Praise Jesus and Question Tony Blair

Posted by Tim Ireland at December 21, 2005

Category: The War on Stupid

This entry was posted on
Wednesday, December 21st, 2005
11:37 pm and is filed
under The War on Stupid.

Tonight we established that the definition of what constitutes a demonstration (under Section 132 of the Serious and Organised Crimes and Police Act 2005) is open to interpretation.

The police did not dare show their faces. At all.

Once the cameras were pointed their way, even those at the gates of Parliament were quite obviously directed to keep a low profile. No-one in authority wanted a picture of police challenging this event to make the newspapers.

Given this, and the failure to evict Brian Haw, it is certain that this legislation will have to pass through Parliament once more.

Hopefully, with more scrutiny this time around.

Cheers all.


Guido has a report, and a photo that I can better with a screengrab from this evening’s BBC news.


Also, the online report from the BBC has been updated to read: A Metropolitan Police spokeswoman said: “We treated the event as a carol service and not as a demonstration so the legislation did not come into play.”

So that’s 51 less weeks that I can expect to spend in prison, then. Nice to know.

Independent – Carol singers provide chorus of disapproval at Parliament: Last night’s event was organised by Tim Ireland, an Australian-born internet campaigner who uses an American-style web-log,, to campaign on issues from demands for an inquiry into the attacks on London on 7 July to the anti-terrorism laws. He said: “The aim is to sing carols and that is it. The Serious Organised Crime Act outlaws demonstrations within the exclusion zone around Westminster but it does not define demonstrations. You could break it by wearing a Make Poverty History wristband or demonstrating your own stupidity.”

Well, that’s not *quite* what I said (I said that MPs were at risk of prosecution under this act for demonstrating their own stupidity), but I hope that readers of the Independent will see the point regardless… and, if not, I’m hoping that they will see the absurdity of a ‘stupid’ act being targeted (or not) by the Serious Organised Crime Act.

And what of the readers of the Sun? The newspaper that champions the view that our lives have/will not be changed by terrorism? They ran a nativity scene into this area at the same time last year (on the back of a flat-bed truck), in order to ‘save Christmas’… but this year that act was illegal…. technically.

Did the Sun repeat this stunt? Did they even bother to file a report on this carol service?

(checks Scum)

I’m sad to report that it’s ‘no’ on both counts.

Rebekah Wade is a hypocrite. Rebekah Wade is a coward. Rebekah Wade is a ginger-freckled tosspot. But I wish her a Merry Christmas Happy Holidays regardless.

Rachel was there and has lotsa links to offer. Go see.

UPDATES (22 Dec):

I’ve just counted the donations. We raised almost 300 pounds for Medical Aid for Iraqi Children!


BlairWatch has an archive of the BBC Radio 4 report.

Harlow Liberal Democrats filed this report: The police have been notable by their absence; there are normally far more of them around Parliament than there are tonight. Clearly they’ve decided they’d look utterly foolish trying to enforce Blair’s new law, and arresting a bunch of well-behaved citizens (including at least one member of the House of Lords) for simply singing Peace on Earth and Goodwill to all Men.

They also sent in this great picture of Brian on the night. Says it all for me. Just look how happy he is.

Brian in his element

Merry Christmas, Brian… and thanks again to everyone who attended/supported this event.


  1. irritant says

    I haven’t seen the Mirror or the D.Mail but so far the only paper that has covered it is the Independent.

  2. nogbad says

    Power to you! As an agnostic I find it cheering that should I choose to sing carols (I’ve been doing that this evening at a local celebration) at the HoP I now know I can.More importantly I’m glad that again this stupid, paranoid exercise of power has been shown to be no more than puff.Power to Brian – peace to everyone!N

  3. MatGB says

    “American Style” weblog? Considering they do on occasions do blog round ups, you’d have thought that they’d know that we don’t do anything American style.Our weblogs are British style, we’re nice and polite and get on with each other even when we disagree vehemently. Well, most of the time.Kudos Tim, shame I couldn’t make it, and not surprising no arrests were made, that would have made for some nasty publicity they could do without.

  4. Talk Politics says


    Carol singers have become the latest group to defy a ban on unauthorised protests around Parliament.About 100 singers tested the limits of the new Serious Organised Crime and Police Act by singing in Parliament Square on Wednesday evening.The l…

  5. Rachel North London says

    Well done Tim! Well done everybody. Top singing too.Best protest ever.Some nice pics and comments on urban 75 ( you need to be a member to read the main board but you can see the quick report here )

  6. Blairwatch says

    Once in Royal Tony’s City: Update

    Radio 4 covered the Carol Service in Parliament Square last night. I archived the report here, because it will be gone tomorrow…Hat Tip to all those who went!

  7. Manic says

    Thanks, Rachel. It was wonderful to meet you at last.And what a result, eh? The police were obviously given clear instructions regarding visibility.I loved the bit where the media moved to a position that meant the main gate of Parliament was in shot (when we moved the service to the corner for safety reasons) … and the police on duty there actually *hid* rather than be photographed, even in the distant background.Bloody glorious.(link to full Urban 75 report for the record)

  8. Scaryduck says

    Bloody well done, mate.

  9. Ivan Pope says

    I’m not sure what the point of this was. Surely it is obvious that there is discretion on the part of the police – not every action is a protest. And obviously they will, if they want to, interpret carol singing as ‘not a protest’.Maybe it would have been more interesting to have sung protest carols or something to nudge the line a bit.

  10. richard says

    Ivaaaaaan… The point was to test how far the government are willing to go with this bonkers law and get some more media attention for the fact that it’s no longer legal to do or say anything political outside Parliament unless you’re Brian Haw! Runaway success on both counts. Great work, Tim!

  11. ycyycn says

    The police were obviously given clear instructions regarding visibility.

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