police-poll

anonymous asked:

Hey, dumb American question here. Every UK person I have ever met hates Margaret Thatcher. Why? What terrible thing did she do to piss off that many people for so long?

Where do I fucking start?

So, Thatcher was the bane of the working classes, and much of what she did still has repercussions to this day. So, in no particular order, just in the order I remember them, here are some things she did that pissed us off - 

• In 1989 she introduced this thing called the “Community Charge” but which everyone calls the “Poll Tax” which replaced an older system in which your tax payment was based on the rental value of your home. This new tax meant that people living in one bedroom flats would pay the same as a billionaire living in a mansion. Obviously, the rich loved it, everyone else… not so much. So there were riots (video of news about the riots) - There were lots of riots in the Thatcher years, and they were all notable for the extreme levels of police brutality.

(photo, poll tax protest in Trafalgar Square, 1990)

• Then there was her war on industry. There was a lot of inflation when she came to power, so she instituted anti-inflationary measures. All well and good… except not the way she did it. She closed many government controlled industries, most famously steel and coal. The amount spent on public industries dropped by 38% under Thatcher. The coal miners went on strike, for almost a year, but in the end, the pits were still closed, and 64,000 people lost their jobs. Unemployment rates soared in industrial areas, and inequality between these (generally northern or welsh) areas and the rest of the UK is still there. During the strike there were numerous violent clashes with the police at picket lines which were widely televised. As a memoir from one miner attests: “ I saw a police officer with a fire extinguisher in his hand, bashing a lad in the back. I tried to get closer to note down the officer’s number but they were wearing black boilersuits with no numbers. The next thing I knew, a police officer struck me from behind. I was coming in and out of consciousness as I was dragged across the road into an alleyway. They blocked off the alley and beat another lad and me with sticks until I was unconscious.” (I can’t post the whole thing it’s too long, but read it in the Guardian) Images such as this swept the country, turning many people against Thatcher -

And after it was all over people felt Thatcher had lied, saying she wanted to close only 20 pits, when in the end, 75 were closed down.

• Inequality soared whilst she was prime minister. There is a thing called the gini coefficient, it is the most common method of measuring inequality. Under gini, a score of one would be a completely unequal society; zero would be completely equal. Britain’s gini score went up from 0.253 to 0.339 by the time Thatcher resigned.

• During her time as prime minister the notorious ‘Section 28′ was published. It stated: A local authority shall not (a) intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality; (b) promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship. - Section 28 wasn’t repealed until 2003.

• She introduced the Right To Buy scheme, which allowed people to buy their council houses for a very low price, which, at first glance, seems like a great idea, allowing people who normally wouldn’t be able to afford their own home to have one - however, loads of people have entered the scheme and now we have far too little social housing, meaning there has been a sharp rise in homelessness.

• The Battle of the Beanfield was a clash between hippies and police near Stonehenge in 1985. 1300 police officers converged on a convoy of 600 new age travellers who were heading to Stonehenge to set up a free festival in violation of a high court order. Again, there was an insane amount of police brutality, and 16 travellers were hospitalised, 573 people were arrested (one of the biggest mass arrests in UK history) - “Pregnant women were clubbed with truncheons, as were those holding babies. The journalist Nick Davies, then working for The Observer, saw the violence. ‘They were like flies around rotten meat,’ he wrote, ‘and there was no question of trying to make a lawful arrest. They crawled all over, truncheons flailing, hitting anybody they could reach. It was extremely violent and very sickening.’” (source) - Once everyone was arrested, the empty vehicles, which were in many cases the only homes the travellers had “were then systematically smashed to pieces and several were set on fire. Seven healthy dogs belonging to the Travellers were put down by officers from the RSPCA.” (source same as above)

Most of the charges were dismissed in court after Lord Cardigan, who had tagged along with them to see what would happen, testified on behalf of the travellers against the police. 

• Her removal of Irish dissidents right to be placed in a category that essentially made them political prisoners instead of merely criminals led to a hunger strike that ended in 10 deaths, including that of Bobby Sands, who was elected from his prison cell, reflecting the immense national, and international support for Irish nationalists. Thatchers lack of sympathy, or even empathy led to her becoming even more of a hate figure.

• She presided over a rapid deregulation of the banks, which ultimately led to much of the problems during britains 2007-2012 financial crash many years later.

• She took free milk from school children, which, though not as serious as anything else listed here, directly affected every child in the UK and was very unpopular, leading her to get the nickname “Maggie Thatcher, Milk Snatcher”, which is still used today.

• Oh… and she supported Apartheid and called Mandela a terrorist.

This is nowhere near everything she’s done that pisses people off, but I hope it goes some way to explaining why when she died “ding dong the witch is dead” became number one in the UK charts, people partied in the streets, and people protested her (State funded) funeral. She is a decisive figure, some people in the UK do actually love her. I do not. She decimated the UK’s industrial heartland, she caused mass unemployment and the destruction of much of working class culture, she was cavalier in her financial policies and increased inequality by staggering levels, she approved serious police brutality and attempted to destroy the culture of unions in this country.  I fundamentally disagree with all she stood for and it angers me that her mistakes are still affecting this country and the people who live in it. And I am VERY angry that the current government are spending £50 million on a museum about her.

White Americans may finally be waking up on race and police brutality 

A poll from YouGov shows shifting opinons after several months of media attention dedicated to unarmed black people killed by the police, and whether the concerns of black protesters indicate a broader trend of police brutality particularly against black Americans. And another poll by Pew seems to support this.

Ferguson. Baltimore. Staten Island. North Charleston. Cleveland.

