M.O.T your soul
Find your soul's path here
Or confirm your belief that you don't have one.
The political is the personal, more often than you'd think
We sang carols, and festive songs, ( and we sang them well, apart from a rubbish rendition of Little Drummer Boy with too many rum-pum-pums) and we said the Lord's Prayer, and held a minute's silence, and we sang 'Amazing Grace', which had me crying, as usual.
And my friends were there, and I made some new friends, and I was proud to be part of it. Well done Tim! ( And thanks to Guido and Talkpolitics , Devils Kitchen , Current Outlook Curious hamster and Craig Murray as well for the coverage)
And so the law was broken, but no arrests were made. This is important, in a small but significant way.
'Since the law came into force in August, several people have been arrested and other protesters have been warned off.
Human rights lawyer Michael Schwartz, who was among the singers, said the new law was vague - as demonstrated by the lack of police officers on Wednesday.
"Is it compatible with with human rights law which is supposed to protect freedom of expression and assembly, particularly around Parliament, which is supposed to be the mother of democracy?," he added.
A Metropolitan Police spokeswoman said: "We treated the event as a carol service and not as a demonstration so the legislation did not come into play."
But of course it was a demonstration. We came there to make a point, we knew we risked arrest.
1) Any person who-
(a) organises a demonstration in a public place in the designated area, or
(b) takes part in a demonstration in a public place in the designated area, or
(c) carries on a demonstration by himself in a public place in the designated area,
is guilty of an offence if, when the demonstration starts, authorisation for the demonstration has not been given under section 134(2).
A formal warning usually precedes any action, but the Police may arrest any person committing an offence under Section 132 of the Act and if found guilty that individual may be liable to a fine of up to £2500 and/or a term of imprisonment of up to 51 weeks
We were protesting against an unjust law; that was why we turned up. We pushed it, and 100 - 130 people assembled and demonstrated, and sang and nothing was done. Hooray. About time. A stupid law was defied, and well done to the police for treating it with soft hands. The law is an ass, so let's give it a sugar lump, and pat its flanks, and let it walk away. It's an embarrassment to enforce. What does that tell you, Mr Clarke? Mr Blair?
That this is the way that it ends, not with a bang, but with a whimper?
Independent newspaper report
Indymedia report ( and how to listen to us on Radio 4 for the next 24 hours)
Article in the Guardian from July 21st 2005. In the light of what I wrote in today's Sunday Times, it offers another view of the aftermath and the response. There is no doubt in my mind of the heroism of those who helped us on that day. They have little to fear from an independent enquiry. But there are still learnings to be looked at. The system is not flawless. And it is highly likely that this will happen again, perhaps with even more devastating effect.
'Perversely, one of the greatest dangers of a largely successful response
to a major incident may be the internal voice that says: "We did it." The worst happened, and the system coped, and this leads easily to two seductive conclusions: first, that the system is flawless, and second, that the law of averages will somehow spare it being tested again any time soon. Both, of course, are erroneous. "We had this terrible incident, and we did extremely well," says Dent. "I was very proud of the NHS in London. They stepped up to the challenge. But actually, the risk today is no different than it was that Thursday. We've got to keep rehearsing."
Julie Dent, the head of the south-west London strategic health authority inGuardian feature
By quarsan at Sat, 17/12/2005 - 06:32 - on Blairwatch
The official reason is that holding an inquiry would 'distract' from fighting terrorism, thus making those advocating an examination to be aiding and abetting terrorists.
Or is there another reason? Could it be that it's to save face?
Two of the four suicide bombers who killed 52 people in the July 7 attacks were scrutinised by MI5 last year but were not considered to be a threat - source
Providing a timeline will not answer serious questions about the bombings, the Independent helpfully list some of them:
Why was the terror alert downgraded before the beginning of July?
Was Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police commissioner, guilty of complacency by insisting before the explosions that the capital's security was "the envy of the policing world"?
Why did the security services lose track of Mohammad Sidique Khan?
Was a vital piece of intelligence about Khan, who is believed to have made contact with terrorists overseas, overlooked?
Was there a fifth bomber? More explosives were found inside a rucksack in the car left by the bombers at Luton station, suggesting a fifth man could have been involved.
Have police resolved this question? And if there is a fifth man, is he still at large?
Were the July 7 bombers linked to the alleged July 21 attackers?
Could a third cell still be at large?
If there was a connection, does it mean there is a wider loose network of terrorists lying low plotting their next outrage?
Who was ultimately behind the attacks?
What do the security services know about him and how firm do they believe were the contacts between the bombers and senior figures in the al-Qa'ida network?
Were mistakes made in the handling of the disaster?
Why were the explosions on the Tube put down to electrical failures minutes after the real explanation should have been apparent?
Given that the final blast took place on a double-decker bus in Tavistock Square, was it a mistake to keep buses running after the Tube blasts?
Were the attacks motivated by the Iraq war? This is the question ministers are desperate to avoid. They deny any link can be made, but Muslim leaders insist it cannot be dismissed as a factor. Khan claimed in a video message that the attacks were in response to "atrocities" committed by the West against Muslims.
