Now Protest Is a Moral Duty 125

The torrential rain was shed from the policeman’s flat hat via its curved plastic peak, forming a curtain of water that flowed down in front of him, obscuring his face.

His name was Martin. A female colleague stood in solidarity beside him. Two other female policemen were filming with a large video camera from three metres away. Thirty yards down the road were large groups of burly policemen in fluorescent jackets, and beyond them the Tactical Support Group sat behind the dark windows of their mesh covered minibuses, fingering their shields and batons.

Facing Martin were the protestors. There were six of us, average age about 70. We were all absolutely sodden through, but still clutched umbrellas and tried to find angles from which to reduce the wind driven assault of cold water. As the rain was extremely noisy, and probably we don’t hear quite as well as we used to, we kept shuffling towards Martin and leaning forward to try to catch his words, before they were blown away or drowned.

Martin was reading the riot act. Or, to be precise, he was reading an order made under the Public Order Act 1986. With no sense that he understood the absurdity of his words, he intoned:

“I reasonably believe that this assembly has been organised with criminal intent. I reasonably believe that this assembly may result in violence to persons and to property. I reasonably believe that this assembly may cause disruption to the life of the community”.

Some of my top teeth are no longer natural and I get dizzy after climbing a flight of stairs or getting out the bath. I was cold and wet and longing for a nice hot cup of tea. I felt perhaps proud, but rather puzzled, to be taken for a serious criminal danger to the city of Leicester.

Behind Martin stood the paramilitary security guards of the Israeli weapons factory. They did not look really nice. I wondered if Martin was facing in the right direction.

I sneaked this photo of one of them from the taxi as I was leaving. Not entirely what you expect to find down a wooded lane outside Leicester.

Overhead a red police drone buzzed. What it could see, that the scores of police eyes on us could not see, remains a mystery. It was possibly on the lookout for subversive messages on the top of umbrellas.

I found the police operator round the corner who, to be fair, was probably sheltering from the downpour under a tree rather than deliberately hiding behind the hedge.

The factory makes, among other things, components for the kind of drones that kill women and children in Gaza on a regular basis.

I would like you to meet Liane. One of the Palestinian children killed this week in Gaza by weaponry of the Elbit weapons company we were picketing. Whether her death involved any components made in this precise Leicester Elbit factory I do not know. It is probable.

Look into Liane’s eyes, then tell me you do not wish you had been with me, standing in the rain.

When Martin had finished speaking I replied, rather to his, and everybody else’s, surprise. He had started moving away but returned to listen.

I said that I was not an organiser of the protest, just a supporter. But the Order he had read out did not apply. We were just six people – that is not enough people to constitute an “assembly” under Part 2 of the 1986 Public Order Act.

I then went to the police camera team and said the same thing to them. As they were filming for evidence purposes to show the Order had been made, I asked them to maintain the tape for evidence that the police had been told we were not an assembly in terms of the act.

They were really not very happy about this. You could see the cogs whirring as they wondered whether they could arrest me. I presume all these police had arrived after an operational briefing that they were dealing with violent Middle Eastern terrorists, and they were having a brief bout of cognitive dissonance.

There are of course people who resolve cognitive dissonance by an immediate resort to violence, and rather a higher proportion of such people than you might expect, find their way into the police force, so I then wandered off with some friendly remarks about the weather.

I reported yesterday on the incredibly heavy handed policing of this protest. The Chief Constable of Leicestershire, Robert Nixon, has instructed the protest must be “stamped out”, according to one police officer I spoke with.

About sixty protestors have been arrested, and some 50 released on bail on condition they leave the county of Leicestershire completely.

Some have even been arrested hundreds of miles away, for the new crime of planning to attend a demonstration.

Earlier that day I had witnessed the police harass a mother in hijab. Two male officers, not accompanied by a female officer, arriving to quiz her on why three children present at the protest were not at school.

Truancy is not in general a police matter, and if an intervention was deemed necessary it should have been carried out by a qualified local authority officer. The cultural insensitivity on display was remarkable, and it underlined the fact that every single police officer I saw over two days was white.

This picture, from a few days earlier at the same protest, illustrates it well. Leicester is a very multi-cultural city, but these are the county police.

Each time I arrived at the protest, I went walking around to count the number of police and see what they were doing. Generally I chatted with whoever was in charge, and made plain I thought they were far more heavy handed than was compatible with the right to protest.

