Louise Mensch: intrusion fine if it’s journalists


5:36 pm - May 28th 2012

by Sunny Hundal    


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Yesterday Conservative MP Louise Mensch was loudly complaining about “intimidation” and “intrusion” by UKuncut activists at Nick Clegg’s street.

Apparently having a peaceful and relaxed street party on someone’s street when they’re out is intimidating.

But she also think press intrusion is fine.

So just to clarify – intrusion is fine if the press is doing it, but not fine if members of the public are having a light-hearted, peaceful party on your street.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


Here’s a little remember for Louise Mensch of what Press intrusion can look like:

Shropshire Star Newspaper Report on News Of The World.

Anyone still agree with Louise?

“So just to clarify – intrusion is fine if the press is doing it,”

Erm, no, intrusion is “the lesser of two evils”. That’s not the same as saying that it’s fine.

Also, “a light-hearted, peaceful party” — how would feel if a bunch of protestors camped outside your house one day? Even if you didn’t happen to be in at the time, it might come across as a bit intimidating, especially if protesters had been quoted as saying things like “It’s getting personal this time. We’re making this protest a little more personal.”

“a light-hearted, peaceful party on your street.”

A bunch of bullies, bullying. They were there to try to be intimidating and for no other reason.

Oh yes press intrusion is fine I mean we all went to the same public school and then Oxbridge together so they already know all my deepest darkest secrets..

Also, “a light-hearted, peaceful party” — how would feel if a bunch of protestors camped outside your house one day? Even if you didn’t happen to be in at the time, it might come across as a bit intimidating, especially if protesters had been quoted as saying things like “It’s getting personal this time. We’re making this protest a little more personal.”

He’s a politician! This is how politics works!

All these shrinking violets annoy me. From now on we’ll just ask weally weally nicely for nice things. That’ll work.

Its simple about the protest, Nick Clegg stood for leadership of the lib dems, he also stood to be an MP. He then prostituted himself and his parties principles to join a Tory coalition and threw out most of the things his party stood for.

He put himself in the public spotlight, he put himself in the cross-hairs. If you cant stand people disagreeing with you and letting you know that they don’t by any lawful means DON’T STAND FOR PARLIAMENT!

It isn’t for you to decide Sunny whether the ‘party’ is intimidating, that’s for the Cleggs. This is whole thing make UK Uncut look bad. If you want to protest against Nick Clegg because of his politics there are plenty of public places to do so e.g his constituency office, Westminster etc.

Targeting his home is intimidation tactics, pure and simple. No matter the tone of the ‘protest’, the people doing so are all hostile towards the Cleggs. To have a mob of strangers descend on your house with such feeling goes beyond the standard of what is a legitimate protest.

Of course it wouldn’t be a Sunny Hundal article without false equivalences, just because one group does something bad doesn’t magically make it OK for another to.

Why are we even still listening to that woman? She will say anything to justify her support for News International simply because she is equating press freedomg with business freedom.

9. Shatterface

If our choice is between a press that is too intrusive and an over-regulated press, I prefer the former as much the lesser of two evils.

Most journalists would agree, whether they are sleazy gossip-mongers or genuine investigative reporters. Whatever laws result from this enquiry you can bet they’ll be used to protect the rich and powerful because that’s what laws do.

We could end up with a press so hamstrung they will only report what is already in the public domain, sitting in an office all day taking screenshots of Twitter.

‘It isn’t for you to decide Sunny whether the ‘party’ is intimidating, that’s for the Cleggs.’
So, what’s with the racist slur Scott?

11. Trooper Thompson

@9 Shatterface,

too true.

They didn’t haul Glegg out of his house and lynch him, they had a party and if Clegg finds that intimidating it shows how long its been since he saw either people having fun or a successful party. A typically British type of protest and infinitely more restrained than the government that’s tearing its way through people’s lives with all the enthusiasm of a German army heading towards Belgium. If this relatively genteel behaviour terrifies politicians they’ll need Kevlar nappies by the time their endless disregard of the public finally results in the fermentation of real hatred. If politicians worked for their electorate, rather than 100,000 Daily Mail crazed floating voters for six months every five years and billionaire tyrants the rest of the time then they would have earned respect instead of expecting it as their right.

