Evening Standard – Surrender, anti-war man is told: Britain’s most persistent anti-war demonstrator was today ordered to quit his protest. Parliament Square protester Brian Haw has been served with a legal notice to dismantle his makeshift peace camp opposite the House of Commons. Ministers expect him to be gone by August…. Mr Haw’s removal would end demonstrations outside the Houses of Parliament for the first time in 350 years. The Home Office brought in special laws last month overturning the centuries-old right of people to challenge their elected representatives outside Westminster. They claimed the measures were needed for security reasons.
Yeah, *job* security reasons.
I described Brian Haw’s encampment as “a little cloud of shame that does and should hang over our representatives” in October of last year, and linked to an Independent article now mirrored on this support website. This article has a passage that deserves repeating, just to show you how desperate MPs are to do away with Haw:
Sir George Young, the Tory MP for Hampshire North West, has led the charge against Mr Haw, accusing ministers of an “inexcusable paralysis” for failing to get rid of him earlier. In a Commons debate in May he said that terrorists could hide behind the peace protester’s banners and “pick us off as we arrive at or leave the House”. No other democracy would allow “this shanty town” in the middle of the its capital, he said. Mr Blunkett agrees. He has decided to take the matter on with an amendment to the Serious Organised Crime Bill to be unveiled in the Queen’s Speech next month.
So that’s legislation designed to target organised crime that targets a single peaceful protestor. It’s also an essential move in the ‘war’ on terror. Because Osama bin Laden could hide behind a paper sign and leap out to attack passing MPs. You can read more of Sir George Young’s claptrap on this subject by clicking here. FFS, he even cites environmental concerns.
In fact, there are almost as many ridiculous and false arguments being used to displace Brian Haw as there were used to justify the illegal invasion of Iraq.
Brian Haw should stay. The shadow he casts across the Houses of Parliament should remain in place until the gutless wonders inside call Blair and his cronies to account.
People who bleat about putting the past behind us and ‘moving forward’ in Iraq (example) need to know that there can be no positive move forward until justice is done and seen to be done. Even from a purely practical standpoint, it’s the only way to cripple the terrorists that swept into that country following an invasion with little to no legal justification, a greatly compromised moral argument, and no long-term plan.
UPDATE – A somewhat related link via Toby…
BBC – ‘Freedom fries’ lawmaker’s U-turn: A pro-Iraq war US congressman who campaigned for French fries to be renamed “freedom fries” is now calling for US troops to return home from Iraq. Republican Representative Walter Jones is to introduce legislation demanding a timetable for the withdrawal.