I am a member of a Trade Union – Prospect – and in no way should we link anarchists' riots to the legitimate rights of the TUC to protest. It would have helped if some had behave more responsibly – comparing the demo to Martin Luther King et al (as Labour Leader Ed Milliband did for example) – certainly did not help to calm impassioned feelings.
Nevertheless, what occurred was not just unforgivable but actually an assault on the very working people, these anarchists claim to represent.
First, by smashing up shops and so on around Piccadilly and St James's, they put at risk the jobs and safety of many thousands of employees – many of whom have modest incomes who work in these organisations. The businesses that the anarchists hate so much, employ millions of people across the UK and pour billions into our tax coffers – whatever the tax avoidance claims amount to.
Second, many of these places – like Fortnum and Mason's – act as a magnet for tourism, guaranteeing even more cash reaching the Exchequer.
So, the logic of the anarchists is at best twisted, at worst quite sinister and dangerous. The black clothes and balaclavas, paint bombs and other weapons suggest something much more than a cry against Government cuts. More like an attack on our democracy itself.
As it happened, last week was my birthday, and I spent a few hours – at an outdoor cafe in Jermyn St. Yes, coffee, a glass of wine and ice cream did cost an arm and a leg. But to sit there in this beautiful street, with all its rich history was well worth it. To the anarchists, there is no such thing as aesthetics. Everything is just chaos – a dark and barren wasteland.