I was beaten for saying ‘Cameron has blood on his hands’


10:40 am - March 15th 2013

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by Bethan Jones

Yesterday I was found guilty in the Oxford Magistrates’ Court of causing “harassment, alarm and distress” following a peaceful and legal political protest in Witney in December. The judge said “I can think of nothing more alarming than the statement that ‘Cameron has blood on his hands’.”

I will continue to say that Cameron has blood on his hands, whenever the opportunity presents itself.

The words that the government and media are using is the indirect part of their attack on disabled people. Disability hate crime, which ranges from comments in the street through vandalism of motability cars up to imprisonment, torture, rape and murder is growing.

I knew about this through hearing and reading stories about the people who are being affected, I also knew that these stories weren’t being given the front page spreads that ‘scrounger’ stories get.

Here’s what happened. On the 30th November David Cameron was booed as he came on stage to turn on the Witney Christmas Lights. There’s a very funny video of him trying to drown out any criticism by awkwardly getting the crowd to cheer everyone from themselves to the Queen.

I find it very weird watching the video, because while this was going on I was being beaten up by the police on the other side of the stage. I have never been so scared.

I held up a placard that said “Cameron has blood on his hands,” and I shouted that “disabled people are dying because of Cameron’s policies.” I didn’t expect that to be a big deal, I only wanted to do my bit to show that we’re not all taken in by the rhetoric that disabled people are ‘scroungers’ and ‘shirkers.’

My face was pushed into the ground, I could feel blood coming from my nose, there was someone putting their whole weight on my back while someone else was stamping on my knees, along with various people grabbing and twisting my limbs. And then the officer on my back moved a knee up onto the back of my neck.

Up until then I’d been shouting “I’m not resisting, I’m cooperating,” trying to ask them to stop, but from the moment I felt someone pressing their body weight into the back of my neck I gave up trying to communicate anything to them, I realised the police officers on top of me either couldn’t or wouldn’t hear me.

Instead I began begging anyone who was nearby to intervene, to tell them to stop. Images flashed into my mind of what could happen. I was in pain, I couldn’t see what was going on, I was crying and bleeding, I couldn’t properly breathe, and I thought that they might leave me seriously injured. I’ve worked supporting people who’ve badly damaged their necks or back, and I can’t believe that any police officer was taught that kneeling on the back of someone’s neck is every an acceptable thing to do.

I didn’t think that it would lead to being beaten up, arrested, held overnight and then taken to court on two ridiculous charges.

The fine and costs come to more than I earn in a month. The judge said that on a whole £700 a month, of course I’d have no trouble paying it back. After rent, travel to work, food and paying off loans I don’t have money left at the end of the month, and my salary is going down soon.

We can listen to the voices of the people who know what’s going on, the people on the front-line of the cuts, and share them with our friends. Calum’s List lists the deaths caused directly by welfare reform.


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Reader comments


This is disgusting, do we really need any more evidence that we are living in a fascist/police state. Cameron does have blood on his hands- the difficulty for Cameron will be finding members of the public who do not agree with this statement. It is fact!

2. Michael Angry

Disgusting.

But let us not forget that the current campaign against the poor and the sick is the continuation of a LABOUR policy.

The architect of this evil policy, Lord David Freud, was appointed by Blair.

And the current Labour party have said nothing to oppose any of this.

In other words, they would continue with it if elected in 2015

Is there an independent court report on this?

So you went to a bloody christmas light ceremony and starting shouting about how our prime minister is a murderer?

You’re a fool. I’m sorry you got beaten up, but what were you thinking?

And when Labour was in power, the same things were happening to protesters who shouted that Tony Blair was a war criminal.

Aww, diddums. I think this registers negatively on the old give-a-fuckometre. Pweece bwutality – oh, les horreux!

#4 Foolish or extremely brave? Very few people can be bothered to sign their names to petitions about Cameron’s treatment of the disabled let alone go out and physically protest about it.

Even fewer people will now, given the treatment this poor woman received – for which there are no excuses. What has the nature and timing of the event got to do with it?

8. Luis Enrique

I don’t know what the definition of a “peaceful and legal political protest” is, but if you were doing it, then what were the police doing restraining/assaulting you? Again, I know nothing about whether this would be possible, but I like to think it’s possible to complain or even prosecute the police for wrongly restraining/assaulting you, when you were doing nothing wrong.

