Posts Tagged ‘Political Apathy Protest’

* Update!

here’s the footage which show the segment of our United Valleys Action Group meeting; it’s my voice asking “Is this being shown to GCHQ” that gets everyone laughing! (Luckily I was off camera as the stage fright is terrifying!)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0547tsj the episode will be shown again on iPlayer.

* p.p.s another Update

Here is the Grahame Davies poem quoted at the end of Michael Sheen’s Valleys Rebellion programme (it’s still on iPlayer until end of this month)
http://www.grahamedavies.com/newbridge.shtml

“We do not ask you to remember us:
you have your lives to live as we had ours,
and ours we spent on life, not memory.
We only ask you this – that you live well,
here, in the places that our labour built,
here, beneath the sky we seldom saw,
here, on the green earth whose black vein we mined,
and feel the freedom that we could not find.”

– Grahame Davies


 

Thoroughly enjoyable and thought provoking programme about the history of The Chartist movement from 175 year ago to contemporary times and the disillusionment with politics and lack of democratic representation.

More importantly,  none of the old stereotypical tropes of “thu Vaaaalleees” that usually grip my sh*t!

As UNITED VALLEYS ACTION GROUP and our previous incarnation of COVANTA INCINERATOR ACTION GROUP has taught us. We are on our own and what we do we have to do for ourselves.

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Politics and dealing with these politicians and greedy, exploitative capitalists requires subjective invention, imagination and endurance, not to mention tenacity and cunning.
The disappointments are crushing. It’s really bloody challenging.

10996651_10206237357435864_490946084016394316_nCampaigning needs the will of the people around you to grab their chances and make change.
Because no bugger else will!

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Please support our meetings and our cause!

This is dirty, detailed, local, practical and largely unthrilling work.
It is time we all made a start to change this situation – And Get The Representation We Absolutely Deserve!

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This political discussion program What’s Wrong with Democracy?  was shown directly after Michael Sheen’s Valleys Rebellion programme.

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The United Valleys Action Group, which I am a part of, is featured in this Walesonline newspaper article. We are all very pleased with the write up and how our group’s activities have been presented.

Michael’s television programme will be on at 9pm Tuesday 24th Feb BBC2 Wales.

Michael Sheen’s Valley Rebellion BBC TWO WALES 9pm 24th February

Hollywood star Michael Sheen gets really, REALLY serious

Better known for blockbusters than soapboxes, Michael Sheen’s new BBC Two Wales programme is a study of the hard-won democracy of Wales. He tells Kirstie McCrum why voting is imperative, why he treasures the NHS – and why we should all listen to a wealthy Hollywood actor

 

 

(l-r) James Dean Bradfield and Michael Sheen in BBC Two Wales’ Valley Rebellion

Michael Sheen is angry.

He’s not spitting and swearing, no – not angry in a Roy Keane kind of angry, or with me. But angry nonetheless.

It’s happened as we’re discussing the NHS.

Sheen, dialing in from New York city, is chatting to me about a BBC Two Wales programme which airs this week, Michael Sheen’s Valleys Rebellion.

As measured as the actor’s comments are, delivered in his recognisable and melodious Port Talbot rumble, there’s an intensity which comes through as we talk about the state that our National Health Service currently finds itself in, alluding to political parties left versus right.

“The struggle between certain political ideologies is one between trying to break down the organisation of the labour force, to get rid of unions, to break apart the welfare state and the NHS.

“I think it’s important to realise that there is very much on the one hand an attempt to dismantle, and has been for a long time, things that have been fought for so long, that have had such huge impacts on our culture and society and the way we think.”

What the Chartists did

The Chartist Mural in Newport before demolition
The Chartist Mural in Newport before demolition

Sheen, perhaps better known for appearing in Hollywood blockbusters such as Underworld, the Twilight films and The Queen, got on board to make the programme to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the Newport Rising, but although the actions of the Chartists who marched on the Westgate Hotel to demand parliamentary and social change may seem a world away, he insists that what they fought for – and 22 of them died – is not unrelated to our own modern drive for a democracy that engages with its people.

