Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Sing songs of joy in Parliament Square

Will we be arrested for singing carols in a demonstration of hope, joy and religious tolerance? I hope not. I love singing carols, and we have sung them in this country for a thousand years. Even when an Act Of Parliament banned Christmas celebrations in 1644, still we sang. I like to think that we are a pragmatic and freedom-loving people in this country, with no time for frankly silly laws. Such laws, and those who press for them don't tend to last long.

Hummmmm.... see the BBC and cross your fingers for us (difficult in mittens).

Human Rights Act 1998
Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of association with others... No restrictions shall be placed on the exercise of these rights other than such as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

Over to Bloggerheads

''The 'decision on the day' would appear to hinge on the carol service being a danger to public safety or morality (and, no doubt, how many members of the media are present).
It's hard to see how this could be the case
if all we are doing is singing Christmas carols

And that is all we will be doing. There will be no placards, there will be no flyers.
There will only be carol sheets and candles.
We plan to arrive, pass out these carol sheets and candles (accepting any donations people care to give in exchange), sing our selection of Christian and secular verse, and then quietly depart after a short prayer.
The only thing that can turn this into something other than a peaceful affair will be heavy-handed actions by the police.
PS - Admittedly, we are open to a legal challenge over public safety if the turn-out is massive (i.e. if there are more people than Parliament Square can safely accommodate) but there is a contingency plan that covers this unlikely event. ''

So at 6pm I will be there, with my friends and with people I have not met yet, and I will sing my heart out. Sing about peace on earth, sing about grace and goodwill to all men and hope and joy. This has been one hell of a year, what else should I do at the ending of it but sing, standing shoulder to shoulder with other Londoners? As I did on July 14th in Trafalgar Square when thousands stood united against those e who sought to sow fear and division. Summer ended, winter came, and I am still here, I am still singing.

Just try and stop me.


Blogger Jane said...

Keep it up! Have a nice break!

December 21, 2005 10:49 am  
Blogger R said...

Not forgetting article nine:

"Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others."

I'd like to see them argue that Christmas Carols are a threat to public safety!

After Maya Evans was arrested, her (NL) MP claimed that the law was justified because:

"...with the current terrorist threat it would be easy to mask a terrorist atrocity under the guise of a legitimate demonstration..." -Michael Foster MP


How's that for a mad conspiracy theory?!

December 21, 2005 11:06 am  
Blogger Fiona said...

If I finish work in time I shall see you down there. Mittens and all.

December 21, 2005 11:18 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hope that it's an uplifting experience and that it's not the police who are doing the uplifting!

December 21, 2005 1:09 pm  
Blogger Zhoen said...

You must sing, or the sun won't come up.

Easy to cross fingers in mittens, silly. Hard in thick gloves....

December 21, 2005 8:17 pm  
Blogger Ally said...

With you in spirit, hope it's not too cold!

December 21, 2005 8:55 pm  

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