Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Exercising freedom of speech, or just squatting?

I’m settling comfortably into middle age so it’s about time for a Colonel Blimp moment. I have the great good fortune to have a bicycle / moped ride to work each day that takes in the Houses of Parliament and a circuit round Parliament Square. Once upon a time (and for quite a long time) there was a chap who camped out there called Brian Haw, and he was a man of principal and much respected.

In recent months however, Parliament Square has begun to look like an urban outpost of Glastonbury, and it’s completely out-of-hand and I’m outraged (albeit not from Tonbridge Wells).

Frankly, I think they’re taking the p*ss, and if I had my way they’d all be moved on each night. I’d also point out that there’s no one in Parliament at night, so they’re not demonstrating to anyone or making any point. They’re just squatting on one of most expensive pieces of real estate in the world.

I’m all for the expression of free speech, and am more than happy for people to march up and down during the day, but I think that they should be cleared out each night – if they feel so strongly about whatever they are demonstrating against, they should be happy to come back each day. If the price of democracy is a bus ticket in each morning, so be it.

My letter to the Telegraph is in the post.

Update (06/07/2010): it has a name, it’s called Democracy Village – website here - http://democracyvillage.org/. Turns out it’s quite a big deal - Boris is attempting to get rid of them, but they have had a stay of execution for some reason. Also worth noting that Brian Haw is not affiliated to them in any way – as stated on his website - http://www.parliament-square.org.uk/.

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