One campaigner’s letter to the Argus
I strongly object to the motion of Conservative Councillors Tony Janio and Graham Cox condemning SmashEDO for their “plans to disrupt” the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations. The fact is that they have used the Jubilee as a pretext. They have used it to attack the campaign against EDO and take an opportunistic swipe at the local Green Party. Furthermore it is not insignificant that Councillor Janio, who proposed the motion, works for an arms company who partner EDO and Councillor Cox, who seconded the motion and according to a Conservative Party website, is ex-head of Sussex CID and the man who gave the Police Database to the UK. The connections between the Police, the Police Database and the protesters of SmashEDO have been fully explored in the national media.
So it is clear they both have more than a passing interest in SmashEDO.
What is not totally clear is why they themselves would want to increase the likelihood of disruption by making the planned protest for the Jubilee weekend about the Jubilee rather than just another one of many protests against a local arms company. By directly linking the protest with the Jubilee they have not only guaranteed that the protest will be much larger but that a significant number of people may consider the protest to be anti-Monarchy rather than anti-arms trade.
It is quite obvious that the State is planning to clamp-down on what it considers to be disruptive elements during this year’s Olympics and Jubilee celebrations. This action by Brighton Council is, in my view, a small indicator of things to come. That it is somehow unpatriotic to protest at certain times and places is an idea that will be pushed to its limit this summer. The freedom to protest within the law at a time and place of one’s choosing is a valuable part of a mature democracy and a part which must be maintained steadfastly. It is certainly not something that should be sacrificed for a few cheap political points.