Most people who pay attention to current affairs (as well as being vaguely depressed all the time) will be aware that in order to demonstrate within a kilometre or so of Parliament Square, you need written permission from the police.

At the time of the introduction of this repressive law, its apologists said it was needed in response to the threat of terrorism, but that the police must give permission for the protest to go ahead. However, they can impose conditions relating to, amongst other things, where the protest may happen, when it may happen and how long it may go on for.

It so happens that George Bush is in London today, and a proposed march in protest of his visit has been banned by the police. Perhaps technically, they haven’t given permission for it to happen today. Of course, if someone’s only visiting for the day and you can’t protest his visit on that day, you have effectively been silenced.

How appropriate that his presence this weekend provides such a vivid example of the libertarian principles he has helped to flush away.

There is an elegantly written open letter to Bush published in the Guardian today which modestly reflects upon his long eight years in office that is well worth eight minutes of your time. Read it here.


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