Thursday, August 27, 2009

Not precisely a peasants' revolt

The climate change campers have set up their tents at Blackheath because, they say, they are the modern descendants of Wat Tyler and his peasants, as they are "rebelling against climate change". Frankly, that makes them the modern descendants of King Canute's toadying advisers who tried to tell him that he could back the tide and we all know what his Anglo-Saxon response was to that.

There are a few other differences. In the first place, Wat Tyler gathered thousands of disaffected peasants, while this camp has 500 denizens and "more are expected".

In the second place, these are not poor downtrodden peasants but quite well-off middle-class kids who think this is a cool way to spend a holiday or, possibly, do not think they need to work for a living because the taxes paid by all those derided capitalist institutions will support them.

Thirdly, their first act was to put fences around what is common land, which is trampling on the rights of the common and all other people. Wat Tyler and his crew would not have been particularly happy about that.

Finally and most importantly, the peasants rebelled against taxes, which they deemed to be too high (probably rightly); taxes were impoverishing the people. The latter day "peasants" a.k.a. spoilt middle-class kids (and if you don't believe me, have a look at the gear they have brought with them) want to make everyone pay higher taxes, confidently expecting to get some jobs out of that revenue.

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