Ways of Demonstrating Concern

People need ways of demonstrating concern on an impromptu basis, to put pressure on politicians and ask for policy changes.

Several techniques are available for individuals to convey their feelings to politicians, varying in their effectiveness:

●  People should have direct access to a politician who represents them and who should be prepared to take up issues on their behalf.  Neglect of her constituency responsibilities led to Nadine Dorries {being] urged to quit as MP by Flitwick Town Council: she was asked “to resign as an MP immediately” because “residents desperately need effective representation now”.

●  People can make their views known by letters to newspapers or by blogging on the Internet.

●  They can sign petitions.

●  They can step up the pressure by participating in demonstrations.  For example, protests in Cairo ultimately unseated President Hosni Mubarak – as described in a BBC article entitled Tahrir Square’s place in Egypt’s history.

●  Demonstrations are not always popular with the public.  Extinction Rebellion, which wants governments to declare a “climate and ecological emergency”, was criticised for causing disruption.  It gained huge publicity in a good cause, though, and its leader Greta Thunberg was invited to speak to world leaders at the United Nations in September 2019, saying “How dare you? You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.”

●  Protests can turn into riots, such as the poll-tax riots which led to the toppling of Margaret Thatcher; the BBC published a retrospective article on these, entitled 1990: Violence flares in poll tax demonstration.

All these ways of demonstrating concern can be effective because they make politicians aware of people’s feelings.  A political response then becomes likely, as politicians seek popularity.



This page is intended to form part of Edition 4 of the Patterns of Power series of books.  An archived copy of it is held at https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition04/6421.htm.