If in fact you were doing something wrong – for example for all I know there’s a law about protesting too close to the PM without prior arrangement, meaning your protest was not legal – I still don’t see why the police couldn’t quietly but firmly escort you away. Then again, I don’t know in what circumstances the police are supposed to physically restrain people in such a situation – did they try to move you away first, or did they push you to the floor and kneel on you straight away?

When my reaction to a piece is “this is unbelievable!” I often find that I haven’t heard quite the full story.

Like when “EDF drops claim!” tuens out to be “EDF agrees settlement”.

Whatever the “provocation” the level of brutality, if accurately described, is obviously completely unacceptable and I assume a formal complaint has been made.

Of course this kind of “look at me” protest never really achieves anything anyway, does it, other than making the protester(s) fell good about themselves?

Luis – Bethan says in the first line that she was found guilty of causing “harassment, alarm or distress”, an offence under section 5 of the Public Order Act. Case law has established that the defendant doesn’t need to have actually caused anyone harassment, alarm or distress – just to have either behaved in a disorderly manner or used insulting, abusive or threatening language, within sight or hearing of someone likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby. You might think that protest isn’t harassment, but as the judge (magistrate?) said, the thought of our Prime Minister having blood on his hands is a pretty alarming one. (Particularly when you think that he was about to switch some lights on – everyone knows it’s not safe to press a switch when you’ve got wet hands.) So we’ve got disorderly behaviour (shouting loudly) and the potential to cause alarm – it’s an open and shut case.

What this does to our ability to protest peacefully is another question. Another time Bethan should probably shout “I have concerns about the potential impact of some of this government’s policies” – that should be all right, as long as she takes care to shout quietly.

As for what the police were doing kneeling on Bethan’s neck, I expect they thought they had a duty to prevent any further potential harassment taking place, and were using reasonable force to do so. Certainly the judge doesn’t seem to have been too concerned.

The Public Order Act was passed in 1986. The other day I was reading a case note from 1988 which argued that the harassment offence was being over-used; things haven’t got any better in the intervening 25 years.

12. Charlieman

12 – and as if by magic!

Bethan Tichborne had wanted to protest against Government cuts leading to the deaths of people with disabilities when she tried to climb over the barrier with a home-made placard in front of shocked schoolchildren.

District Judge Tim Pattinson said: “It is difficult to think of a clearer example of disorderly behaviour than to climb or attempt to climb a barrier at a highly security-sensitive public occasion.”

I think if you try and climb over a security barrier to approach the Prime Minister, while carrying a placard (which is, after all, two big bits of wood nailed together) then you shouldn’t be too surprised if the PM’s security detail treat you as a clear and present threat. There’s no suggestion of malice here, just mind-boggling stupidity – if you’d done it to the US President, you’d have been lucky to avoid being shot.

Equally – if you’re shouting “Cameron has blood on his hands” while you’re trying to climb over security fences to get at him, that’s pretty alarming.

#11 According to Bethan’s own account, by the time the police officer started kneeling on her neck she had already been restrained and was telling them that she would co-operate with them – so it doesn’t really sound like they were taking reasonable force to stop further harrassment seeing as the ‘harrassment’ had stopped by that point.

Violet @ 15:

“…it doesn’t really sound like they were taking reasonable force to stop further harrassment…”

Perhaps. And she can lodge a formal complaint. But we should not forget that her account of what happened has been largely discredited on this thread.

Presumably she has filed a police complaint? If the police did what she claims then that is unacceptable.

However, she did more than shout something at the PM – she tried to climb over a barrier, shouting and waving a placard (which also happens to be a hefty plank of wood), in front of a group of ordinary men women and children. That is not a non-violent protest, and it is not “ridiculous” to charge her for it, whatever she might say.

18. Charlieman

One lesson to be drawn from this case is to cover your arse in advance and during the protest.

Send out a press release to the local newspaper (who were 101% certain to be present at the event above) and introduce yourself to the local journalists so that they recognise your face. If you demonstrate without revealing your intent, the police and press will consider you to be a random idiot and treat you as such.

If five people are going to the demo, then one of them (somebody competent with a camera) carries a camera and four make a bit of noise. Note Phil’s comments @11 about section 5 of the Public Order Act and possible police interpretation of words and actions. You may need a record of what your side did, what the police did and the response of bystanders.


A quick aside about definitions of violence:
“warning”: elbows to the stomach, facial slaps or similar; to take the wind out of your sails.
“reminder”: bruising to body and limbs, possibly a black eye; to make you learn faster.
“beating up”: severe injuries short of death; to make you value the NHS.

