The Year of Revolutions, 1848, a movement which spread across Europe with disorder and rioting resulting in thousands of deaths.
The trigger for the movement, the economic crisis of 1847 exacerbated by unemployment arising from increased mechanisation.
Migration and food shortages were also significant factors.
The demands made by the revolutionary participants were for democracy, participation in government, freedom of the press, and a fairer society.
It is not difficult to draw a parallel between 1848 and the present day turmoil in some Europe countries and in other parts of the world.
The financial crisis, migration and the deteriorating wellbeing of working people lie at the heart of the anomie.
Where any analogy falls apart is in the nature of the present day ‘populist revolution’ there is little evidence of a desire to support and protect democracy but rather the central planks of today’s movements would seem to be undermining the democratic process, silencing the opposition, dispensing with legalities, controlling the media and moving towards dictatorship.
If we believe that this anti-democratic movement couldn’t take root in the UK our smugness may come back to haunt us.
It took Gina Miller to single handedly challenge the government’s plan to trigger Article 50 with no discussion in Parliament; the right-wing press had a field day vilifying her; the need for the independence of the judiciary was never more clearly demonstrated.
Unison brought the case through the Courts to reinstate workers’ rights for access to legal aid to challenge illegal employment practices.
The court declared the government’s decision illegal.
Our independent investigative press continues to identify political corruption without which we could not hold our politicians to account.
We have no formal constitution but we do have Magna Carta; ‘to none will we deny or delay right or justice’