Friday, September 29, 2017

The cost of protest

Those who wish to protest peacefully outside either the Conservative party conference or any other party conference should be free to do so.

This should include the right to indicate robust disagreement provided it stops short of crossing the line between protest and intimidation, threats, or violence.

The behaviour of a significant minority  - not all - of the left-wing protesters outside the 2015 Conservative conference in Manchester in 2015 towards people attending the conference; not just Conservative representatives but also journalists, cleaners, caterers and other staff of the conference centre; went way over that line.

Sadly one consequence of that has been that Greater Manchester Police (GMP) have had to mount an unprecedented operation to defend freedom of association - something that people on the left ought to understand as it is what the Tolpuddle martyrs were transported for fighting for - at this year's Conservative conference in Manchester at a cost to the Home office, which, of course, means the poor old taxpayer, of two million pounds.

The Manchester Evening News report on security at the conference can be read here.

A large part of that operation would have been necessary regardless of the 2015 protests and of who had been in power, to protect the conference of the governing party from the threat from terrorist groups like the swine who murdered 22 innocent people including children at a concern in the same city earlier this year.

However, there is little doubt that the security operation this year will be significantly more expensive because GMP are trying to overcome the problems created by intimidation from left-wing thugs protesting outside the 2015 conference.

That is money that will have to be raised in tax and will not be available for other important causes such as the NHS.

If I thought the kind of people whose conduct in 2015 was responsible for this, or those who are trying to organise similar intimidation next week, had working brains, I would suggest they ought to think about the consequences of their actions.

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