I received a message from Palestine Action to the effect that friendly chats with the police are not really how they roll. I respect their position and its cause, but my own view is that if you treat the police officers personally as the enemy, it makes it hard to complain when they do the same to you.

On this final visit I noted, in addition to the ordinary and tactical support group minibuses; the drone squad, at least four marked police cars, the same number of unmarked cars with uniformed officers inside, and five cars parked up with occupants in civilian clothes sitting there for hours ostensibly doing nothing at all.

I called an Uber to leave. I then said my farewells, and my phone beeped saying the Uber had arrived, indicating the pick up point. I walked to the car and opened the back door – and there behind the dark windows were some burly policemen in plain clothes and a directional microphone.

The bearded driver was furious. He yelled at me “Why did you open that door?”

I replied “Well, if you will go around in disguise, people will mistake you for an Uber”.

The car doors were pulled shut again in anger and the car drove off. Three different groups of policemen approached, all yelling out “Why did you open that door?” “What were you doing with that car?”

Laughing, I replied “I am sorry, I thought it was my Uber”. Fortunately that very second my Uber pulled up next to me. I got in and left, giggling away.

The action at Elbit is continuous. I shall definitely be back at some stage. Please do get yourselves there. I regard it as a moral duty. We were just a few gentle souls in the rain, but I am proud to have been there.


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125 thoughts on “Now Protest Is a Moral Duty

1 2
  • pete

    It is excellent that Craig manages to restrain his rage in the face of an absurd level police defending the Elbit factory. You would think that people working there would not want to be associated with the manufacture of equipment that helps kill people, but I assume the workers there have managed to do the moral juggling in their imaginations to find themselves blameless. On the Elbit site it says that their mission is: “to deliver solutions that provide a decisive advantage and freedom of action to all our customers.” It is unclear to me if that means they wish to behave in a morally defensible way.
    It is sad that reporting of the continuing occupation of Palestine is left to reporters from Al Jazeera and is largely neglected by Main Stream Media. This can only be understood as tacit approval of the actions of the Israeli government and their security agencies, such as Unit 8200, in their efforts to immiserate and ultimately remove the Palestinian people from Palestine.

  • AG

    one reason I don´t attend protests any more, is my anger. I might freak out.
    20 years ago consequences were not as severe as they´d be today. The knowledge alone of what these people are doing enrages me.

    Just thinking of what German Secret Service and Armed Forces were doing over and over again, sending Tornado fighters (!) into the air to surveil protesters on their way to the fancy Castle of Elmau where the G7 liked to meet or the hotel Heiligendamm 2007 (which afterwards went bankrupt ha-ha) and so on.

    Back then MSM´s collusion began. But there was still some resistance.
    No more.

    2 years ago a couple of German kids went to France for a protest. They were picked up by French special forces on their travel route and disappeared for several days without a shred of info for the parents who of course were terrified.

    Or in the city of Hamburg; school kids were charged to be terrorists simply for protesting.
    I could go on (like everyone else here could, naturally.)

    So, well, I understand the tactics of being friendly to cops and I would try very hard to follow CMs example when there myself.

    But then: do these people have minds of their own? A conscience?

    Yep they do.

    So eventually I must accept the sad fact: fucking morons. Nobody forced them to become cops in the first place.

    (It is a popular rumour that German police school prefers applicants who it considers not too smart….)

    • Annie McStravick

      The German authorities are escalating their attack on all Palestinians, Arabs and supporters of the Palestinian cause in Germany. You perhaps know that the Berlin police have banned this year’s demonstration to mark the 75th anniversary of the Nakba, scheduled for Sunday, 14 May 2023. This repression is taking place as Israeli fighter jets bomb the besieged Gaza Strip. The rogue state has killed in cold blood 147 Palestinians since 1 January.

      • Carl

        The old instincts resurfacing. The more Germany is humiliated by Biden the more Palestinians and other untermensch will be made to suffer for it.

      • AG

        Mistreatment of Palestinians and their supporters by German authorities is a domestic scandal of the highest order.

        Do you see any historians, any “intellectuals”, public figures, academic bodies and so forth who would demand an immediate stop of this criminal agenda of the FRG?

