Monday, 20 April 2009

Eric Pickles and Any Questions

Eric Pickles was on Any Questions this week. He was talking about the G20 protesters when someone heckled him. Everyone heard 'nonsense' apart from Eric himself who heard something much stronger. It is good to be able to listen more intensely than anyone in the audience and to concentrate on speaking at the same time. His response was to say that he had gone into politics to stop people like this heckler from forming a lynch mob against policemen caught on mobile phone cameras.

The thing that struck me was Eric Pickles must have prepared this defence. Everyone heard 'nonsense' but even if I were in the audience I would be wondering if someone else did say something else at the same time and I didn't hear it. Nice one Eric. There is an alternative to him preparing his oratory well. He could be paranoid. I will be interested to read the transcript for the programme later in the week.

Even if someone has used strong language to support the protester rather than the policeman does this equate to wanting to form a lynch mob? I don't think so. Everyone that I have spoken to believes the policeman is innocent until proven guilty. We are all on the same side Eric. I don't want to prejudge any enquiry. It does look like police actions are over zealous but who am I to use stronger words than that and risk the wrath of Eric?

I will support the rights of people to protest and this may also mean that on occasions strong language is appropriate but I prefer calm and measured protest. Eric is right that the policeman is innocent until proven guilty. He is wrong to stifle protest. He is creating a lynch mob of his own with his strong emotion and imagined thoughts. He has got hold of completely the wrong end of the stick, and this time it is metaphorical not a police baton.

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