Sylvia Harding jailed for refusing to pay Council Tax increase. TV interviewer asks supporter if she's being irresponsible because keeping her in jail will cost £700 per day.
Senior citizen heckles Jack Straw and gets bundled out of the Labour Party conference. He is later arrested under the Terrorism Act when he tries to get back in.
I'm beginning to understand why Blair et al are distancing themselves from the 1960's. Then, parts of British society felt enough about events to do something about it. To protest.
Today it seems that protest is frowned upon. Politicians don't like it because it threatens their absolute power. The chattering classes don't like it because it reduces their skinny extra hot macchiato with nutmeg sprinkles drinking time.
I'm on the side of protest. Does that make me a terrorist and a threat to society or just a threat to politicians.
It's following the example of the USA Niall where the police state is seen to be OK as a sacrifice to the 'war on terror' and for some reason, most of the Christian far-right agree that a loss of civil libierties is a small proce to pay.
In the USA now, if you're seen to be protesting against the war the right label people as being un-democratic, which just doesn't make sense!!
I've been loads of protests over the past year or so!
Some of them even in SE1.
But yes, it's a minority activity and people think you're slightly (or very) strange for caring so much about anything and - though I wasn't around then - I'm sure it was all much more fun in the '60s.
Niall Connolly Wrote:
>> I'm on the side of protest. Does that make me a
> terrorist and a threat to society or just a threat
> to politicians.
It means you're not paying enough attention to Big Brother and Eastenders, and spending too much time thinking. STOP AT ONCE
I'm on the side of protest and freedom of speech too, and increasingly it does seem as though that is being policed as if you were a terrorist. People have been arrested under terrorism laws for protesting about trade fairs selling arms, US bases in Britain, etc. In a law on serious crime passed earlier this year, a provision was slipped in to allow the government to ban all protest within a square kilometre of Parliament. It obviously has a general effect, but it was actually also designed to allow them to evict Brian Haw, who has been protesting about what is going on Iraq 24/7 since before the invasion took place. Fortunately they messed that up, since they didn't draft that part of the law well enough: it was found not to have retrospective effect. Since then there have been attempts to hold picnics in Parliament Square every Sunday. These have been broken up by the police, who are all really nice chaps (and chappesses) really, it's just the laws that the government have passed which are the problem.
I'm sure most people in Britain aren't aware that technically they have been living in a state of emergency since shortly after September 11, 2001. Not 7 July 2005, but 2001. The UK government - the only one in Europe to do - declared that we were all living in a state of emergency, because without doing so, they could not lawfully derogate from parts of the European Convention on Human Rights. This is still in place, as far as I know, the House of Lords judgement back in February on the illegal detention of people notwithstanding.
Back in 1974, Howard Brenton wrote the "The Churchill Play", which is starting to seem quite prescient. I recommend people read it or see it when it is next performed - I saw it in 1988 at the RSC when people were a little concerned about what Mrs T was doing to our civil liberties. Frankly, that was small fry compared to what Blair has done.
So... yes... 'mind how you go'. In the meantime, I've found that the blog Perfect is quite a good place to keep track of these things. More positively, people might want to think about contributing to the POWER inquiry into the future of democratic participation in Britain.
There's a counterpoint to George Monbiot's article in today's Guardian by the McLibel defendants, Helen Steel and Dave Morris. Apparently they are helping organise a Freedom To Protest conference in London on October 23 www.freedomtoprotest.org.uk