'SPYMASTERS warned Tony Blair before the July 7 suicide bombings that
Al-Qaeda was planning a “high priority” attack specifically aimed at the London
Tube. A leaked four-page report by the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), which oversees all spying, is the first definitive evidence that the intelligence services expected terrorists to strike at the Underground. The disclosure will fuel critics’ suspicions that Blair decided to rule out a public inquiry into the bombings last week because it could expose intelligence failings at the highest level'
'When I watched the Al-Qaeda video declaring Jihad against the UK I was
haunted by the familiarity of the voice, it was my voice, my accent, my dialect.
This is not a man who was recruited and trained in some far off country that I
have barely heard of, this was a man who was recruited and trained while he
lived 20 minutes from my mother's home where I was born and raised.The words he spoke of are words similar to what I have heard many times from disillusioned
young men that I studied for my A Levels with. They are the words of hatred I
overheard when I worked as a support worker at my local college. They were words of students who were educated...'
Yorkshire lass continues, demanding answers to homegrown horror:
'...when someone follows through with the actions of those opinions to the detriment of others, questions need to be asked why preventions were not put in place and this needs to be done by public inquiry for peace of mind.I have been told that I am looking for justice in the wrong place and in some way that is right. However, I want some sort of justice, some manner of peace of mind, some questions answered and resolutions made. I don't want others to have to go through what myself and hundreds of other commuters did on that Summer's day.'
She too calls for understanding, for our leaders to listen.
'I want understanding.I understand it will cost money and take time. I understand that this may not be my answer, that there might not be an answer, but are we not owed that much? The recent history of public inquiries is not a glossy one, can the Government not take this opportunity to do at least one thing properly in this whole messy situation?I have already lost faith in the politicians of this country and voter apathy makes me believe that I am not on my own on this. What sort of leader does not listen to the people he is meant to lead? You cannot put a price on the loss of 52 human lives, you cannot put a price on human suffering. You can listen and try create some understanding. It may not be the right answer, it may not even be an answer but we just want to be heard.'
Ask for a public inquiry into July 7th - click the link above
You are cordially invited to a public carol service in Parliament Square at 6pm on Wednesday the 21st of December 2005.
This inclusive service will contain both Christian and secular verse, and is expected to last no more than an hour.
Candles and song sheets will be made available, with donations going to Medical Aid for Iraqi Children.
Programme:(Introduction and welcome)
Come All Ye Faithful, Away in a Manger, Little Drummer Boy, The Twelve Days of Christmas, Deck the Halls, Good King Wenceslas, The First Noel, Joy to the World,We Wish You a Merry Christmas, Jingle Bells, Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town
(Message of thanks followed by a one-minute silence)
Amazing Grace, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Hark! the Herald Angels Sing, Silent Night
(The Lord's Prayer; led by Brian Haw)
Legal Implications: Please note that if you attend this carol service, it will classify as a spontaneous demonstration (of faith, hope, joy and/or religious tolerance) and there is a possibility that you will be cautioned or arrested under Section 132 of the Serious and Organised Crimes and Police Act 2005 (more).
Directions:Parliament Square is located directly opposite the Houses of Parliament (map). The nearest tube station is Westminster (on the Jubilee Line).
Accommodations:We humbly request that those who attend do not bring placards, banners or circulars to this event.
Downloads:A downloadable version of the song sheet is now available: Right-click and 'Save As' (303Kb Word document)
Section 132 Serious and Organised Crimes and Police Act 2005:This draconian law was designed to evict Brian Haw and stifle dissent at the heart of our democracy. On that first count, it failed, but on the second.... well, you're probably already aware that Maya Anne Evans was arrested and convicted under this law, merely for reading out names of soldiers killed in Iraq at London's Cenotaph.
Section 132 - Demonstrations in vicinity of Parliament: Demonstrating without authorisation in designated area:(1) Any person who-(a) organises a demonstration in a public place in the designated area, or(b) takes part in a demonstration in a public place in the designated area, or(c) carries on a demonstration by himself in a public place in the designated area,is guilty of an offence if, when the demonstration starts, authorisation for the demonstration has not been given under section 134(2).
A formal warning usually precedes any action, but the Police may arrest any person committing an offence under Section 132 of the Act and if found guilty that individual may be liable to a fine of up to £2500 and/or a term of imprisonment of up to 51 weeks.
In this instance, the police have not been notified. They've been invited, certainly, but they have not been notified. We believe that the public has the right to gather in a public place and sing Christmas carols. The police may see things differently; we shall see. (Technically, under the act, while this may be a spontaneous demonstration of faith, hope, joy and/or religious tolerance, it still classifies as a demonstration.)
Communication:If you require any further details, or wish to help out with music, candles and/or song-sheets, please contact Tim Ireland via the following email address:manic AT bloggerheads DOT com
Organisations:This is an initiative led by Bloggerheads.com, and it has been endorsed by the following individuals, groups and bodies (please get in touch if you wish to add your name/group to this list):
Brian Haw Supporters of Brian Haw
Maya Evans Justice Not Vengeance.org
Now more than ever, eh?
See you there.