Monthly Archives: January 2017

From Twitter to Streets: Anti-Trump protests across Britain

Looking at what is happening now across Britain I am very proud of the thousands of people protesting across the whole country. But there is another thought which comes immediately to my mind. The protests would not have been possible on such a scale if it weren’t for the social media which enable people to organise themselves in a short period of time.

It is not the first time when I am witnessing a protest on a national scale being just a result of one post.

Back in November thousands of women in Poland went on the streets to oppose the inhumane proposal of a complete ban of abortion. The so called black protest started with a Facebook post by an actress, Krystyna Janda, who reminded the Poles about the women’s strike in Iceland in 1975. The response on Facebook and Twitter was overwhelming. 10 days later in majority of cities and towns women and man, old and young went to the streets to express their anger that the ultra catholic, right wing government wants to take away fundamental human rights.

Similar was also in this case. It was Owen Jone’s tweet which encouraged people in the UK to protest against Muslim Ban introduced by Donald Trump and against Theresa May’s lenient stance towards the new president and his decisions.

Gradually more and more people were responding and arranging protests in their local ares. From London to Edinburgh protesters united to show their support for Muslims banned from entering the USA and their disapproval of Mr Trump’s policies threatening democratic values.

The protesters dissatisfied with Theresa May’s recent visit at the White House were urging her to stand up for human rights and democratic values being destroyed by Trump.

The anger in the public was also fueled by Mrs May who invited Mr Trump for a state visit. The reaction of the British citizens was immediate. There are more than 3 petitions available on https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/171928/ which aim to prevent Donald Trump to make a state visit to the UK. The number of signatures is growing constantly and within only 2 days one of the petition got more than 1,500,000 signatures, which means that the topic of the state visit will be considered by the Parliament for a debate.

Again the success of the petitions would not be so impressive without social media. Thousand of people are posting and sharing the links via different channels.

Even though, I don’t expect the petition to make miracles (in the end Mrs May wants to have at least one “steady’ partner after Brexit), it is really important that people are empowered to express the opinion and scrutinise the movements of the ruling elites. And especially now with so many authoritarian tendencies across western democracies this ability seems to be more and more crucial.

So in the end from a form of an entertainment social media starts to become a citizenship tool, which in the uncertain times brings people together across the borders.

 

Gina Miller: “No PM, no government can expect to be unanswerable or unchallenged”

Last Tuesday was one of the days many people in the UK and overseas have been waiting for. After weeks of uncertainty the Supreme Court ruled that triggering of the famous Art 50 is not the sole decision of the Prime Minister. Now it is more than clear – Mrs May, regardless of her belief in the prerogative powers she possess, can start Brexit negotiations only with a prior consent from the Parliament.

The court’s ruling is not as important as it refers to a precedent case when a member state decides to leave the EU, it is important because it reaffirms the democratic principles, often forgotten by the ruling elites these days.

If the UK had a written constitution, and If the UK wasn’t a modern monarchy with the prerogative powers being executed by the Prime Minister instead of the Monarch, the case would have been straight forward.

However, fortunately in this complicated circumstances there are people like Gina Miller who fight for democratic values and justice.

It was her, who filed the case to the court and it was her belief in democracy which won the appeal.

Despite being the woman who successfully challenged the government, she remains humble.

“The Brexit judgement isn’t a victory for me, but for our constitution,” that’s how she expressed herself in The Guardian.

Born at Guyana (which was a British colony at that time) she came to the UK with her brother when she was a teenager. Because of the political situation her parents weren’t allowed to send them the money, so both siblings had to combine school with part time jobs.

As Mrs Miller recalls in the article for Vogue “Whilst we missed our parents dreadfully, and it was difficult juggling our home lives with homework and school, it made us who we are today.”

She is an owner of a marketing company and fights for transparency and accountability in financial sector. In 2009 she set up a charity True and Fair Foundation encouraging the successful people to philanthropy.

Since November she is in the centre of public witch-hunt sparkled by the Brexit supporters and right-wing media.
 

“I have been shocked by the level of personal abuse from many quarters I have received over the last seven months for simply asking a legitimate question,” she said yesterday after the ruling.

She has experienced racial abuse and has been receiving rape and death threats.

She was forced to hire a private security company and is trying to avoid public transport, but she didn’t give up.
 

She taught a very important lesson not only to the UK but to the whole world that “no Prime Minister, no government can expect to be unanswerable or unchallenged.”
We need to learn that, before it will be too late.