A brief stroll down Millbank and past Downing Street passed without incident, and it was on the corner of Parliament Square that the police&mdashmostly plastic policemen, in fact, who seem to be increasingly the de facto crowd control element (and always the most arrogant)—stopped us for "blocking the pavement".
The Guys were searched under the Terrorism Act; although reasons for doing so varied across the different slips, my personal favourite was "wearing a costume and mask in a public place". Here are some pictures courtesy of IanPJ...
The Guys, naturally, refused to remove their masks and so your humble Devil found it absolutely hilarious that the police should therefore keep asking them for "photo ID" ("your papers, please!").
After this brief interlude, we continued our little walk, back to the pub from whence we had started. Back there, we discovered that the fuzz had been in there shortly after the procession had set off, in order to ascertain our whereabouts, so any idea that the pounce had been purely coincidental or spur-of-the-moment was utterly dissipated.
You are being watched.
Besides, as Old Holborn points out, this little CCTV car followed us around all day and the Trafalgar Square webcam was shut off "for operational reasons". All round, I think that we got the best possible outcome: there was no demonstration other than what we wanted to prove—that one can not walk the streets of Britain is a costume without being searched by police—and no one was actually dragged off to clink.
So, let's get some more people next year, eh? I shall order my mask in good time...
Next, of course, we wandered off, with Guido, to listen to Iain's horrible little chipmonk waffle on about the corrosion of politics. My immediate reaction to the whole thing was why—when we have the fucking speech on a piece of paper in front of us—did Hazel Blears even bother to fucking well turn up? She just read the speech out from the same paper that we had: I consider this kind of behaviour to be, amongst other things, just fucking rude.
The only bit that she added to the speech was a story about how Blears met a high-up, black, female lawyer in the US had organised a community to raise money and support for a hospital in danger of being closed. Blears asked said lawyer if she had thought of getting involved in politics and was apparently rebuffed in disgust.
The interesting point of this story is, of course, that it shows not only that Blears' sort are held in contempt across the Atlantic as well as here in Britain but also that for very many things, people are quite capable of acting, voluntarily, in the interests of themselves and their community without politicians being required.
I did not, unfortunately, have the chance to put any of my points to Blears because Andy Williamson (Director of the eDemocracy Programme, apparently. Ha!), who was the Hansard Society monkey chairing the meeting, closed down debate as much as he possibly could. To be fair to the chipmunk, she seemed quite up for a bit of argument but neither we nor she were given the chance.
Although, to crown the afternoon off, Old Holborn managed to occupy the Chipmunk's chair for a few minutes. Mr Williamson was not impressed by this particular piece of democracy, of course...
However, one of the best critiques of the substance of Blears' speech comes from Alix at The People's Republic of Mortimer, in a post that wins the Bloody Devil #18 for its incisive and blistering commentary, as well as the copious gratuitous insults.
I should bloody know. So should Blears, but she’s far too deep into the matrix now to remember that it isn’t real. And I probably wouldn’t be so terrified if she wasn’t also controlling the feeding tubes.There are some informative and entertaining political blogs, including those written by elected councillors. But mostly, political blogs are written by people with a disdain for the political system and politicians…
Most? Disdain? Not only is it perfectly clear to anyone with the slightest acquaintance with political blogs that ninety per cent are thoughtful and constructive, but more than that, how can anyone be so utterly cretinous as to believe that bloggers make all this effort and put in all this time to political discussion out of disdain?
And she thinks we do this out of disdain for politics?…who see their function as unearthing scandals, conspiracies and perceived hypocrisy.
I BEG your fucking pardon? It is a BAD thing to unearth scandals, conspiracies and perceived hypocrisy is it?
This line alone, you see, makes me earnestly wish I’d spent less of the last year being elegant and witty about history and linguistics and more of it putting the fucking boot in to this awful, appalling government and the repellant automatonic freaks it harbours with no care for elegance whatsoever. Seriously, I used to think, rather as Hazel seems to, that trenchant blogging was just a bit silly, a bit too mutually-assured-destruction. Sometimes it takes hearing someone else’s back story to your shared opinion to make you realise you are holding very much the wrong opinion.Unless and until political blogging adds value to our political culture, by allowing new and disparate voices, ideas and legitimate protest and challenge, and until the mainstream media reports politics in a calmer, more responsible manner, it will continue to fuel a culture of cynicism and despair.
Add value? Just. Fuck. Off. That is all.
Well worth a read, I assure you...