Nice demonstration of the government’s caring, sharing side on the news today. 800 peaceful demonstrators shut down Westminster Bridge yesterday, mid-morning I believe, to ask the government to step in over the Sri Lankan government’s final stages of their campaign against the Tamil Tigers. Annoying for the emergency services that they’re threatening to jump from the bridge but no real biggie, that’s why we’ve got a river patrol and if people are intent on killing themselves in a way that doesn’t hurt others to make the media stand up, there are worse things that could happen.
So anyway, I woke up to the news report as everyone else did, a rather bored-looking reporter saying that everything was nice and peaceful (and from the pictures they might have been outnumbered by the police) but fifteen minutes later (about half an hour after the important MPs arrived for work up by my completely-unfounded judgement) the order was given to move in and get them moved. Because it’s an illegal protest, they didn’t ask the government and fill out the correct forms before they protested outside parliament. But it’s interesting that the reporter had just said the police were hoping they’d all be going home soon anyway and were intending on waiting them out. They had been there for 20 hours after all and were cold, tired and hungry so the police were simply planning on waiting them out because they were only causing a disruption to traffic over the bridge.
Anyone guess what happened in that 15 mins? Did a minister look out the window and see a whole load of brown people cluttering up the neighborhood? Did they curse under their breath and be reminded of of the great Brian Haw and how they’d had to change the law to get rid of him in a spectacularly shameful manner? Now I know they’d been flying Tamil Tiger flags which are illegal here, but that hadn’t mattered yesterday, and the same goes for the disruption of traffic. So was it a policeman changing his mind and deciding to move the people breaking the law to somewhere 200 yards away where they were still breaking the law, or did they get a call from parliament saying ‘shift the darkies, officer’ so said officer did as he was obliged to and follow orders in a way that would mean he’s not arresting 800 people and sparking a riot, but would end the disruption of traffic that was the likely reason given. The fact that they were moved to somewhere that would still annoy the minister, or at least ones with offices on the other side of the building, would not be his fault because he’s a dumb plod with the safety of his officers in mind. I’m sure it wouldn’t have even figured in his mind that he felt ashamed every time he was legally obliged to carry out this embarrassment of a law.