“The Chartists were something I didn’t know too much about until I heard about the mural [contractors working for Newport Council demolished a commemorative Chartists mural on October 3, 2013].

“I’d seen it in Newport – it’s something that I had grown up having an awareness of without really knowing the whole story, and then once I started to hear about it with the mural, I got drawn into the whole thing more and more, and that was it.”

In fact, he became so involved that, on October 18 that year, he published a full-page open letter in a local newspaper in which he described how the “irony of something that was created to celebrate those who risked much for the good of all, being wiped out without consulting the people themselves, and under the auspices of a Labour-led City Council serving the needs of profit above all else, is both absurd as well as tragic”.

Strong words indeed from a man who’s made his living acting, but he insists that he’s just as politicised as anyone else who has been brought up in Wales at the same time as he was.

“Growing up you just accept that things are the way they are and you don’t really question it – and then at a certain point I guess you do start to question it.

“As I talked to a lot of people on the programme, it became clear that the Miners’ Strike was a pivotal moment for a lot of people of a certain age growing up and developing a sense of a political conscience, because it was such a powerful thing for so many people, certainly in Wales.

“I think that was probably something that I shared with a lot of people, that started to politicise a whole generation.”

A long way from Hollywood

Michael Sheen as Aro in Twilight (2011)
Michael Sheen as Aro in Twilight (2011)

Sheen’s on-screen journey takes him from the Heads of the Valleys, through Blaina and Tredegar and Rhymney, meeting with Manic Street Preachers singer James Dean Bradfield from Blackwood and socialist campaigner and journalist Owen Jones, trying to work out why the voting turnouts in these areas have dropped while social issues like poverty and unemployment are still such a large factor in daily lives.

It’s a subject he feels very strongly about, even though, as he acknowledges, his life and career have taken him far away from these streets.

“My background – where I come from, where my family comes from – is not a million miles away from the towns and villages that I was going through in the programme, so there are certainly points of connection.

“Obviously the circumstances of my life now are very different to the circumstances of a lot of people who I met making the programme, but I don’t think that means that you can’t have an interest in what’s going on, and a desire to try and do whatever you can to help in whatever way you can – even if it’s just to create a platform for people to air their opinions and concerns.

The film and television roles of Michael Sheen

“You can still have an interest in the same values and a shared desire to create change for the better.”

The beliefs which were instilled in him by growing up in Wales, I suggest.

“I think the tradition of a rebellious political conscience is probably one that’s shared between Wales, Ireland and Scotland, because of historically what happened with their relationship to England, so there’d always been a sense of rebellion there.

“But I think it’s more to do with the labour movement, the rise of that from the Chartists up to Nye Bevan and the creation of the Labour party and then onto what Nye Bevan spearheaded with the NHS and the welfare states.

“The labour movement and the Chartist movement were national, if not international, so I don’t think it was peculiar to Wales.”

Communities working together for change

Michael Sheen at a meeting of the United Valleys Action Group
Michael Sheen at a meeting of the United Valleys Action Group

The programme introduces Sheen to many people who feel powerless and frustrated with the political system, including the United Valleys Action Group in the Rhymney Valley.

He says groups like theirs fill him with hope about the system.

“The group members represent a larger group of people, and it’s an organisation that they have created. They have definite issues that they’re trying to address that have a direct impact on their community and they organise themselves and come up with direct strategies as to what they can do.

“That seems like a very healthy and vibrant reaction. They’re not going against the law, they’re not doing anything illegal, but they’re also not aligned to a political group, so it’s not strictly speaking a conventional political way of doing things, it’s more a community-based one.”

The organisation of groups like this one are what will help drive social change forward, Sheen believes.

“The Chartists were a huge amount of people all over the country with a lot of different agendas, but through organising, through having an open channel of communication, they were able to do something.

“The whole history of the labour movement is also one of organising people – the people in power who owned the industry were very organised, and they rely on the workers to not be organised in order to do whatever they want to exploit them.

“So it’s when the labour movement is organised, and the workers are organised, that they have some power.”

Protecting the NHS

Michael Sheen is concerned that the NHS is being dismantled
Michael Sheen is concerned that the NHS is being dismantled

This is when he becomes more agitated about the NHS, but it seems to be more of a passion than a rage, a desire to help everyone see what they might be missing – that these precious parts of our country are at risk.

“I’ve been spending a lot of my time in America where they haven’t had a national health system or welfare state like ours and you realise that the way people think over here is very different because of that.

“There’s a kind of mistrust of that sort of system, the whole Obamacare [a US reform package to provide affordable healthcare for all Americans] thing. They think it’s extraordinary and a betrayal of the American people.

“It makes me realise that our way of perceiving our culture and communities has been very affected by having something like that. That doesn’t mean to say that things have to stay the same all the time – obviously things have to change and adapt.

“But we have to be very careful not to lose something that is of immense value to us, not just in terms of the service it provides, but also in the kind of culture we want to be, the way we want to relate to ourselves and other people.

“I think any culture is judged on how it regards its most vulnerable, and the NHS has always been a symbol of that.

“A healthy NHS is what we should work towards rather than getting rid of it. That’s my own personal opinion.”

With the countdown to the general election underway, and voter turnout at a low, Sheen was keen to investigate whether there is something wrong with democracy.

“What I heard a lot was people talking about how they feel politicians have become professional politicians and they tend to feel like they’re not being represented.

“I think there’s a general suspicion that a lot of politicians are looking out for corporate interests rather than the people’s interest and therefore people start to feel disengaged.

“But just before we did the programme was the Scottish referendum where there was such huge engagement, so clearly it’s not about apathy, it’s that the means of engagement seem to be not working for people. And something needs to change.”

Despite all the intensity of the arguments for the UK experiencing current times with relationships between the people and our elected representatives seemingly at an all-time low, Sheen insists there is hope.

“We can always pull things back because it’s always in our hands. The democratic system is based upon the fact that if the people want something then they are able to affect change.

“The difficulty is when our political system becomes obfuscated and difficult to engage with, and also when people aren’t aware of what it is that’s going on – then it becomes problematic. But there is always the possibility of changing it, because we just have to say what we want.

“There are so many access points for getting information about what’s going on that it can sometimes be a bit overwhelming, but I think that’s better than having one or two sources which can be easily manipulated.

“The first responsibility is for people to find out exactly what’s going on and then work out what they want. It’s certainly never too late.”

What Michael really thinks of Russell Brand

PA WireRussell Brand, now an activist and campaigner who has encouraged the British electorate not to vote
Russell Brand, now an activist and campaigner who has encouraged the British electorate not to vote

With the countdown to the general election underway, there’s a lot of talk about voter turnout. With comedian and self-styled political activist Russell Brand telling young people not to vote because our political system is flawed, I ask if Sheen feels agitated about that message going out on such a vast platform.

“I think what Russell Brand has been doing is fantastic, because anyone who is getting people to think about what they’re doing and putting forward arguments is great for people who are engaging with it and listening to it, whether they agree with it or not.

“That’s the whole point – we should have discussions about it, rather than sitting watching rubbish on the TV. Let’s have this argument, let’s talk about it, let’s say, ‘Yes, I think he’s amazing, I think he’s absolutely right’, or, ‘No, I think he’s an idiot and what he’s saying is wrong’.

“I’m never concerned about whether someone with a loud voice who is getting heard is going to overly influence people because everyone should have their own opinion. But it does make you think about what you think or feel about what they’re saying as well, and that’s the important thing.”

With the lineage we’ve discussed, from the Chartists and more, can he and will he be expressing his own feelings come May 7?

“I do get a vote in the UK, and I certainly will be using it this election,” he assures me.

Michael Sheen’s Valleys Rebellion is on Tuesday on BBC Two Wales at 9pm

Dr. John and Dan Auerbach REVOLUTION (2012)

“Revolution” is track #2 on the album Locked Down.

It was written by Michels, Leon / Movshon, Nick / Rebennack, Malcolm / Auerbach, Dan / Weissenfeldt, Maximilian / Olive, Brian

Blind as a justice,
deaf is the power
Dumb lose our money
left us in a desperate hour
Economy…
drivin’ me out of my sanity
Rebellious revolution.
Is it the final illusion?
Final solution!