Over the past year in each of these American cities, an unarmed black male has died at the hands of a police officer, unleashing a torrent of anguish and soul-searching about race in America. Despite video evidence in several of the killings, each has spurred more discord than unity.

Grand juries have tended to give the benefit of the doubt to police officers. National polls revealed deep divisions in how whites and blacks viewed the facts in each case. Whites were more likely to believe officers’ accounts justifying the use of force. Blacks tended to see deeper forces at work: longstanding police bias against black men and a presumption that they are criminals.

Then, on Wednesday night, a young white man walked into a historic black church in Charleston, S.C., and joined a group of worshipers as they bowed their heads over their Bibles. He shot and killed nine of them. In his Facebook profile picture, the suspect, Dylann Roof, wore the flags of racist regimes in South Africa and the former Rhodesia.

The massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston was something else entirely from the police killings. But it, too, has become a racial flash point and swept aside whatever ambiguity seemed to muddle those earlier cases, baldly posing questions about race in America: Was the gunman a crazed loner motivated by nothing more than his own madness? Or was he an extreme product of the same legacy of racism that many black Americans believe sent Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Walter Scott and Tamir Rice to their graves?

The debate has already begun.

“I just think he was one of these whacked-out kids,” Senator Lindsey Graham, a white Republican from South Carolina who is running for president, said in a telephone interview with CNN, echoing a sentiment that had begun to blossom. “I don’t think it’s anything broader than that. It’s about a young man who is obviously twisted.“

Mr. Graham later amended his remarks, calling Mr. Roof “a racial jihadist” and saying that the only reason the victims had died was their race.

Bryan Stevenson, a black lawyer who has specialized in death-penalty cases and chronicled the legal system’s unfairness to African-Americans, sees deep and systemic connections between Mr. Roof’s actions and the police killings of black males, as well as the rough actions of a police officer breaking up a pool party in McKinney, Tex.

“This latest violent act is an extreme and terrifying example, but not disconnected from the way black men and boys are treated by police, by schools, by the state,” Mr. Stevenson said in an interview. “The landscape is littered with monuments that talk proudly about the Confederacy and leave no record about the lynchings of the era.”

America is living through a moment of racial paradox. Never in its history have black people been more fully represented in the public sphere. The United States has a black president and a glamorous first lady who is a descendant of slaves. African-Americans lead the country’s pop culture in many ways, from sports to music to television, where show-runners like Shonda Rhimes and Lee Daniels have created new black icons, including the political fixer Olivia Pope on “Scandal” and the music mogul Cookie Lyon on “Empire.”

It has become commonplace to refer to the generation of young people known as millennials as “post-racial.” Black culture has become so mainstream that a woman born to white parents who had claimed to be black almost broke the Internet last week by saying that she was “transracial.”

Yet in many ways, the situation of black America is dire.

“All of these examples in some ways are really misleading in what they represent,” Mr. Stevenson said. “We have an African-American president who cannot talk about race, who is exposed to hostility anytime he talks about race. These little manifestations of black artistry and athleticism and excellence have always existed. But they don’t change the day-to-day experience of black Americans living in most parts of this country.”

— 

The New York Times“From Ferguson to Charleston and Beyond, Anguish About Race is Building.”

An important read.  Please share.

More white people than ever think police aren’t racist 

The new attention to the impunity with which the police can kill young black men has elicited concern from huge swathes of the public and even conservative icons like Sen. Rand Paul and George W. Bush. But a Washington Post round-up of polls suggests that white America’s faith in the police to treat people of different races equally is on the rise.

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While most Americans approve of the work being done by their local police, nearly a third feel that some officers “routinely lie to serve their own interests,” a survey released on Thursday by Reuters and the IPSOS polling organization showed.

The number rises to 45 percent among African-Americans.

The findings come as scrutiny on police has been heightened in recent months by the killing of unarmed blacks by white officers, which has raised questions about police treatment of racial minorities.

While distrust is significant, nearly three-quarters of respondents approve the job done by their local police, the survey said. The survey showed that 56 percent of African-American respondents approved of their local police.

MarQuis McClee, a small-business owner from Bloomington, Indiana, who took part in the poll, said that he generally trusts police and has officers among his relatives, but as an African-American, he can also be wary around law enforcement.

“I have been involved with officers who give police a bad name,” McClee, 38, said, pointing to a recent incident where he was pulled over by an officer be believes was profiling him.

Nearly 70 percent of African-American respondents believe that police target minorities.

In November, simmering tensions exploded with violent protests in several U.S. cities following a grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson for shooting an unarmed black teenager.

When asked about the Ferguson police, 60 percent of respondents had a favorable impression but among black American respondents, only 32 percent had a favorable impression.

When a gunman fatally shot two police officers in New York in December in apparent retribution attack, the public was reminded of the dangers police face on a daily basis in trying to keep the streets safe.

While attention on policing has been in the spotlight, racial disparity in the criminal justice systems has become a fact of life in the United States. A study by the Sentencing Project research group showed that one in three black men are likely to be imprisoned sometime during their life. The figure for white man is one in 17.

Proactive tactics aimed at keeping crime rates down in economically stressed areas with a high number of racial minorities can also cause friction between police and minority youth who are likely to be stopped and questioned, said Larry Hoover, director of the Police Research Center at Sam Houston State University in Texas.

“There is no way that is going to be a pleasant experience, no matter how courteous an officer is,” Hoover said.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/15/us-usa-police-poll-idUSKBN0KO17620150115

A majority of white youth now sorta support Black Lives Matter

White American youth are supportive of Black Lives Matter, the widespread protest movement focused on ending police violence against African-Americans — but only to a fault, according to a nuanced look at attitudes toward police violence across racial groups. The poll also uncovered a divide regard racial perceptions of police.