        They either are cowards and mute sheep or, even more likely, are calling them antisemites – btw this coming from people who demand scholarly authority on this issue if it concerns defending Israel or pointing out right-wing terrorism in Germany.

        I see almost no reporting of what the IDF is doing to the Palestinians day in day out.
        German public simply – does.not.know.

        Because NOONE is telling them the truth. The fate of Palestine is inexistent.

        The utter moral depravity of these people who often have tenure, who teach young people, who publish studies and who write and speak to the public – how dare they voice their corrupt and racist lies and smears.

        Well, I am at a loss of words at some point, especially when at the very same time I compare the hysteria and proto-Fascist slogans of solidarity to Ukraine groups whose views on German soil under German law would normally be subject to serious criminal investigations.

        (Former ambassador Melnyk? What an asshole. And not a single person ever told him so in public in complete honesty. But he is just the tip of the mountain of insanity.)

        I have serious difficulty to wrap my mind around this reigning moral degeneration.

        Hail of right-wing Ukraine militias by highest government representatives, in the same city at the same time, as the same police that is protecting those government officials from possible attacks by puff-cakes, is suppressing Palestinian protests.

        After all, many of these despicable individuals (professors, leading journalists, politicians) earn hundreds of thousands of euros per annum.

        Whereas many protesters who do what CM does, often lack the basic means to counter the legal apparatus that is being operated against them with all its might and vengeance.

        In fact the cost to fight for social change or at least to adhere to legal standards is being externalized and left to the single individual, whereas the proponents & propagandists of their own careers are subsidized and paid kingly sums to disintegrate civil society by its own government.

        • useless eater

          AG, a trenchant and cutting analysis – if you keep this up, I would imagine you will be under arrest shortly.

          This will make you a genuine dissident – you know like what the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics had in it’s heyday. Don’t expect help from NGO’s or any other of the “beacons of liberty” operating in the “free speech” racket currently – those days are long gone.

          “We stand at the dawn of a new millennium.”
          Jay Billington Bulworth

  • Jack

    Absurd that palestinians do not kick out the americans, european embassies etc and cut relations once and for all! They are to be blamed for the decade after decade assault on the palestinians! Shame on the arab states sitting there doing nothing while palestinians once again get shredded!
    Al jazeera report on Continued attacks on Gaza by Israel, no truce planned

  • David Warriston

    ”(It is a popular rumour that German police school prefers applicants who it considers not too smart….)”

    I doubt that is confined to Germany, although I am not convinced intelligence is the key issue. I can recommend the ongoing Sheku Bayoh Inquiry on youtube (the Sierra Leone man who died being arrested in Kirkcaldy a few years ago) for anyone who wishes to consider the quality of Police Scotland. The website is very thorough, easy to navigate and throws considerable light on the actual people attracted to serve as police officers, especially during live questioning by the main KC.

    I came across two of the main police witnesses about 25 years ago when they were teenagers intending to become police cadets. They were above average academically, having collected a couple of Scottish Higher passes at least and were considered by myself and others to be of good character. In terms of their evidence to the inquiry they stand out as being of higher calibre than their more experienced colleagues – the actual officers making the fatal arrest. But a 17 year old is obviously vulnerable to the prevailing police culture, one which encourages a binary mindset of ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys.’ I have heard these very terms used in my company by a Chief Superintendent.

    The issues of race and gender bias will no doubt receive attention by Police Scotland as a result of the inquiry, however the binary mindset will remain. A ‘bad guy’ is not simply a person who breaks the law but anyone like Craig Murray who challenges it or, heaven forefend, organises opposition to it. Terms such as ‘stirrers’ and ‘agitators’ are used by police to dismiss such people. Officers are paid a decent salary for what is technically a semi-skilled job and have the option to retire at the age of 50 with an occupational pension, so there is little reason to question the status quo in their minds.

    • Bayard

      A friend of my brother’s who was reasonably intelligent and well-educated, finding himself out of a job in Somerset, decided to join the Met as a constable. After he had left he said “I didn’t think I was particularly bright, but, compared to the average Met plod, I was the Brain of Britain”.

  • mark golding

    Conflating the asymmetry of apartheid South Africa, Israel and nuclear synergism I recall a Royal Navy visit to Capetown & Simonstown where ‘going ashore’ meant NOT using public toilets, NOT being on the same side of the street with black skinned locals and NEVER talking to same locals. Interestingly South Africa was harmonious and cooperated with Israel to test her atomic bomb although unlike apartheid that remains a closely guarded secret.

