The EDL march in Bradford

The call for a ban has not been taken lightly. We live in a democracy where the right to protest is fundamental but with rights come responsibilities and there has to be limits on people who set out to terrorise, frighten and provoke trouble.

Quite right, there are responsibilities. To maintain the Queen\’s Peace for example, to obey the law.

For example, those who incite violence, or who partake in it, should be and will be hauled up before the Beak and punished. The responsibility, you see, is to take the consequences of your actions.

Other than that, that right to protest is indeed fundamental. They get to protest, you get to protest back and no, you don\’t get to use the law to ban their protest. Just  they don\’t get to use it to ban yours.

Because, you see, the right to protest is a fundamental right.

9 thoughts on “The EDL march in Bradford”

  1. “a fundamental right”? OK, but rights don’t exist outside of a legal system. All non-legal rights-talk, as in ‘human rights’, is metaphorical. So what are you saying? That the legal guarantee to peaceful protest is a necessary condition for democracy? If so, I’m not sure even that is true, as a democratic society without that legal right is conceivable.

    Tim adds: Many things are possible in a democracy….but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about liberty, freedom. And no, it’s not possible to have a free society without the right to demonstrate….or associate, or speak.

  2. For example, those who incite violence, or who partake in it, should be and will be hauled up before the Beak and punished.

    May I point out exceptions to this?

    The more serious ones:
    Ian Tomlinson, and kettling in general during G20.

    Jean Charles de Menezes.

    Blair Peach.

    Less serious, but still of concern:
    Any photographer bullied. Special mention goes to Jules Mattsson.

    Robert Clive Whatley.

    There are more, but I’m sure you can see the pattern here.

  3. “it’s not possible to have a free society without the right to demonstrate”. I don’t think that’s true, Tim. Conceivably, there could be a free society in which demonstrations were prohibited completely, but in which people were as or more free to associate in other ways (eg rallies, conferences, seminars etc), debate, publish, trade etc than we are in (say) the UK. Freedom admits of degree. And the ‘right’ to demonstrate on the streets is desirable in but not essential to free societies.

  4. We have already collected over 10,000 signatures to our petition, from all sections of the community, and more are coming in all the time. This is 10,000 successful conversations we have had with ordinary people – 5% of all adults in our city…

    The people of Bradford are overwhelmingly opposed to the EDL march.

    Hmm…

  5. Well Ben, it would appear that 95% of all adults in the city either couldn’t give a flying monkey’s or have (at least some grudging) support for the march, and are thus, obviously, in the minority, regardless of how many of them there are or what proportion of the population they are.

    There is also the implication that anyone who disagrees with the petition is somehow abnormal, and thus shouldn’t be allowed a say in the matter anyway.

    I’m failing to see what you’re finding difficult to understand about it. Clearly, since the EDL are saying stuff that other [5%] people don’t like, they shouldn’t be allowed to say it.

    It ain’t rocket science. (Well it clearly is to Marsha Singh. The only problem being is that Marsha’s ‘rockets’ could only be expected to have the same sort of success as Michel Fournier’s numerous attempts at flying a balloon.)

  6. Paul:

    “And the ‘right’ to demonstrate on the streets is desirable in but not essential to free societies.”

    Sorry but it is absolutely essential to have the right to take your protest onto the streets, where all the public can see you, hear you, and witness the response from the police.

  7. Monty – You clearly feel it’s essential; but your feeling does not make it essential. My little thought-experiment shows that we could have a functioning democracy (with high levels of personal liberty) without the ‘right’ to demonstrate on the streets.

  8. @paul ilc, what about uaf and Muslims groups demonstrating is that ok? I watched utube of Muslims(anjem chaudrys lot) in london swearing at police and throwing stuff at them!

    Ban all that too?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *