A brief exchange of emails about the BBC reporting of the March 2011 anti-cuts march in London when some people "occupied" Fortnum & Mason's

Ian said:

Excellent Martin Rowson cartoon regarding Saturday's march.
Despite the media scare's the 'violence' was much exaggerated. My family and I had a great time-after watching the BBC for an hour or two the only question I asked was 'was that the same march as we were just on?

Roger replied:

I couldn't agree more - it is time to close down the BBC.

The march was great - the actions beyond the march probably are a true reflection of the feelings of the march taken to their logical conclusion - the mindless violence is being perpetrated by the ConDems and the Rich.

No more government of the people, by the rich, for the rich - its time to take back control of our lives. The simplest step anyone can take is to get rid of their television and start to live life again. What comes out of the tube is mind poison of the most insidious sort, has the effect of keeping people under control (not necessarily by design - that would be a conspiracy theory - but the result is the same)

People on the march were calling their friends who weren't there and enthusing about how great it was to find so many people who felt like them.

Heard a couple of excellent speeches at the end before had to rush back to find the coach - especially Samuel West on the importance of arts and culture for all.



Vivien chipped in:

I thought that the BBC were much better this time, emphasising repeatedly that the violence was not associated with the anti-cuts demo and that the occupation of Fortnum and Masons was good-natured and peaceful.  They still didn't go far enough and describe the rioters as rioters, persisting in calling them 'demonstrators'.
The journos and police still seemed to be unable to see the obvious - that those with covered faces who were acting shiftily would cause trouble.  I spotted one in some early footage before the trouble started and the journos didn't even mention him!

(she didn't go on the march herself)

that triggered a rant from Roger:

But that is exactly where the BBC were so wrong. Of course the demonstrations and occupations were associated with the anti-cuts march - to deny that is to negate the whole point of the march. At one extreme people sit on their hands and do nothing apart from tut-tutting about the direction of government but don't even get on the coach, and at the other extreme people take direct action to highlight the inequities in the system where, for example, the entire arts council budget is less than 5% of the tax lost by corporate tax evasion each year.

To try and say that the direct action is nothing to do with the broader demonstration is nonsense. They are both responses to the same situation - some people are just prepared to go a little further than others in making their point.

I thought that the BBC reporting was as bad, or worse, than it has ever been and in no way reflected my first hand experience of the march or the atmosphere of the day. They are attempting to drive a wedge between groups of people pursing the same aims - classic divide and rule.

People are quite genuinely angry and hurt by what the government is attempting to do and are seeking to express that in whatever way seems appropriate to them. I stand united both with the families who attended at peaceful and empowering rally and with the demonstrators who are prepared to try and extract a price from the businesses that are screwing us all.

The "trouble" is being caused by the government and the rich people whose interests it serves and protects.

Roger CO