    • Stevie Boy

      Another little known factoid is that apartheid South Africa provided essential southern hemisphere communications support to the USAs manned moon missions.

  • Rick

    It is truly extraordinary to witness the ease with which British police forces transitions into a fascist security contingent replete with para military forces. I suppose we should not be shocked in recalling how the British ruling class and its Security State have never stopped applauding its counter insurgency campaigns in colonial conflicts such as Kenya, Malaysia, Aden, Cyprus and even Northern Ireland. Similarities abound with the practice of colonial police forces in oppressing and subjugating inferior native populations particularly in the most exploited and profitable ex colonies like India. The fascist practices of the Brits colonial administrations never failed to impress the European fascists in their earliest manifestations before WW2.

  • Carl

    These are the situations in which British police excel — vastly outnumbering OAP protesters and able to harrass and bully to their heart’s content. They know from experience they rarely fare well when numbers are nearer equal. That’s why they turn up at least a dozen handed to arrest one individual. Same applies to the British Army who notoriously never won a battle in WW2 when the enemy had near parity in numbers. Even giving them overwhelming firepower makes them no more formidable – as we saw against the sandal men in Helmand and Basra where they had to be bailed out by the Yanks. Luckily the coronation parade and an apartheid bomb factory in the east Midlands have provided settings where the boys can thrive and we can be proud of them again.

  • intp1

    Off-Topic I know but the suppression of dissent in this country turns my stomach, so that I just avoid it in these forums; the last time I commented (on the similar but related subject of the capture of regulation and so called inquiry) was in The Duran – See below.

    Question: “When ministers and spokesmen announce that Russia is performing blackmail with respect to energy or food or fertilizer, what does anybody think is their thinking? I can’t get how the topic is even analogous to blackmail.”
    Genuinely trying to see this POV.
    For reference blackmail is defined as: The extortion of money or favours by threats of public accusation, exposure, or censure

    VUK Inquiry into the Response to the Pandemic will “cut bureaucracy and speed up the process” if only one Government appointed, life peer is in sole charge.

    Note that Baroness Hallett was the loyal coroner for the 7/7 Bombing deaths.

    • Bayard

      “Note that Baroness Hallett was the loyal coroner for the 7/7 Bombing deaths.”

      Come on, you know it’s going to be a whitewash before it even starts.

  • Brian c

    Intolerance of dissent (from the left) will get even worse after the next election. Note Starmer’s appeals to “stability, order and security.” Liberal media is priming its readers and viewers to accept Starmer KC’s even more reactionary authoritarianism as expertly-informed commonsense. Do not forget the root of fascism came from within bourgeois liberalism.

    • Bayard

      Britain as a state has never had a problem with fascism. The British government supported Franco in the Spanish civil war. Fascism’s biggest problem is that its adherents ended up on the wrong side in WWII. We needed someone to fight at the end of the 30s. What more obvious enemy than the country we had fought twenty years before? It was just a shame that they were fascists and that their communist allies had to switch sides before we could fight them as well.

      • bevin

        “…It was just a shame that they were fascists and that their communist allies had to switch sides before we could fight them as well…”
        This really is an atrocious libel.

        • Bayard

          The British government supported the fascists in Spain, who were, let’s not forget, busy overthrowing a democratically elected government. Together with Germany, they supported fascists in Finland against communists in Russia. What makes you think we fought Germany because they were fascists?

          • useless eater

            Bayard, Calling Operation Barborossa “..switching sides..” seems disingenuous, at best; considering that Germany invaded the USSR not the other way about. If you find this an inconvenient fact, you can join the fantasists and fortune-tellers, who claim that if Germany had not invaded the USSR, the USSR would have invaded Germany.

            The past is difficult to discuss for various reasons, I guess you may have some idea of these. To add counter-factuals to this discussion simply makes the subject matter more difficult, if not impossible to understand. This “counter-factualism” is properly the subject of fiction not history.

            The Russo-German War is my one area of expertise, I have spent most of life studying this conflict. In all of this time I have never once considered counter-factuals – hard data only. I have sought understanding, not the production of propaganda.