As for botoxed perma-grinning Looney Louise, she’ll say anything to get free publicity, when she can prise herself away from Double Dip Dave’s podgy buttocks.

@10 Nitin

There isn’t one.

14. Tishbite

Why give her the oxygen of publicity she so desperately craves with this menschion?

You disagree because you assume that you or someone who agrees with you will be doing the regulating, deciding which articles are acceptable and which should be suppressed, just as you would presumably decide which citizens deserve to have their family homes picketed and which organisations are sufficiently “light hearted” to be permitted to do it.

You may want to reconsider the name of this site.

16. Chaise Guevara

“Apparently having a peaceful and relaxed street party on someone’s street when they’re out is intimidating.”

Apparently the neighbours’ children were frightened, as has already been pointed out to you. Do they deserve it for living next to Clegg, or do they just not matter?

If this is the case Ban all Jubilee Street Parties this year on the grounds that they frighten children.

18. Chaise Guevara

@ 17 Mr Grunt

Is that directed at me, and if so, where did I use the word “ban”?

Can anyone with a grievance turn up at Clegg’s house then?
Should his private home become a place for protests like outside Downing Street is?
I don’t think so, but it seems arguing why it’s not is talking across an idological faultline … and so doesn’t work.

Have there been protests outside Boris Johnson’s house?
He would be a prime candidate.

20. Mr Grunt

Hi there Chaise Guevara

My comment was not directed at you. I was just pointing out, if peaceful Street Parties are frightening to children they should be banned.

It is my understanding that the Street Party in Nick Cleggs road/street had a carnival atmosphere without incidence or arrests. In fact the police enjoyed policing the event from what I read.

If some within Government feel that Street Parties are frightening to children then maybe they should try and ban all Jubilee Street Parties on the grounds that they are frightening to children. Maybe Clegg should go to the High Court to try and have them banned. See what the judges thinks !

I have never in my life heard of a child that has been frightened of a party. Usually children are fascinated by such events from country fares, school fetes, firework parties, Halloween Night & Parties and fun fairs.

21. Chaise Guevara

@ Mr Grunt

I disagree that they should be banned because they’re frightening to children. You’d lose Dr Who next. But it’s not the government, wholesale, claiming that “peaceful street parties scare children”; Clegg just said that his neighbours’ kids were scared by the protests outside his house. Which is fairly believable; it probably is quite scary to look out your door and see a huge group of people on your usually quiet street.

@ Sunny,

If they merely wanted a street party they could have had it where they live. You know this. You wouldn’t like it if people who were vocal critics held a street party where you live in order to ‘make it personal’. You are being hypocritical. This is a silly thing to be partisan about. Protesting at Clegg’s place of work is quite different.

@ Chaise,

“it probably is quite scary to look out your door and see a huge group of people on your usually quiet street.”

Quite. It is different if they are your neighbours. If they are strangers then it is at the least a bloody nerve to use someone else’s street for your party, and at worst something like intimidation.

That’s not what she said at all. If you want to be taken seriously you need to stop misrepresenting what people say.

It’s like me saying “Sunny Hundal is opposed to free speech”

24. Nick 'Em

This kind of protest at a persons home was made illegal by the Labour government in 2005 as part of their anti-animal rights campaign.

Why were the organisers not arrested?

25. Chaise Guevara

@ 24

“This kind of protest at a persons home was made illegal by the Labour government in 2005 as part of their anti-animal rights campaign.”

Source?

26. tigerdarwin

”A bunch of bullies, bullying. They were there to try to be intimidating and for no other reason.”

Not like the Tories then they have never bullied anyone except the poor ( their word), travellers, the disabled, unionists anymore anyone

27. Stephen Moss

Woman’s a fucking moron.

28. Nick 'Em

@ 25.

Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005.

Look up the details yourself on Google, there’s plenty about it as animal rights activists were furious – it was one of the major methods used by SHAC.

Not any more though.

29. Chaise Guevara

@ 28

Just did – it only seems to relate to protests with a 1km radius of parliament.

30. Nick 'Em

@ 29.

From the CPS Website.

“Section 126 – Harassment of a Person in their own Home.

