I am a defender of civil liberties. I want the laws repealed which ban spontaneous protests within a mile of the Palace of Westminster. People should have the right to protest about anything they want to. But their protests have to be within reason. Organising a march on Parliament is within reason. A semi-permanent tented site on a world heritage site is not within reason.
The leader of the camp left a comment on the blog last night. I'll print it in full here...
My name's Mike and I'm sending this from in my tent in Democracy Village, Parliament Square.
I have a job, infact have only been out of work for two weeks in my life. I'm not a hippy. I just know things are screwed up and have had enough. We all need to step back and realise what's important.
Last year I donated a kidney to my sister and this made me value my life a bit more. Part of this means thinking about the world as a whole. But action has to start small and local and this is why I'm here.
My main contribution thus far has been setting up the websites http://meltdown.uk.net and http://democracyvillage.org
These have now taken on a life of their own and I'm very proud of the work put into them. They were only my first and third websites I've setup. For those interested, I work for the public sector and my second website was for work.
Village life is great - we meet twice daily to discuss anything. Any decision is by consensus. This does take longer so for some areas, we break up into smaller groups. We've been successfully policing ourselves and have become self-sufficient. We are running workshops on various topics including how to setup renewable energy sources, how to deal with the police, citizen's journalism, early morning yoga as well as lots of language classes. Diversity with unity, deeds not words and this is what democracy looks like have become village mantras. My new friend Anna said yesterday that this was the best university in the world. There are no fees and all are welcome.
The 3 core reasons we all agree that we're here are war, economy and climate. My area of expertise has been of things economic.
I know for instance that 97% of the UK money supply is in the form of debt. Debt that under the current system has to be repaid. But this debt is created by private banks when you and I take out a loan / credit card / mortgage. The banks then have the audacity to charge interest on this newly created money. "The process by which banks create money is so simple, the mind is repelled." (J.K.Galbraith) Do you think there's a moral need to repay this fraudulently created money? There is no legal reason since the contract is void as there is no consideration on behalf of the lender. This is the defense Jerome Daly successfully used to avoid the bank foreclosing on his home in the 60s and nothing has changed apart from the bankers now have way more political power. It's time to wake up and realise the enemy is here across the road from our beautiful Democracy Village. Please come and chat anytime. With love and peace, Mike
Sorry, Mike but you undermine your case. All of the things you want to discuss are fine, but you don't have to do it in the middle of Parliament Square. If you want to protest about something, fine, do it, and then move on and have your discussions elsewhere. Like any normal person would. Oh, and Mike, I'd love to know what part of the public sector you "work" in and how come your employer is happy for you to be squatting on Parliament Square and not be at work. Because whatever part of the public sector it is ought to be drawn to the attention of David Laws...
There has also been much spluttering at the arrest this morning of Brian Hawes. His tent was searched and he obstructed the Police. What did he expect? A medal? The Police were entirely within their rights to search any tent on Parliament Square a matter of hours before the Queen was due to pass by. I'm not sure how any right thinking person could think otherwise.
The people on Parliament Square have created an eyesore. Their occupation of the area is now denying other people their right to use the Square. That is a civil liberty too.
UPDATE: Ben Brogan gives a typically trenchant perspective on this HERE.
UPDATE: And Adam Boulton joins the fray.