          • Bayard

            “Bayard, Calling Operation Barborossa “..switching sides..” seems disingenuous, at best;”

            What else would you call it? Germany and the Soviet Union were allies, then the Germans attacked the Soviet Union, so they were enemies and thus allies with Britain. They were on Germany’s side then they were on Britain’s side, so they switched sides. All of that is recorded fact, not propaganda. I wasn’t suggesting they did it on some sort of whim, that’s why I wrote “…had to switch sides…”, i.e. were forced to by Operation Barbarossa. I think it would have been very unlikely that the Soviet Union would have allied itself with a country that had been supporting the Finns in fighting against them right up to the point where they fell out with the Finns’ other main supporter, Germany. Quite possibly they allied themselves with Germany on the principle that my enemy’s enemy is my friend, i.e. given the choice of Germany or Britain to support in the early part of WWII, they chose Germany. Says a lot for Anglo-Russian relations.
            Also you appear to have missed the irony in my last sentence.

  • Chris Leeds

    I’d just like to remark that each person who engages in designing, making, selling, dealing, transporting and using these weapons is a terrible person, they are sociopaths devoid of empathy, guilty of moral and ethical failure. The “we need jobs” excuse is disgusting garbage – the fact that you have your own children’s mouths to feed does not justify taking part, however obliquely, in the murder of other people’s children.

  • John Main

    That’s a heart-rending photo to be sure.

    Should it be used though? I haven’t seen any pics of the Israeli kids killed by suicide bombers, or of any of the kids killed and maimed at the Ariadne Grande concert.

    I don’t want to either, as I think this may be a poor way to judge whether or not a cause is just.

    Meantime, as nobody else is pointing this out, looks like I must. It’s not the Israelis who have caused me, and everybody else, to risk being blown up every time we board a plane for an innocent holiday abroad. Being regularly reminded of that, as I shuffle forwards with my drooping trousers, having my possessions scanned for explosive potential, tempers my sympathy for the Palestinian cause. The extremist supporters of that cause would blow all of us to bits without hesitation if they thought they could.

    That needs to be said, just in the interest of balance.

    • Reza

      You haven’t seen her picture anywhere else. In the rare event of an Israeli kid being killed their picture is printed and broadcast everywhere. The atrocity in Manchester had nothing to do with Palestinians, except in the mind of a very distinct type of person.

    • Stevie Boy

      The (pointless) security chaos at airports stems mainly from the twin towers episode which was carried out by Saudi extremists supported by the CIA. Nothing to do with Palestine.
      The kids killed and maimed at the Ariadne Grande concert was down to a Libyan extremist who was supported, trained and protected by MI6. Nothing to do with Palestine.
      Virtually all terrorism can be traced back to the west, predominantly the USA and UK. If you really want a safe world you would need to pressure the western governments to mind their own business and stop supporting extremist groups.
      That needs to be said, just in the interest of balance.

    • glenn_nl

      JM: “That needs to be said, just in the interest of balance.”

      Very true, if you think a bunch of lies and false equivocation properly ‘balances’ true and accurate reporting.

      The fact is that Palestinians do not have anything to do with our recent airport security theatre – only someone profoundly ignorant, or thoroughly dishonest, would suggest otherwise.

      For your particular ‘balance’, consider the number of civilians slaughtered – and land stolen – in Palestine, for which you care nothing (even trying to blame the victims), against all the pearl-clutching and flag-waving for far fewer casualties in Ukraine during the same period. For which you are absolutely outraged, of course.

  • Goodwin

    So there were 6 of you demonstrating. Leicester had a Moslim population of over 86,000 in 2021. Sadly, it speaks volumes that they can’t be bothered to turn out.

    • zoot

      Craig reported police were targeting non-white BAME protesters for arrest. people hear about that and it has the intended chilling effect. i have no doubt you would assure “Moslim” would-be protesters that our police are not racist. however i’m not sure many would take your assurance as either well-informed or intended in friendly good faith.

  • General Cologne


    Protest is too little, too late, on this or any other issue.
    May I suggest that what is called for is a propaganda of the deed campaign in the style of the great Luigi Galleani and his fellow Galleanistyi, including Nestor “I fixed some soup for you” Dondoglio
    Enough with pussyfooting, and useless pretend action, like virtue-signalling protests you seem to be suggesting!

    • useless eater

      “Enough with pussyfooting, and useless pretend action..”

