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Riots, rallies and marches.

None of which are exactly my idea of fun. However, a footnote in an item on the BBC site is an area for some concern:

"It also emerged that members of Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council lobbied the Home Office to close a loophole in the law to stop British National Party rallies taking place in the town. Councillors, whose names were deleted from released documents, pointed out that while marches could be banned by the Home Secretary, there was nothing to stop the BNP staging static rallies".

I should not really have to go through the ritual 'I hold no brief' etc disclaimer, so take that as read. Freedom of assembly is a fundamental civil right, and barring it to people with unpopular views simply is not good enough. It also irritates me beyond measure when carefully drafted legislation is referred to as having a 'loophole'. Loopholes are no such thing - they are there deliberately. As to marches, rallies and what have you, I would think that the pre-emptive banning of them is a very bad thing. The BNP, SWP, the various Islamic alphabet soup organisations should be free to assemble when and where they see fit, with the law only coming down on them if they slide into a riotous assembly, or otherwise break the law on incitement etc etc.

Why not return to reading the Riot Act? Which I have just discovered is worded like so:

"Our Sovereign Lord the King chargeth and commandeth all persons, being assembled, immediately to disperse themselves, and peaceably to depart to their habitations, or to their lawful business, upon the pains contained in the act made in the first year of King George, for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies. God Save the King".
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Anonymous hatfield girl said... 5:30 pm

Reading the riot act (something my mother was inclined to offer to do, with ominously thinned lips, during fraternal struggles) would be so much less restrictive than current legislation; a lot fewer than 12 people assembled can get you arrested instantly and kept for weeks without charge under Blair's anti-terrorism tyranny.  



Blogger Croydonian said... 5:45 pm

And it looks as though our Canadian friends still use a variation on our original. Sensible people.  



Anonymous Anonymous said... 7:44 pm

The Labourites get a lot of internal mileage out of hating the BNP. It is a rite of passage for them, also they view hatred of the BNP more important than mere laws and justice.

Even today I heard the loathsome Jon Cruddas claiming that BNP support was the cause of voter apathy.

I guess the BNP hating thing is mirroed in the Tory party by all things 'European.'

Not sure was gets the lib Dems up, but hten they are twictchy about everthying.  



Anonymous Colin said... 10:36 pm

The governments decided to close the most problematic loophole of democracy, i.e. the interference of the populace, by establishing the EU system. More and more loopholes are being closed now and in the future.  



Anonymous verity said... 3:30 pm

How can we get an email address for the Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council?

We could organise a swarm.

Little Green Footballs - which is, after all, an American blog - did a piece about some city manager in, if memory serves, Manchester, who had decreed that in the new cemetary, all graves should face Mecca. Charles thoughtfully ran his full name and email address.

Result, when this fellow turned up to work on Monday, there were hundreds - yes, LGF is a huge blog - hundreds of emails on his computer, many of them quite rightly abusive, explaining that the default grave position in a Christian country is Christian.
This fellow was completely cowed and had reversed his stance by the end of the day. All new graves in Manchester will face West. Any muslim not liking it can find a muslim cemetary somewhere.  



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