Friday, July 29, 2005

Bursting the Bubble

The right to protest against government policy is a fundamental right in a free democratic society.

Now I reckon there are two possible reactions to that statement.
1. I quite agree Mr Hamster.
2. Bloody liberals bleating on about their "fundamental rights". Don't they know people are trying to kill us?

If you're a 1, read on. If you're a 2, I'm not sure what to recommend really. Try considering this statement instead: A repressive regime seeks to limit the rights of citizens to protest against their policies.

Our increasingly repressive regime government seems intent on reducing our right to protest. This law will restrict our right to hold peaceful demonstrations against government policy. You can see why they're so keen on it. It also appears to have become law in large part due to Brian Haw making MPs feel "a little bit uncomfortable". On it's own I'd say that's a worrying symptom of this government's tendancy to legislate our rights away based on nothing more than a whim and a prayer, but when you consider that the intended target is apparently not affected by the new law, you've got to be honest and say the whole thing is just decending into farce.

The new law comes into effect on 1 August. There's also going to be a demonstration in the exclusion zone on that day. Although it's being arranged by the Stop the War Coalition, it's simply a protest about the right to protest. This is a bad law for a ridiculous reason. What's worse, it's going to make it harder to hold legitimate protests against government policy. Does anyone seriously believe the inhabitants of the Westminster bubble should be further removed from the people they're supposed to represent? Obviously by anyone, I mean anyone other than the majority of MPs who clearly never want to set eyes on the great unwashed ever again. But that probably goes without saying.

As usual on such occassions, I'll be slightly hampered by the 500 miles there are between me and London. If you're a bit closer on Monday (2pm, outside parliament) you might want to consider joining the protest. Will it be your last chance to protest against the government in this country? Not quite, but this law is certainly another step in the direction of that dangerous crumbling cliff top.

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