Why! The bastard thugs aren’t getting paid extra for beating a woman up – like they were in Thatchers day. They must just be the lowest scum of human being.

Story shared. It’s appalling.

CAMERON HAS BLOOD ON HIS HANDS!

Bethan’s included, now.

The treatment for heckling about Cameron in this case was a great deal more violent and severe than that inflicted on Walter Wolfgang for heckling Jack Straw at the Labour Party Brighton Conference in 2005:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4292342.stm

Mind you, I can understand, or think I can, how personally offended the magistrate could have been at any criticism of Cameron who represents an Oxfordshire constituency, after all.

If this sort of criticism of the Prime Minister goes unchecked, just consider what other dreadful things might be said. As Edmund Burke so wisely wrote so many centuries ago: Liberty, too, must be limited in order to be possessed.

21. Shatterface

You’re a fool. I’m sorry you got beaten up, but what were you thinking?

Thought isn’t a crime.

Whatever the specifics of the case I have no difficulty believing that the police will beat up people for mouthing off because I’ve experience it myself; I was also arrested once for offences committed in a town I’d never visited because I had the same name as someone with an outstanding warrant and my street name is the same as that town.

The police are as thich as they are brutal.

But both the attacks on the disabled and the ‘harrassment’ law under which you were prosecuted are down to Tony Blair – but his hands are so soaked with Iraqi and Afghan blood I doubt your DNA would be detectable.

22. Shatterface

Bethan Tichborne had wanted to protest against Government cuts leading to the deaths of people with disabilities when she tried to climb over the barrier with a home-made placard in front of shocked schoolchildren.

I think we’re all familiar enough with the way police write up their reporsts to recognise the convention of inventing ‘shocked schoolchildren’, ‘horrified bystanders’ and ‘alarmed members of the public’.

They’re suspiciously untraceable when the case comes to trial.

I think we’re all familiar enough with the way police write up their reporsts to recognise the convention of inventing ‘shocked schoolchildren’, ‘horrified bystanders’ and ‘alarmed members of the public’.

They’re suspiciously untraceable when the case comes to trial.

Not to mention that the average local newspaper usually needs to keep the local plod happy if it wants a steady stream of ‘crime stories’ for its pages.

A hell of a lot of the naysayers are missing something important here:

“Bethan Tichborne had wanted to protest against Government cuts leading to the deaths of people with disabilities when she tried to climb over the barrier with a home-made placard in front of shocked schoolchildren.”

Read that again with emphasis on what she was protesting:
“Government cuts leading to the deaths of people with disabilities”

Focus in on “the deaths of people with disabilities”

Close up on “the deaths of people”

This government are KILLING people.

And Cameron, Iain Duncan SSmith, and the rest of them HAVE BLOOD ON THEIR HANDS.

25. Charlieman

@OP, “Bethan Jones”: “The words that the government and media are using is the indirect part of their attack on disabled people. Disability hate crime, which ranges from comments in the street through vandalism of motability cars up to imprisonment, torture, rape and murder is growing.”

Imprisonment, torture, rape and murder are evil deeds of power. Do you really mean that Cameron and co, seek or accept that those evil acts are coincidentals on vulnerable people? Do you really associate our current government financial cuts with such inhumanity.

Hyperbole has its place. Hyperbole’s place is with writers who know how to use it.

In all seriousness (in case anyone missed the irony in my earlier comment*), I think the police reaction was grossly disproportionate; it sounds as if they saw something out of the ordinary happening and went straight into Hooligan Attacking Prime Minister mode. The judge’s reading of section 5 is strained in the extreme – yes, climbing a safety barrier** is “disorderly behaviour”, but to classify what was clearly a political slogan as “alarming” is very weak indeed – it’s not surprising that the paper resorts to invoking children. IANAL, but it seems to me that – if anyone would take the case pro bono – Bethan should definitely appeal.

*Using irony on the Internets is always a high-risk strategy.
**Which you really should have mentioned earlier, Bethan. It may harm your defence if you later rely, etc, etc. Or indeed your reception on LibCon.

Where’s my comment? The one I just spent a quarter of an hour composing? Mods?

it sounds as if they saw something out of the ordinary happening and went straight into Hooligan Attacking Prime Minister mode

What, you mean like someone climbing a security barrier, holding a placard? She was a hooligan attacking the Prime Minister, and it really would have been irresponsible for the Prime Ministerial security detail to wait and see whether she was just planning to stand next to the PM holding a placard and shouting at him, or whether she was going to bop him on the head with it.

