Don't Obstruct the Public Rights of Way

Wednesday 15/6/2005

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Diary and Notes

After my rant about how our governments (all of them) continually lie to us to retain their desperate grip on power, I was going to write about how the people themselves still, on the whole, remain compassionate for those suffering in other countries, how they are less cynical, generally less willing to go to war and overall more altruistic than the demons who sit over them in the seats of power. It was going to be a 'trust the people of the world' sort of a tale with examples of how, even against the foulest of regimes, the people who lived in them still fought back and stood up for what they felt was right. Another day perhaps, today I read something that has got me fuming again and there'll be no sweetness and light in my blog, only scorn for the leaders who again, demonstrate that they will do absolutely anything to hold on to power.

Democracy, what democracy?

According to the advert, Britain is currently ruled by a left of centre, democratically elected government which claims to stand up for the rights of the individual and to protect our long standing freedoms. Bollocks is what I say to that (or as they used to say pre 1910 - ballocks), these people are neither liberal nor left of centre. What they are, is willing to do anything, absolutely anything to squash dissent and keep themselves sweet.

We have in Britain had a long history of protest - for 'tis the British way. All manner of freaks and weirdos can go just about anywhere and complain about anything they like. Some public parks (Hyde Park for instance) even have special areas where people are encouraged to go and vent their anger at the government of the day and this right has come to be seen as one of the pillars of our democratic system and an important break on the power of the executive, who without this, could so easily fall out of touch with what the people are thinking.

Some time ago, during the visit of the Chinese Prime Minister, a group of "Free Tibet" protestors were arrested without reason and held until the Chinese PM had left the country. The government has since apologised for this act and admitted that these people had a lawful right to protest and there was no reason at all that the Chinese PM shouldn't suffer a bit of verbal abuse over the gross violations of human rights his government is responsible for. Only now they seem to have backtracked somewhat and are going to ban all protests of this form anywhere that anyone in power might ever get to see it.

A giant exclusion zone around Parliament is to be made where protest will only be legal with the pre approved consent of the police and with the police dictating exactly how many and how exactly the protest will be conducted. All banners will be banned, making noise is to be stopped and any acts liable to basically get anyone to listen to your point will be prohibited. In effect, all protests which seek to get the people in power to listen are going to be stopped. They just don't want to know.

Take for example the peace protestor Brian Haw. Brian has been sitting outside the Houses of Parliament for 4 years, shouting abuse at politicians and waving placards accusing the government of genocide. Now I personally don't think our government is guilty of genocide and suspect Brian is probably a bit of a twit, but I will defend his right to badger the government at every opportunity. This surely is what democracy is about - people debating ideas in public, a dialectic whereby the best argument wins and the best policy is chosen. But the government doesn't like poor Brian Haw and is introducing a law to stop him and anybody else who might want to harangue them. The government claim that protestors like Brian are blocking entrances to Parliament and are preventing them going abut their business and are to ban protests within a half mile of the place where they do their work. (see BBC).

But the government already has the power to prevent protests of this form (introduced in the Serious and Organised Crime and Police Act) and there is even a special statute which prevents people blocking any entrance or path leading into the palace of Westminster and this has been a law for several hundred years.

So what is the real reason for banning protests over such a huge area? Does the government hold the views of the people in such contempt that they don't think we are worth being heard? I suspect this is the truth. I suspect the government has become crazy with power and will do anything, absolutely anything to not have to hear what we, the people who elected them, think of what they do.


Excellent dinner last night by the way. I went around my chums' Laurie and Rachel and we barbecued some gyros (pron Cheros with the ch as in loch). Gyros are a Greek dish from which the doner kebab has probably evolved and are much tastier. I seem to remember gyros being all the rage when I was living in Germany and there were about four or five gyros places in Göttingen alone, oddly I've never seen them anywhere in Britain. The whole meal was very Greek, bamies (Greek okra), rice, everything flavoured with lemon, garlic and oregano. Simple and tasty. Perhaps I should have saved some to throw at the government.

Cake Blog

A Chocolatey cream thingy from Asda


  • Gyros (with tsatsiki, salad and pitta of course)
  • Bamies
  • Rice with Flat Leaf Parsley


    500g Minced Lamb
    1 Clove Garlic
    1/2 Onion
    2 tsp Oregano
    1/2 tsp Black Pepper
    Juice 1/2 Lemon
    300g Okra
    1 Onion
    1 Clove Garlic
    1 tsp Oregano
    2 Tbsp Olive Oil
    1/2 tsp Black Pepper
    1 Can Chopped Tomatoes
    1 Tbsp Ketchup
    Juice 1/2 Lemon
    Bunch Flat Leafed Parsley


  • Gyros: Finely dice the onion and mince the garlic. Mix everything together, form into thin patties and barbecue until just starting to blacken. Stuff into pitta breads with a salad of iceberg lettuce, tomatoes and onions and spoonfulls of tsatsiki (essential)
  • Bamies: Slice the onion and fry in the oil until just turning brown. Add the minced garlic and the okra (tops removed but otherwise uncut). Fry for a few minutes until the okra is soft then add everything else and stew for 30 minutes on a low heat.


    *All quantities are very approximate and for three people