Ah the cool December air, not freezing but certainly enough to make your breath visible. I was in London to attend the Environment march in December 2005. On arrival in the square where we were meeting were crowds of people, mainly young, activists from all over the country. I got myself a small placard to hold up during the march, while I was doing this I looked round at the people present. "Strident against Trident" came the cry from a SWP stand, now I am not the world's biggest SWP fan, still not now, far from it. Strident against Trident!" and I remember thinking I do hope this march doesn't into a general left-wing shopping trolley of demands, because we really need to get the environmental message out today, thankfully it didn't. However, another thought also struck me, something needs to be done about that as well, we do indeed need to be Strident against Trident!
Fast forward to January 2007 and there are people who doing just that, at Faslane, for a whole year from 1st October 2006 to the 30th September 2007. Strident against Trident! Well these representatives were, and they today got arrested. I must say, I was rather shocked and appalled that our elected representatives are arrested like common criminals. But then I thought actually, since when has office ever been any gurantee of being treated more fairly or justly. And indeed why should it, politicians should not be above the law.
However, I would argue here that this is somewhat different to Silvio Berlusconi's latest scam (with or without Patricia Hewitt's husband) Jacques Chirac's bentness or the cash for honours scandal here in Britain. Because ladies and gentlemen, these MEPs, MSPs, AMs, MPs, councillors and other associated representatives, had done little or nothing wrong. They were taking part in a peaceful democratic process. In some ways it is somewhat heart warming to know that the few elected lefties that are knocking about, are treated no different to the rest of us, that is to say, as an inconvenience to be got rid of with the least fuss possible.
Now I (were I not in Germany this year) would be taking more of an interest in this, and I would possibly go at some point (indeed if it is possible, I may go after I come back from Germany). And yes there is the risk that I would get arrested, but I because I really don't think re-arming is the answer here, I would be tempted to do something about it. Yes there are those who say that we need Trident for defence and so forth, but let's look at this look at this honestly.
How many countries have nuclear weapons? A handful is the answer. Now granted North Korea might have them, as might Iran. However, I would argue that it is not a deterrent to those countries that we can strike back, because, if they are as much part of the Axis of Evil as George Bush claims, then they wont care about the destruction brought upon their own populations and just do it anyway. This argument is even stronger when used against the claim that we need to defend ourselves against terrorists. Because, let's be honest, if terrorists get their hands on some, they wont be worried about retaliation. Other developed countries such as Canada, Italy Germany and Spain manage just fine without nuclear weapons, so why do we need them? The cold war is finished, it's weaponry should be finished as well.
We should also not be arresting protesters, whatever their status, because they are "disturbing the peace", well that's the key isn't it, they're being inconvenient, so they are shut up. And it is the age old argument, you can protest, as long as it doesn't disturb anybody else. Well I am afraid if we're going to get politicians to listen and not make immoral, and unethical decisions at any point, we're going to have to (in a non-violent and peaceful way), leave the comfort zone, as well as breach the peace and be inconvenient a little more often. _________________ Big Brother is watching YOU!
If anyone is thinking they would be interested in going but dont like the idea of a criminal record it is worth pointing out that no one has actually been charged with a criminal offence out of the 500 odd arrests!
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