They spent public funds on banquets in London. The mother of the head boy at our school was well known to be a councillor. Their house was continually pelted with eggs. In the early nineties, some towns in West Wales sacked their councils and got on perfectly ok without them.

Some of us might consider boycotting the new shopping centre that the mural was supposedly sacrificed for. A counter argument is that this would unfairly penalize working people who need the jobs it may provide. I shall avoid Newport altogether for the next few months as I don't want to have to look at Ground Zero.

Let's be optimistic but not pronoid. Things are getting better but this country is still not a full democracy. Let's not give up the struggle for a fair society. We don't want John Frost Square to be renamed Herman Goering Platz.
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