      General Cologne, where I come from, the above statement is fighting talk. Which, I suppose, is appropriate, considering you are a general.

      “Ah the generals, they are numerous; but not good for much.”
      The Birds, Aristophanes

  • Yuri K

    Isn’t it ironic, how few Europeans actually stand for European values? Which are, according to Google, “human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, rule of law, and human rights. These fundamental values are defined in the Treaty of Lisbon.”

    • Courtenay Francis Raymond Barnett

      Yuri K,

      ” “human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, rule of law, and human rights. These fundamental values are defined in the Treaty of Lisbon.”

      Really – take Britain as an example.

      1600s – the establishment of The Royal Africa Company between Elizabeth 1 and John Hawkins.

      !600s to 1838 emancipation – some 12 British Monarchs kept the slave trade alive and flourishing.

      Elizabeth 11 – by the time we get to her we are in the Mau Mau rebellion against British barbarity.

      And on and on…

      What European humanity?

      • Stevie Boy

        Can you really extrapolate what ‘Britain’ may or may not have done to the whole of Europe ? You may be right but your logic is just wrong.

        • usless eater

          Stevie Boy, they were all at it – France, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, Italy Germany etc etc.

          An endless supply of second class disposable human beings.

          What European humanity?

      • useless eater

        “Almost literally at gunpoint, Haiti caved to France’s demands in order to secure its independence. The amount was too much for the young nation to pay outright, and so it had to take out loans with hefty interest rates from a French bank. Over the next century, Haiti paid French slaveholders and their descendants the equivalent of between $20 and $30 billion in today’s dollars. It took Haiti 122 years to pay it off. Professor Marlene Daut writes it “severely damaged the newly independent country’s ability to prosper.”
        www npr org

        Slave-holding, nice work if you can get it. No risks, just rewards.

        I remember one ship’s captain wrote a treatise called something like “Thoughts upon the African Slave Trade” in which there were discussions about human body fat wastage under various conditions of “hard tack (crap food) and hard labour”, eerily reminscent of SS General Hans Kammler deliberations with the IG Farben and MittelBau-Dora representatives, two hundred years or so later.

        What European humanity?

    • Johnny Conspiranoid

      Yuri K
      The problem is that western governments are the enemies of Western Values, if by ‘Western Values’ we mean the values of the enlightenment which drove the French Revolution and the period following it. That period ended with an uneasy truce between the masses and the aristocracy managed through a phoney democracy, which is the western status quo today.

    • Tom Welsh

      “[H]uman dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, rule of law, and human rights”.

      Human dignity: basically giving other people the respect they deserve. This is purely subjective, and runs into the difficulty that the Masters of the Universe don’t think that other people deserve any respect. They want it all for themselves.

      Freedom: a meaningless word in any political context. An animal may be set free from a cage, or a prisoner from jail. A mechanism may have certain degrees of freedom; and certain molecules are “free radicals”. All human beings have always had some freedom, but none can ever be completely free. The number of laws and regulations in any civilised country is astonishing – and that’s before you start counting customs and moral principles. It’s instructive to try to make a list of all the things one is NOT free to do. You will give up soon, perhaps after the first hour, day, or week – but you will learn something about “freedom”.

      Democracy: one of the few words used in politics that may be even more meaningless than “freedom”. Literally “the rule of the people” or “power of the people”. How’s that again? Look around at who has power over others, and ask yourself if it’s “the people”.

      Equality: now that really is funny. In exactly what ways does the British state treat its citizens (or subjects) as “equal”? Even access to the justice system is grossly unequal, and the way it treats you if you can raise enough money to get its attention for a moment is even more unequal.

      Rule of law: Perhaps Tacitus, with his Roman concision, summed this up best. “Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges”. (“As a state gets most corrupt, its laws multiply”). For example, as of 2017 “A total of 52,741 laws have been introduced in the UK as a result of EU legislation since 1990, according to the Legal business of Thomson Reuters”. In the UK and the USA the vast proliferation of laws and regulations allows the real rulers to cherry-pick those with which to lambast their designated enemies, while ignoring those that don’t suit them.

