So, I downed tools to celebrate being a year older on Wednesday and, well, look what happened:
It seems that there is a fairly coherent story, which so far matches what I was getting from sources on the ground, and the eye-witness accounts I heard in the pub last night (at least 20-odd people who use my pub seem to have been there). It’s been told in several different places. Predictably, the story being broadcast by the Met is … well, exactly what we predicted. They’ve gotten really good at this: the Force under Thatcher already knew how to compress a peaceful protest until the panic triggers the herd instinct. They’re much better at it this century, particularly now that we (by which I mean sane people) have our own Fifth Column who do not subscribe to the politics of the protest but simply want a fight. It gives the police a firm grip on the pin in our own grenade, and there needs to be a debate about what we do to take that pin back off them.
Lots of people  are throwing their toys out of the pram fighting the ‘who started it’ perception war. We’ve got honest-to-god battles to fight now; I don’t have time for the cosmetic ones.  I was involved in the Gleneagles instance of this fractal blame-game. No, what I’m looking at is the failure of the hired men and troopers to restrain their own violent impulses. Ian Tomlinson died on my birthday. He was an innocent walking home from work. He was not a protester, nor was he the target of them. He was swept up in a police cordon, due to the over-eager rules of engagement and general rigorous squeezing of the protests by the Met, who (as we all know) were “Up for it!“. I went to a primary school in this country: I know what that means. Although Mr. Tomlinson was not involved in protesting, he had a heart-attack while being unable to escape through the police. After protesters had called to the police for help, he died.
Protesters called to the police for help. Against all evidence, they expected to receive it. These are not people who want to start a riot; they’re people who want their voices heard by a detached government, unaccountable and unresponsive due to a two-party Establishment with no viable opposition to the forces of Misrule. Britain’s faith in her own, 300-year stable democracy has been shaken by thirty years of protest being ignored. The marches and protest gatherings in the 1960s achieved nothing even close to the numbers or popular support we’ve seen in the 21st Century, and yet they were listened to. The government believed it could not stand against its own people.
Thatcher proved it could, provided it stood behind riot police and knew how to manipulate the media. But this time they’ve killed one of their own: an innocent Square Mile worker on his way home. The police policy of squeeze-then-crush has led directly to the death of a man who wasn’t even protesting, let alone a violent or vandalistic thug.
The system will protect the politicians. That’s what it is there for. But we, the people, will not forget Mr. Tomlinson, nor will we forget whose arrogance killed him.