Policing costs, protesting, parasites and etymology

Balcombe has been the site of protest for weeks
Balcombe has been the site of protest for weeks

The etymology of the word Protest is ‘to bear witness’.

However it feels to me that in this last decade, thanks in part to broadcast and print media, protesting has come to mean ‘the wasting of public money’.

Outrage is informed not by cause and public concern. Instead protest is reported in terms of its costs to resolve or to police in response.

How is it that a part of British culture which has tended towards bearing witness to injustice or unfair treatment has come to be twisted into selfish approbation of comfort; knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing.

Protesting is the very nature of progress for Britain. Yet we are seeing it painted as a tax burden to the community which should be discouraged in light of ‘better things to spend our money on’.

The cost of policing the Balcombe protests may be shocking but no more so than the acceptance that it is the fault of the protesters who are driving up the taxpayers’ burden.

Where were our representatives when they considered these plans?

Why did they not return to those submitted ‘hydrocarbon exploration’ plans and explain that there may be a considerable burden in securing the site. A burden which should not be part of the cost of approval.

Maybe the committee meeting to discuss ongoing planning permissions at Balcombe and later in Wisborough Green should treat the plans as an event - expecting the provision of policing to be met by the event organiser.

A few million in the cost of policing paid out by corporate coffers which expect to raise billions in ‘energy recovery’ would be a tiny investment.

The potential for the wealthy to afford their own enforcement of a legal position should have us up in arms. Protesting at the possibility that justice can be invoiced on 30 days terms.

Sadly, as I have pointed out, we have smothered the John Bull characteristics of outrage and protest.

There appears to be an expectation that a community’s wellbeing should be driven by individual comforts. The ‘I’m alright jack’ attitude seeking to drive down costs that fail to directly affect them.

The protester is considered a parasite, one who thrives and exploits another whilst giving no benefits in return.

Maybe we should look more closely at who will be thriving on the resources of Sussex whilst giving very little in return.