Friday 2 July 2010

The Parliament Square camp

There has been lots of discussion about the eviction of protestors from Parliament Square that has now been put on hold pending an appeal. This issue has had me tied up in philosophical knots as the right to protest is not far down the list from the right to free speech in my personal list of fundamental freedoms. But this doesn’t feel to me quite as if it it is an attack on that. Whether you subscribe to the Mayor’s position that the camp gets in the way of other protests or not I there is just something nagging at the back of my mind that thinks you can start your protest as early in the morning as you want and stay as late as you like but you must go away at the end of it.Of course this could just be the conditioning from growing up at a seaside resort where all the car parking spots had signs prohibiting overnight stays.

The rights and wrongs of this probably won’t matter in the longer run, what will matter is quite how well it is handled. Perhaps Boris and the Met should do their best to learn from Newbury District Council who come out much worse than the USAF does when the legacy of the Greenham Common peace camp is totted up. To the extent that the camp remained after the missiles left to get the land back into the hands of the public.

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