Sunday, July 19, 2009

I See Your True Colours Shining Though

Call me Dave, a liberal Conservative has shown his true colours today. Yes David Cameron has said that he is going to shut down the peace camp on Parliament Square and move it on.

He says that the encampment right outside Parliament is "pretty poor place" and looks like a shanty town. While he may be correct he is forgetting one important thing. The reason people feel the need to camp out in Parliament Square is because of the draconian approach to protest taken by the Labour Government. If the right to bring protest to Parliament Square were allowed people wouldn't feel the need for guerrilla warfare to stay their ground and fight the whole time.

Look at Holyrood in Edinburgh or the Synedd in Cardiff where protests can be taken to the seat of Government the protests are made and people then disperse. The problem is that by surprising free speech on the doorstep of the Palace of Westminster the protesters have had to camp out claiming their ground for fear of never being able to return and protest again, its the old case of squatters rights and that is not a democratic way to protest.

Wasn't Tony Blair who once said he liked the fact that people in the UK could protest right outside Downing Street and Parliament? Yes, believe it or not it was only about 8-9 years ago.


Andy said...


"the protesters have had to camp out claiming their ground for fear of never being able to return"

Not the fear, the certainty. Brian Haw's protest camp is only allowed to stay because it started before the introduction of SOCPA (2005):

Just days before the 1 August 2005, after which Brian could be evicted under Section 132 of SOCPA that bans unauthorised protest near Parliament, a High Court hearing ruled that Brian's protest was not covered by the legislation because prior authorisation is only necessary for demonstrations that 'start' before 1 August, whereas Brian started his protest in June 2001. The law could not be applied retrospectively.

Stephen Glenn said...

Quite true Andy.

The whole point of course is if they didn't want a camp out in Parliament Square they should of course lift the restrictions of protest not increase them.


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