.surrender, killed in their tracks
Babies, women raped. leaders on their back
Religious delusions
Stoned confusions
Prepare your revolution
Is this final solution?
Girl, is a mass insanity
.humanity
Let’s all just pray right now!

The real…
Propaganda, hypocrisy
Did we lose our constitution?
Rebellious revolution
Is this the final solution?
A rebellious revolution
Is this the final solution?
The final solution

 

Revealed: Police using pre-charge bail to muzzle protesters
Exclusive Data obtained by the Guardian substantiates claims that hundreds of innocent people were banned from attending lawful demonstrations.

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/dec/25/revlealed-police-using-pre-charge-bail-muzzle-protesters

Since 2008 police have arrested at least 855 people in England and Wales and then released them on pre-charge bail, setting a date to return to the police station. Until their return, those bailed were prohibited from attending any demonstration.

However, 85 percent, or about 732 people, have never been charged, according to data the Guardian collected using the Freedom of Information Act.

the 500 arrests by the Metropolitan Police since 2008, only 15 people have been charged. In the same way the City of London, Essex and Sussex police banned 120 people. On average only one in seven has been charged.

Citing “additional research”, The Guardian assumed the actual number of bans imposed could be far greater as some of the bail conditions given by custody sergeants were not picked up by the scope of the newspaper’s information requests.

In the UK, no court permission is required for a custody sergeant to hand out a protest ban. Should a protester violate this restriction, an arrest for breach of bail could follow. However, people on pre-charge bail can appeal to a magistrate.

“Bail is becoming an instrument that is being used by people without recourse to the judicial process. It is essentially to punish protesters and curb their right to demonstrate,” Rachel Harger of leading human rights law firm Bindmans told the newspaper. “It is effectively the police conducting their own extra-judicial justice without going to court.”

In the meantime, police managed to prove that in 123 cases they had enough evidence to start proceedings against the suspects.

However, civil liberties and protest groups insist that using bail is just a way of “disrupting protest activity without the inconvenience of dealing with a formal legal process.”

“As a result of the police’s long track record of misusing pre-charge conditions against protesters in an irresponsible way, we believe the only solution is the complete withdrawal of this power for all protest-related offences,” The Network for Police Monitoring (Netpol), a group which seeks to monitor public order, protest and street policing, said.

According to the policy officer of civil liberties group Liberty, Rachel Robinson, “the lack of limits on police bail make it liable to abuse and misuse, and can act to frustrate, rather than further, prosecutions.”

“Its use against protesters raises particular concerns, potentially chilling peaceful dissent for protracted periods without any prospect of criminal conviction,” she added.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m sharing this from a Facebook post…

Please Share and edify your nearest KIPPER…
You will probably have to read it to them…?

Some things you may not know about Farage:

