Glad to see that Chris Huhne has made it quite clear in a news release that when the show comes to town in the form of the Olympics, the right to peaceful protest must be upheld:
The Olympics are a chance to put our values in the global showcase which is why the organisers should plan for and allow the right of peaceful protest, which is such an important part of our political tradition. It will not be on display at the Beijing Olympics.
Diversity and freedom of expression is what has always made our society strong, and we should not be afraid to show it.
And I suspect given the number of countries competing whose human rights record may not be quite what we would wish – there will be quite a number of protesters wishing to protest. A good thing too. As a country – we should be proud that peaceful protest is one of our guarantees of freedom of expression.
That’s something that won’t be the case in Beijing and it might not be the case here judging from the Labour Government’s desire to stop all forms of freedom of expression and protest – even when it is just reading out the names of the war dead!
Still – now Chris has thrown down the gauntlet on it – will Nick follow suit? There was a pattern last time round of Chris leading the way on issues – troops out of Iraq, the environment, etc – where he proposed a radical policy, others weren’t so keen – but in the end, it was Chris’s radical position that won the day.
That’s why I like about leadership contests – they push each candidate on and as a party we end up with a better set of policies as a result. Hurrah!
This time round hopefully the issue of the right to protest will become a key point for our party. And then we can also shame the Government into doing the right thing.