Protest!

An idiot bottle-blonde mutton-as-lamb fake-tan woman in an open-top car trying to steer around parked vehicles on her side of the road (and thus squeezing me cycling towards her) while she’s drinking from a bottle of mineral water. How do you protest? I can shout out that she’s an arsehole – which is more or less my instinctive reaction – but I know that is totally pointless. Everything about her says that she is wholly and utterly incapable of learning.

Struggling up, on a verge near you now

Struggling up, on a verge near you now

And talking of protests, today is local election results day in England and Wales, and UKIP, a bunch of ‘clowns’ in the eyes of the Tories and quite probably the other two parties of the establishment, has done far, far better than expected. And predictably, one way or another the other parties are trying to reinforce the message that this was ‘just’ a protest vote. And, predictably, the establishment – politicians and media – are now feverishly re-grouping to disparage UKIP and the vote they’ve attracted, to try and maintain a system that suits them so well.

Even if every single vote for UKIP has been made as a protest, that doesn’t somehow diminish those votes or make them irrelevant – that is an awful lot of people feeling the need to protest, because the mainstream doesn’t represent them. Add in to the equation all the people for whom politics feels so alien and irrelevant they don’t vote at all, and we are governed, at all levels, no matter which party is actually in power, by a very small clique that is anything but representative.

The real issue of the day is whether this sizable UKIP protest vote, if that’s what it is, can struggle against the dead hand of the status quo, can actually make a difference. The fear is that it will not. Yes, the Tories might say they’ll now listen, as UKIP is primarily taking their vote, but talk is cheap. (And no, don’t imagine Labour any more inclined to listen to the popular voice – remember the anti Iraq war protests.) The fear is we might as well all be shouting ‘arsehole’ at passing politicians for all the good it will do.

The next question is, what happens when parliamentary democracy fails?