“A Man of the people? Here are the real facts about Farage
He is a public school-educated former City trader, working trade commodities beginning with Drexel Burnham Lambert before moving to Credit Lyonnais Rouse in 1986. Eight years later he joined Refco before Natexis Metals in 2003. Despite this he fools people into thinking that he is a genuine man of the people fighting against the establishment.
While Farage will be fighting the Tories in the upcoming general election,
back in the old days Farage was a member of the Conservative Party. He was in fact an active player with them in his public school until 1992 when he left in protest over John Major’s stance on the EU.
Helped by the BBC and Mass media who have been consistently biased towards Nigel Farage and he has appeared on BBC’s Question Time programme at least 16 times since 2009. The BBC has received almost 1,200 complaints about its coverage of the last European and local elections, saying it was biased towards Nigel Farage’s UKIP.
Quite why is a mystery.
Those who promote him as an ordinary guy have certainly pulled the wool over people’s eyes very successfully as 38% of UKIP voters believe he went to a grammar school and 25% that he went to a comprehensive. In fact he went to one of London’s most prestigious public schools, Dulwich College. Ironically, out of the four main party leaders, only Ed Miliband was educated at a comprehensive school but just 13% of the public know this – the majority think he went private.
In 2009 Farage was embroiled in an expenses scandal after the Guardian reported how he had received a total of £2million of taxpayers’ money in staff, travel and other expenses which should mean that he has got some explaining to do but few people know this because the tame Press ignore it. While he has admitted having claimed more than £205,000 of taxpayers’ money for office space which had been donated to the party for free most people think has is different to all the other mainstream political leaders.
The European Electoral Commission is currently deciding what action to take, as large donations such as free office space should have been declared within 30 days of acceptance. This was not done, and as a result, the offices used by the party appeared to have been leased commercially. Farage says he did declare the donation, but in a register in the European parliament rather than with the Electoral Commission.
In April this year, after pressure from the Electoral Commission to clarify the donations, Farage declared 14 donations with a total value of more than £205,000 which stretched back to 2001.
The fact that Farage has been paying no rent on the offices, near Bognor Regis, for 14 years, means he also needs to explain where £160,000 of taxpayers’ money has gone. Farage said he had declared the donation as a benefit in kind at the European parliament every year since 2001.
He said: “The Electoral Commission decided it’s a donation in kind to UKIP. I don’t understand it for a moment. I took advice which I thought at the time was right.” A UKIP spokesman said: “Every year since 2001, Mr Farage has declared in his European parliament register of interests the use of a rent-free office from J Longhurst Ltd. The premises has been used as his MEP office so the European parliamentary register was the logical place for it to be declared.”
Mr Farage also has a terrible attendance record in the European Parliament as he only has a 45.6% participation in roll call votes, a bit lower than the 55% he claims. When compared to his colleagues, though, the UKIP leader does not exactly stand out for zeal: he ranks 758th out of 766 MEPs – only eight MEPs have a worse record of votes in Strasbourg.”

Proximal Abandonment and imagery sourced from this psychosocial phenomena

(my 2011 Foundation Dip Fine Art project)

http://www.slideshare.net/judasPritch/ian-pritchard-fmp-presentation-0611

 

 

Things That Should Happen But Do Not - I. Pritchard, 2011

Things That Should Happen But Do Not – I. Pritchard, 2011

"I Am Someone Too" - I. Pritchard, 2011

“I Am Someone Too” – I. Pritchard, 2011

"You've Fallen For The Monkey Trap" - I. Pritchard, 2011

“You’ve Fallen For The Monkey Trap” – I. Pritchard, 2011

My pathway stage focused mainly within areas of using art as social commentary, which I feel, reflects my strongest viewpoints.

I enjoyed producing a series of works based on the word ‘Aspiration’ which included my own slant on the word using various socio-political sources to inform the work.

  • From having produced work in this area I now intend to go on to make a more in depth investigation to produce works based on the psychosocial phenomenon of abuse known as ‘Proximal Abandonment’.
  • Research shows that emotional unavailability towards our children or closest dependents equates to ‘Proximal Abandonment’.
    There is physical presence, but emotional abandonment from the parent figure,
    they are physically present but non-interactive with their dependents.
  • I would like to equate this phenomenon and apply this notion with substituting our politicians or those in a position of power or trust as my subject matter.
  • I use the language of Art to symbolically convey my ideas, views and feelings on these issues.
Influences, Research, Sources and Ideas
  • In order to begin my assignment I intend to gather research, produce mind maps and gather ideas from a variety of artists and designers, that I find influential such as;
    Andy Warhol, Terry Setch, Max Ernst, Jamie Reid and Banksy.
  • I particularly like the way in which these artists subvert imagery and use juxtaposition to convey a message, and how by using a mixed media approach pleasing unexpected results may be obtained.
  • I feel my work could be influenced further by researching;
    newspaper articles, museum and gallery visits, blogs, libraries,
    psychological experiments, case studies, Facebook forum discussions and internet sources.
  • Initially, Warhol’s ‘Mao, 1973’ is a work I feel I can utilize in particular, in addition to found objects, my responses to journalism, advertising and consumerism giving me potential ideas to develop, through photography, collage, mixed media and drawing.
  • Further reading: “Psychiatric Tales” a graphic artist’s battle against depression/anxiety and his work in mental health care. BBC R4 interview – All In The Mind, 25th May 2011. Excellent interview.
The Science bit
  • Pioneering child psychologist D.W Winnicott said that fundamentally two things can go wrong in early child development;
  1. a) when things happen that should not happen.
  2. b) when things that should happen do not.
  • The first category is the traumatic abusive and abandonment experience suffered for example, by children of addicts.
  • The second category is the lack of presence of the emotionally available parent or primary carer – just not being available due to societies stresses, short term priorities, and so on
    – affecting the parenting environment.
    Psychologist Allan N Schore called this “Proximal Abandonment” – when the parent is physically present but emotionally absent.
  • I have entitled the first of the three of my chosen final artworks based on Winnicott’s second fundamental principle.
Some influences