      Human rights: The most meaningless of all. A “right” is an entitlement enjoyed by a person, which has real existence only if some other people are willing to supply it. What right has a person to water who is dying of thirst in the desert? Jeremy Bentham’s contemptuous words should have put an end to this particular charade:

      “That which has no existence cannot be destroyed — that which cannot be destroyed cannot require anything to preserve it from destruction. Natural rights is simple nonsense: natural and imprescriptible rights, rhetorical nonsense — nonsense upon stilts. But this rhetorical nonsense ends in the old strain of mischievous nonsense for immediately a list of these pretended natural rights is given, and those are so expressed as to present to view legal rights. And of these rights, whatever they are, there is not, it seems, any one of which any government can, upon any occasion whatever, abrogate the smallest particle”.
      – Jeremy Bentham (“Anarchical Fallacies”, 1843)

      In closing I’d like to offer two passages which put the whole business of “values” and “human rights” in context. Tell me with a straight face, if you can, if they are not wholly and thoroughly applicable to the UK today.

      “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not money, I am become as a sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not money, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not money, it profiteth me nothing… And now abideth faith, hope, money, these three; but the greatest of these is money”.
      – opening lines, I Corinthians xiii (adapted) – George Orwell, “Keep the Aspidistra Flying”

      “In a well-governed country, those who discuss policy must be in accordance with the law; those who carry out official matters must be regulated. Superiors evaluate actual performance; officials carry out their work efficiently. Words are not permitted to exceed reality. Actions are not permitted to overstep the law.

      “In a disordered country, those who are praised by the multitudes are richly rewarded though devoid of accomplishments. Those who stick to their duties are punished, though free of guilt. The ruler is in the dark and does not understand. Worthies do not offer proposals. Officials form factions; persuasive talkers roam about; people embellish their actions. Those who are taken to be wise devote themselves to artifice and deceit; high officials usurp authority. Cliques and factions become widespread. The ruler is eager to carry out projects that are of no use, while the people look haggard and worn”.
      – Huainanzi, 221 BC

      • useless eater

        Mr Welsh that is quite a journey you just took me on, hither and yon. I like to travel – more please.

        “The number of laws and regulations in any civilised country is astonishing..”

        There is one “..civilised country..” where absolute freedom reigns but each must find their own way there – there are no maps of a place that has not yet been discovered – if one doesn’t search, one will not find.

  • General Cologne

    I get dizzy after climbing a flight of stairs or getting out the bath

    A daily aspirin seems to be in order, before bed

  • ronan1882

    If this plant is the world’s largest supplier of weapons to an apartheid state, why are UK politicians and media still representing their values as the exemplar for the rest of the world? What is it about modern Britain the rest of the world is meant to be applauding and emulating? This article suggests that even mild dissent to the most indefensible actions is deemed intolerable. In economic terms the UK remains a global leader only in money laundering. Its so called democracy entails a house of lords(?) and choosing between two main parties committed to handing over the NHS to oligarchs. Even the Premier League is bought by oil and slave kingdoms. Is it then all about the continuity and stability of their royal family, which they seem to hail above all else? But what country in the modern world has even considered emulating that? And how can Brits themselves maintain subservience when they see their royals continually knighting war criminals and paedophiles? Is this really a culture and society that is going to win hearts and minds in the 21st century propaganda war against China?

  • Isabelle

    Regarding the children not at school, schooling is not and has never been compulsory under British law. Thousands of children are homeschooled. For further information see the “Education Otherwise” website.
    Truancy can be a police matter. The police can issue fixed penalty notices to parents of truanting children and police in the UK run truancy patrols, stopping children of school age. Parents have been fined and imprisoned for up to 3 months for not ensuring that their children, having been registered at a school, do not attend that school.
    Any child registered at a school can be unregistered at any time and home educated.

    As far as Israeli government behaviour goes, it’s appalling. Surely the system will collapse, as Apartheid did in South Africa? Eventually? Can the persecution of the Palestinian people go on and on?

  • Roy Hives

    Damn! I don’t know what “Allowed HTML” means.
    What I do know is that when protest shows signs of being effective, it will be shut down. The establishment make the laws.
    Big fines, jail, then murder – whatever it takes to stay in control.
    Seems to me the establishment sees no prospect of being able to maintain control via the media and the ‘democracy’ myth when climate has more widespread effects. They’ll turn to technology. The internet, war, pandemics, surveillance and super-thugs armed with the latest weaponry.
    Once they have their AI and mechanical slaves, we will be surplus to requirements.
    Looking after yourself and your mates. That’s human nature.

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