Bad news for UKuncut and the marchers: the majority support the cuts.
It’s actually quite amusing looking at these two headlines on the Guardian’s front page right now.
Anti-cuts march swells to 400,000
OK, 400,000 out on the streets. The next story but one is:
Voters back cuts but cool on coalition – poll
Guardian/ICM poll finds 57% support for current or deeper cuts, despite a fall in economic confidence.
In more detail:
Despite Saturday’s protest march in London, public tolerance of cuts seems to be sustained. Only 35% think the plans go too far – a 10-point drop since ICM asked the question in November. Meanwhile 28% think the government has found the right balance and 29% say the cuts are not severe enough. That amounts to 57% support for current cuts or more.
Which leads us to an interesting point. We do live in a democracy, not a mobocracy. Despite the roots of “demos” in the Greek for “mob of oiks” we do rather differentiate between the two ideas now.
If you want some form of direct democracy, one where what the people want now the people get now, good and hard, then we have clear majority support for at least the current level of cuts: despite our mob of oiks on the streets today.
If you would prefer to point out that we actually have a representative, not direct, democracy then we can point to the fact that the people imposing these cuts have a majority in the Commons, which is where such things are decided. We can also see from public opinion that they do have a mandate to impose such cuts, over and above the one they won at the last election.
In fact, we can go even further than this. Whether you think we are or should be a representative or irect democray, the election win and the current level of public support, show that the politicians have a duty to continue with the cuts.
Yes, despite the fact that 400,000 people marched through London today.
For 64,600,000 Britons did not march through London today and it’s that 57% of them which is the important number.
Another way of putting it is that the argument here is between tax consumers and tax payers. And there’s many more tax payers than there are consumers: and their view thus naturally carries more weight.