There’s a bit of talk around the place about whether protesters should be cleared from Parliament square. Iain Dale thinks they should be. And predictably Old Holborn thinks they shouldn’t be.
The Libertarian in me hates any state (by this, I mean specifically the police) activity which arrests anybody who isn’t causing anyone harm. However, the right to protest does not include the right to set up a squatters’ camp opposite parliament. The right to protest does not include a right to erect shelter on land which does not belong to you, for which you’re not paying for the right to use. So Brian Haw has been arrested again. And I am heartily sick of the sight of him, and have been for a while.
Whilst I would never deny him, or anyone else the right to protest, I feel is is within the rights of the state to deny him the right to erect a tent or more permanent structure on land he doesn’t own. Limit idiots who want to call the Iraq war “illegal” (it wasn’t) to a sandwich board and placard each, and see how long their protest lasts if they’re exposed to the weather.
Because there are other people who might want to protest in Parliament square occasionally, which is a bit difficult if the Socialist Worker (I recognise that font anywhere) has monopolised the entire frontage of the south side of the lawn in perpetuity. Perhaps the police have been heavy handed, but British fair play and all that. Brian, you’ve had your say, now fuck off.