Posts Tagged protestors

Comedy Grauniad Article of the Week…

Comedy Grauniad Article of the Week...

What should I wear to a protest march?

I just had to laugh at this – not only is the question itself ridiculous, the girl on the left looks like a charicature – an extra from Citizen Smith. The scarf is all wrong though – she needs a shemagh, surely? And what, no balaclava? Watch her mug quickly make its way on the Met’s all-new spotter cards.

Only the good old Grauniad can waste time publishing an article that attempts to make this work-shy activity chic.

If the more hardcore activists out there are looking for a suitable colour in which to hit the streets, I’d suggest that classic off-white with a slight touch of greyish-red, also known as hint of brain.

Yep, it has been a slow news day today.

, ,

No Comments

Spot the contradiction…

Spot the contradiction...

Having spent the best part of a fortnight obsessing over the damp squib that was the Nick Griffin special edition of Question Time, it appears the fellows at the Guardian are now having to get back to the same old whine-fests…

Today comes the revelation that the police (boo! hiss!) have taken to photographing members of protest crowds, with frequently-snapped individuals making what have been called “spotter cards“. The Guardian journalists’ opinion is no doubt skewed by the fact that police documents have made use of the term “domestic extremists” – when of course all of those who attend such protests are peace-loving, law-abiding members of the community. Righty-o.

The truth is that when you take a cross-section of protestors – no matter who or what they may be happening to protest for or against – there will be a higher number of hardcore activists and potential troublemakers than if you took a similar sample of people who would prefer to stay at home instead. Protestors are out there because they want to be heard, and it should be a given that among their number would be some who want to be heard in any circumstance. This is basic common sense, and it in no way implies that all protestors are potential troublemakers.

Police insist they are just monitoring the minority who could damage property or commit aggravated trespass, causing significant disruption to lawful businesses. Activists respond by claiming this is an excuse that gives police the licence to carry out widespread surveillance of whole organisations that are a legitimate part of the democratic process.

The statement from the police sounds fair enough to me – if you are not a troublemaker, your face is hardly going to make one of these spotter cards anyway – there are only so many sheets of card that can be handed around at any one time, and it is highly unlikely that every police officer on duty would be carrying around an encyclopedia of mugshots with them.

Of course, this is something only worth moaning about if you happen to sympathise with the groups being spied on; the police are no doubt watching BNP marches up and down the country with perhaps even a greater level of scrutiny, and I’d wager that these same journalists would have no problem with that – in spite of the fact that the BNP is of course itself a “legitimate part of the democratic process”.

They also warn that the categorisation carries echoes of the cold war, when the security services monitored constitutional campaigns such as the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the Anti-Apartheid Movement because alleged subversives or communists were said to be active within them, although they said the organisations themselves were not subversive.

Again, the same basic principle can be applied to the BNP and its membership; while quite clearly there are some dangerous individuals who need to be watched, the organisation itself has not been classified as subversive. It is a fact that both CND and the Anti-Apartheid movement were crawling with communists and various other pro-Soviet ne’er do wells, in much the same way as the BNP has among its membership a number of David Copeland wannabes. It is the duty of the state to keep an open eye out for extremists of every hue, and if certain freedoms are to be compromised then so be it.

Of course, people could choose not to have their photograph taken by the police by simply staying at home instead of causing traffic jams and generally wasting everybody’s time – but that would be silly, wouldn’t it?

, , , ,

No Comments