Fay Godwin – book “our forbidden land”

  • The British landscape is under threat moreso than ever before from government policies: industry,agri-business and powerful interests while our historic rights of access are increasingly denied.
  • Fay Godwin uses a combination of her photography and words and selected poems and quotes to reveal a deep rooted commitment and respect for the land.
  • She uses haunting, penetrating photographs and text to fuse aesthetic perception with realism, documentary and irony to form a rousing passionate appeal for the land us as citizens can no longer roam.
  • I want my FMP works to contain a similar appeal and substance to that of Fay Godwin’s.
  • I want to produce a passionate and thought provoking series of images on how I feel we as people are having our rights infringed and health endangered by those supposedly in charge but who put their status and careers in front of their duty of care and what should be their primary concern – us!
Development

My intention initially was to take inspiration from what Andy Warhol did with the image of Chairman Mao in 1973.

It had background acrylic on canvas with an ink print of the portrait printed in the foreground.

I wanted to take a similar approach with a canvas painted with an everyday scene and print a contemporary figure or image I the foreground using the inkjet/acetone transfer/decalcomania technique.

I chose to satirise Ieuan Wyn Jones of the Welsh Assembly government in this recognisable way.

I saw him as someone who has jeopardised the health and environment of everyone in my local area due to his dealings with American corporation Covanta who plan to build the UK’s largest ever waste incinerator I an area already acknowledged has having a population with extremely poor health and the highest rate of pulmonary/heart disease in Wales.

I saw him as a figure guilty of political abandonment of those in need, in favour of short term gain.

Recently Lib-Dem MP John Hemming became a champion for free speech, this coming from a pot-bellied serial cheat and love rat who fathered a child with a mistress and who used taxpayers money to part-fund a private business.

I wonder if he’ll re-Tweet that?

  • My development piece is called “It takes one politician and a truckload of shite to begin a generation of misery” and was transferred using translucent silicone sealant onto green masonry sack.

For research and for the purpose of inspiration, museum visits and galleries I have attended were:

  • National Museum of Wales, Aberdare Museum, St David’s Hall Cardiff, Bay Arts Gallery and Cardiff Bay Crafts Gallery.

Some of the more relevant artists to the project I had in mind that I felt most inspired by included established artists such as:

  • John Piper, Terry Setch (especially Landfil 2010), Dave Brook’s plaster and pigment work (Tract11 & Tract 12)
  • newly qualified artists I viewed such as Nicole Thoss’ copy transfer ceramics (Scream No.1 & No.2 and Kidnapping), Dawn Dupree (It’s Never Black and White) and Vicky Shaw (various).
  • The Nicole Thoss copy transfer works were especially interesting to  me as this,prior to any gallery visits,is the technique I had been researching, along with investigating various materials to transfer onto.
Final Outcome

The three artworks I have chosen to represent my final works in this project are deliberately displayed in the following sequence;
a) “Things that should happen, but don’t”,
b) “I am someone too”,
c) “You’ve fallen for the monkey trap.

This is because there is a narrative quality that I wanted to convey to the observer.

