Monday, 24 June 2013

Political activists, demonstrators and drug dealers

The alleged police attempts to smear Stephen Lawrence's family highlight a dangerously insidious idea.

Did you notice the underlying assumption that any form of political activism or engagement is, by definition, suspicious? According to the undercover cop, his superiors were looking for 'any intelligence that could have smeared the campaign. Along the lines of: the family were political activists, someone in the family was involved in demonstrations, drug dealers, anything.'

To the authoritarian mind, political activism, or being engaged enough to demonstrate about anything are evidence of anti-social behaviour on a par with drug dealing.

It would be bad enough if it was just cops, but how many times have you heard politicians using the phrase "politically motivated" to dismiss anything they happen to disagree with? The irony meter is broken - have these people, who walk, talk, eat and sleep politics, ever seen an election campaign, a Queen's speech, a House of Commons Debate, or a party political broadcast that wasn't "politically motivated?"