Section 126 of the SOCPA amended the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001(CJPA) and created a new offence of causing harassment, alarm or distress to a person in his or her home. The offence contains four ingredients which need to be proved. A person will commit an offence under section 42A(1) if:
he or she is present outside or in the vicinity of any premises that are used as a dwelling;
he or she is there to represent to the resident or another individual or persuade the resident or another individual that he should not do something he is entitled to do; or that he or she should do something he is not under any obligation to do;
the person intends his presence to amount to the harassment of, or to cause alarm or distress to the resident; or knows or ought to know that his presence is likely to do so; and
the presence of the defendant amounts to the harassment of, or causes alarm or distress to the resident, a person in the resident’s dwelling, or a person in another dwelling in the vicinity of the resident’s dwelling; or is likely to result in the harassment of, or cause alarm or distress of any such person.

The purpose of this offence is to give the police the ability to deal with harassing or intimidatory behaviour by individuals towards a person in his home even after an incident has taken place. This means that the police can deal with protestors after the event. This will be useful if, for example, there is evidence of a protest on CCTV but the police were not present, or the police were present and could identify the protestors but there was some difficulty in enforcing a direction at the scene of the protest.

The offence in section 42A of the CJPA might be used where, for example, protestors had conducted a rooftop protest at a person’s home. If the police were not in attendance, but the resident had CCTV evidence of particular individuals on the roof of his house, and he had been harassed, alarmed or distressed by the presence of the protestors, the police could arrest the suspects for the new offence.

The penalty for this offence is imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale or both.

Section 42A(2) of the CJPA defines persons who can be subjected to harassment, alarm or distress by the presence of others at their home. They are the resident; a person in the resident’s dwelling, for example, a child or partner; and a person in another dwelling in the vicinity of the resident’s dwelling, i.e. a neighbour.

There is no legal definition of “vicinity” and ultimately it is for the courts to determine what is meant by it as a matter of fact. ”

http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/s_to_u/stalking_and_harassment/#a02b

31. Chaise Guevara

@ 30 Nick

I guess it wasn’t treated as harrassment in this case.

32. Robin Levett

@Nick ‘Em & Chaise, #30-31:

(or should that be Chaise and Nick ‘Em?)

I suspect that establishing the requisite mens rea – the intent to harass – might have been more difficult in this case than the SHAC cases. The harassment is rather clearer in the SHAC case too – when members of an organisation that at best turns a blind eye to bombing of its opponents turn up outside your home, it’s not surprising if you start to feel harassed (Betty).

The other point to consider is the effect of Articles 10 and 11 of the Human Rights Act. Whilst even SHAC’s activities can be seen (if looked at in the right light) political protest, limiting their activities can be seen as proportionate simply because of the violence, intimidation and threats of violence associated with their protests generally.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Katherine Smith

    Liberal Conspiracy – Louise Mensch: intrusion fine if its journalists http://t.co/JW1gDpWQ

  2. Angus Carruthers

    Louise Mensch: intrusion fine if its journalists http://t.co/PPkrXh0l via @sunny_hundal @libcon

  3. Janette Scharenborg

    Louise Mensch: intrusion fine if its journalists | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/SUgMMTFw She obviously has no idea!! feel sorry for her

  4. Chris Paul

    Louise Mensch: intrusion fine if its journalists | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/SUgMMTFw She obviously has no idea!! feel sorry for her

  5. Annie Bishop

    Louise Mensch: intrusion fine if its journalists | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/cRCxsGpT via @libcon

  6. Andrew Gowland

    Louise Mensch: intrusion fine if its journalists | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/PTBrQJ1k via @libcon its that woman again

  7. Linda Burnip

    Louise Mensch: intrusion fine if its journalists http://t.co/d0IgakIC

  8. Rainbow Meow

    Louise Mensch: intrusion fine if its journalists | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/COz7sPjA via @libcon

  9. Michael Bater

    Louise Mensch: intrusion fine if its journalists | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/iBDvrFUL via @libcon

  10. Saggydaddy

    Louise Mensch: intrusion fine if its journalists | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/iBDvrFUL via @libcon

  11. Natacha Kennedy

    @louisemensch is happy for journalists to besiege someone's home, but not the public. http://t.co/jLk0znOB #thinkbeforeyoutweet

  12. Mike Barton

    Louise Mensch: intrusion fine if it’s journalists | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/17HrQQ3U via @libcon





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