  • The three parts come together to show the phenomenon of Proximal Abandonment beginning with the Authority figures and their rush for a quick fix to the problem of residual waste management and the promises of a profit hungry American incinerator corporation homing in on an already deprived ex-coal field community, a place wherein some areas have a male life expectancy of less than 59 years of age.
  • Secondly onto the sombre, yet defiant figure of a young child protesting.
    I convey that she has been abandoned and her rights discarded or ignored.
    She represents us and our future generations, I hope to evoke and convey ideas and release feelings about social and political abandonment using the sack cloth background.
  • Thirdly, the image of man’s closest cousin, the chimpanzee, in a contemplative, possibly mocking pose.
    This echoes an allegorical passage from “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” on short sightedness and it’s many fatal pitfalls and begs the question are they making monkeys of us all?

http://www.theecologist.org/blogs_and_comments/commentators/2600887/less_freedom_in_westminsters_parliament_square_than_in_hong_kong.html

 

Less freedom in Westminster’s Parliament Square than in Hong Kong!!

Donnachadh McCarthy

19th October 2014

Donnachadh McCarthy went to Parliament Square yesterday to address a peaceful rally about the failings of British democracy. The intimidatory, violent and inflammatory police reaction only confirmed everything he had to say – as did the dignified restraint of the Occupy Democracy protestors.
Please go and support these brave protesters today or during the week if you can.

Yesterday I was invited to speak about ‘The Prostitute State – How Britain’s Democracy Has Been Bought’ – at theOccupy Democracy Rally in Parliament Square.

The plan was to give the talk (which went well – despite being nervous) and meet up with a friend later for dinner.

Instead I ended up being threatened with arrest not once, not twice but six times and ended up sleeping rough in the open all night in Parliament Square with the amazing people seeking to establish the weeklong democracy Occupy Democracy forum !

The first near arrest was for holding on to a placard stating that “Occupy Democracy is a drug and alcohol free zone”.

Three policemen nearly broke my fingers to take it off me, whilst refusing to tell me on what grounds a peaceful protester could not have such a placard.

The second near arrest was when about 60 of us were sitting around in a circle on the grass discussing democracy and occupy. About 40 riot police surrounded about 20 of us and kettled us in. They then threatened us with arrest for refusing as peaceful citizens to give our names.

The third near arrest happened when I helped rescue one of the peaceful democracy debaters from a snatch squad.

The fourth near arrest happened when I saw the private security guard boss who disgracefully now police Parliament Square (AOS) , indicate uglily three peaceful democracy debaters whom he wanted arrested and helped grab them out of the way.

The fifth near arrest was when I argued that the police were guilty of unnecessary harassment and making a farce of the Metropolitan Police, in seeking to wake up one of the democracy debaters who was asleep, as they claimed the plastic bag he was using to keep himself dry was “an object assisting him to sleep” and that this was illegal in Parliament Square!

The sixth and final near-arrest was this morning when the police sergeant and four policement dragged me away from Occupy Democracy for the heinous crime of holding a placard with their values:

“Peaceful non-violence
No discrimination of any sort
No drugs or alcohol on-site”

They eventually tore it off me, after I exercised peacecful direct action in seeking to hold on to it, whilst asking on what grounds it was illegal to have such a sign and the sergent tore it to shreds.

Hundreds of police – but whatever for?

There were literally hundreds and hundreds of police surrounding the democracy debate.

Then another police cordon around the squares footpaths – within which the press were banned.

Then the entire boundary of the square was surrounded by police vans.

A police helicopter hovered over-head. Hundreds more police were in vans spread all around the vecinity.

This massive over-policing and attempts to shut the democratic forum down was truly shocking and outrageous.

However, despite repeated provocation the democrats remained peaceful, and with huge help from the legal team, Occupy faced down all of the attacks and is now proceeding peacefully with talks and workshops all week, including today.

Please go and support these brave protesters today or during the week if you can.

I am now going to crash … grateful for not being in jail and grateful for helping claim this space for open demoractic debate for nine days, outside the Whore of Parliaments.


 

Information on the week-long protest, 17th-26th October.

Evening Standard article: standard.co.uk/news/london/occupy-london-protesters-start-week-long-demonstration-9803689.html

Donnachadh McCarthy FRSA is a former Deputy Chair of the Liberal Democrats. He can be reached via his website 3acorns.

Copies of his book ‘The Prostitute State – How Britain’s Democracy Has Been Bought‘ are available from theprostitutestate.co.uk.

E-book version available from www.Lulu.com.