The majority support the cuts

Bad news for UKuncut and the marchers: the majority support the cuts.

It\’s actually quite amusing looking at these two headlines on the Guardian\’s front page right now.

Anti-cuts march swells to 400,000

OK, 400,000 out on the streets. The next story but one is:

Voters back cuts but cool on coalition – poll

Guardian/ICM poll finds 57% support for current or deeper cuts, despite a fall in economic confidence.

In more detail:

Despite Saturday\’s protest march in London, public tolerance of cuts seems to be sustained. Only 35% think the plans go too far – a 10-point drop since ICM asked the question in November. Meanwhile 28% think the government has found the right balance and 29% say the cuts are not severe enough. That amounts to 57% support for current cuts or more.

Which leads us to an interesting point. We do live in a democracy, not a mobocracy. Despite the roots of \”demos\” in the Greek for \”mob of oiks\” we do rather differentiate between the two ideas now.

If you want some form of direct democracy, one where what the people want now the people get now, good and hard, then we have clear majority support for at least the current level of cuts: despite our mob of oiks on the streets today.

If you would prefer to point out that we actually have a representative, not direct, democracy then we can point to the fact that the people imposing these cuts have a majority in the Commons, which is where such things are decided. We can also see from public opinion that they do have a mandate to impose such cuts, over and above the one they won at the last election.

In fact, we can go even further than this. Whether you think we are or should be a representative or irect democray, the election win and the current level of public support, show that the politicians have a duty to continue with the cuts.

Yes, despite the fact that 400,000 people marched through London today.

For 64,600,000 Britons did not march through London today and it\’s that 57% of them which is the important number.

Another way of putting it is that the argument here is between tax consumers and tax payers. And there\’s many more tax payers than there are consumers: and their view thus naturally carries more weight.

11 comments on “The majority support the cuts

  1. And even if there were fewer tax payers than there are tax consumers, the word of tax payers carries weight. Because if they don’t pay, no one does.

  2. Oh the irony!

    They are smashing up (the public owned) Lloyds TSB.

    Smash the nationalised industries, comrade!

  3. Despite the roots of “demos” in the Greek for “mob of oiks”

    No, ‘demos’ simply meant the common people in an ancient Greek community — no connotations of the mob. That came later with, for example, Plato and Thucydides with their disapproval of ‘democracy’ (rule by the demos).

  4. The word ochlocracy seems more apposite, though whether .6% of the population represents a mob is a moot point. Still, FPTP hasn’t produced an overall majority, so any alternative must necessarily be more democratic.

  5. I’m not sure there are more taxpayers than taxtakers. It was recently quoted that there were 20 million on benefits, add 6 million public sector workers, and however many work for companies whose only client is the state and you’re getting close to half the working population.

  6. There weren’t 400,000.

    It was around 250,000.

    100,00 less than attended the Countryside Alliance protests.

  7. I can’t remember where I can across this quotation (maybe it was on this blog…) allegedly said by Margaret Thatcher:

    “The trouble with socialism is that, sooner or later, you run out of other people’s money…”

    Quite so.

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