An old Labour council trick is to announce £30 million in cuts and then, a little later, declare they’ve managed to find a bit of money to reduce the cuts to a mere £19 million. Everyone breathes a sigh of relief; things aren’t as bad as were expected.
Of course Meals on Wheels, Library and Children’s Services are still devastated. Activists who’ve seen it before suspect that £19 million was always the intended, real, figure.
Perhaps the Egyptian military are playing a version of the same game.
First, on 14 June, the Supreme Court ruled that the Islamist-dominated parliament, elected last year, must be dissolved. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) — the real rulers in Egypt — then allowed themselves the right to legislate, and to select the body producing a new constitution.
For a while it seemed that the Muslim Brothers’ candidate Mohammed Mursi would then be denied the presidential electoral victory that they were convinced he had won. The Brothers’ supporters rallied in Tahrir Square and were jubilant when the vote was announced last Sunday. Mursi’s supporters celebrated his victory, rather than rioting.
But the military handed the presidency to Mursi only after taking much of the power for themselves.
The announcement of Mursi’s victory seems to have come after a deal between the Freedom and Justice Party, the Brotherhood’s political arm, and the SCAF. Under it, the military will control internal security, defence and foreign policy, leaving domestic matters largely in Mr Mursi’s hands.
The democrats, the feminists, the labour movement, liberals and the youth who took to the streets and actually overthrew Mubarak dictatorship — well, they are caught between the state and the Islamists. The democrats may well become the victims of both — unless the dangers are recognised and fought against.
Neither the military nor the Islamists, but liberty and workers’ rights!
“Welcome to Gaza”
In the run-up to Egypt’s presidential election results being announced, the Gaza Youth Break Out group (Gazan activists who published a radical manifesto for change denouncing Israel, Hamas, and Fatah) tweeted: “Shafiq losing is good but Mursi winning is bad. Dear Egypt: welcome to Gaza.” GYBO also tweeted that “most Gazans” believed a win for the Brotherhood would strengthen Hamas and therefore galvanise their repressive rule in Gaza. See GYBO’s Twitter page here.