Tara Hamilton-Miller: British lack zest for a good demo

While flicking through a magazine this morning, I came across a photograph.

Tara Hamilton-Miller
Tara Hamilton-Miller

A pretty girl stands confidently with her T-shirt pushed up to her chest, with 'N'est pas fatigue!' (We are not tired!') daubed in felt-tip pen across her taut stomach.

Next to her, a young shirt-less boy stands in a shopping trolley, arms above his head, with perilously low-slung jeans.

A couple of equally gorgeous things stand beside him in skimpy vests, laughing.

I immediately thought this was a Mario Testino photo-shoot or perhaps the latest in the quirky campaign by Diesel.

It was, in fact, a picture of four young French protesters angry about Nicolas Sarkozy's pension plans and very concerned about Carla Bruni's £660 per day fresh flowers habit.

A reporter on the BBC's Today programme was clearly ruffled as he talked to three sultry brunettes in a coffee house in Kolonaki before they went mental; upset they have to work until they are 41. Bashing Greek bobbies with Balenciaga.

But when weary Brits are told on an almost yearly basis that train ticket prices are going up, very few have the inclination to organise a march. Perhaps a sigh, then buy a Ribena and a Fruit & Nut bar and try not to think about it.

There was a perfect demonstration opportunity recently when ex-equal opportunities minister Harriet Harman had a go at redheads with her 'Ginger rodent' jibe. It goes without saying that no Tory would have got away with this without Harman bleating they should be locked up.

Why did all the ginger tops not take to the street? Visually it would make good copy - a sea of Fanta-heads bobbing up Whitehall, their clenched fists punching the air in triumph. Some weeping, some with normal-haired family members walking proudly, shoulder to shoulder with their brave spouses. Sadly, in demo-averse Britain, it's not going to happen.

Tara Hamilton-Miller is a political adviser and formerly worked for the Conservative Party press team

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