29. Charlieman

@27. Phil: “Where’s my comment? The one I just spent a quarter of an hour composing? Mods?”

Patience, dear chap. LC is moderated very gently but new comments appear s-l-o-w-l-y.

30. Luis Enrique

keith, yes govt policy towards disabled far more important.

this OP, though, is about something else. And it boils down to what “reasonable force” looks like when PM security detail sees somebody clambering over barrier and making way towards PM.

if police can use discretion in this circumstance, would expect them to see she’s harmless and simply escort her away (and maybe even tell her to continue protest on other side of barrier, not bother arresting her). It’s possible police are trained not to use their discretion and treat everything in this situation as potentially more dangerous. It’s also possible they have a policy of being needlessly heavy handed with protesters and making unnecessary arrests. I don’t know which, but like most people I’d rather police were not violent without good reason and rather political protesters were not prosecuted for “alarming” the PM.

Why was it that – even before I’d clicked on the link Charlieman provided us with @12 – I just knew that the words ‘District Judge’ would appear in the story?

These judicial halflings (they’re not judges, they are what used to be called ‘Stipendiary Magistrates’ before someone in the Department of Justice – which always sounds like the name of a Goth disco to me, but I digress – felt that that title wasn’t ‘aspirational’ enough) have been responsible for some of the most stupid, vapid, vicious and unabashedly politicised sentences and sentencing remarks we have seen from the E&W judiciary in recent years. Presumably, they think that that is how real judges behave.

On the point of the report linked to: why is it automatically assumed that the report is any more a reflection of actual events than that of the OP? At least she was actually there at the time and – knowing all we know – her account rings somewhat truer to life.

32. Charlieman

@28. Tim J: “She was a hooligan attacking the Prime Minister, and it really would have been irresponsible for the Prime Ministerial security detail to wait and see whether she was just planning to stand next to the PM holding a placard and shouting at him, or whether she was going to bop him on the head with it.”

That too is hyperbolic. She was a protester — demonstrated by the court case that she was not otherwise — where Cameron PM was defended by at least three layers of police protection. “Bethan Jones” was caught by the first layer of protection, about which she protests. I more or less agree with her; the first layer of protection is about quickly bundling people up and getting them off the scene without fuss or violence.

The Magistrate was an arse
There are far more alarming things than a placard stating that Cameron has blood on his hands. The disgraceful treatment of the ill, disabled and unemployed for one.

Obviously he is a Tory member and this is neither just nor equitable treatment.

ps Cameron has blood on his hands.

“And when Labour was in power, the same things were happening to protesters who shouted that Tony Blair was a war criminal.”

true

“The architect of this evil policy, Lord David Freud, was appointed by Blair.

And the current Labour party have said nothing to oppose any of this.”

also true.

But completely irrelevant! We have to move past this bullshit illusion that is partisan politics. It is the people vs the power, and the guise they take makes no difference to what side they are on. It is them vs us, whether they are Tory, Labour or Lib Dem, they’re the fascists at the top of the police state. It’s not the UK government that’s bad, it’s the entire political and economic system of the entire Western world, blaming Labour or the Tories is spectacularly failing to to see the big picture.

35. Charlieman

@31. The Judge: “On the point of the report linked to: why is it automatically assumed that the report is any more a reflection of actual events than that of the OP?”

The news report is another side to the story. No, we don’t have a lot of evidence to debate.

I’d assume that two sides of the story made their case without third party evidence. As I suggested @18, protesters should prepare for all eventualities. In the tragic case of Ian Tomlinson, happenchance video recording has led to a significant prosecution of police violence. Protesters should not rely on happenchance.

36. Charlieman

@31. The Judge: “These judicial halflings (they’re not judges, they are what used to be called ‘Stipendiary Magistrates’ before someone in the Department of Justice – which always sounds like the name of a Goth disco to me, but I digress – felt that that title wasn’t ‘aspirational’ enough) have been responsible for some of the most stupid, vapid, vicious and unabashedly politicised sentences and sentencing remarks we have seen from the E&W judiciary in recent years.”

You’ve probably got a decent political campaign there. Magistrates are what magistrates are, but they all have a normal job or a business to run. They are fixed in the communities where they live.

“Stipendiary Magistrates” or “District Judges” should be called Stipendiary Magistrates. They should be minor figures in justice, dealing with drunks and fools.

Genuine Magistrates should deal with the awkward stuff. All of it until it is sent up to a higher court.

Liberal as I am you dont show any remorse so I find it hard to sympathise with you. You are not a wronged or bloodied disabled person. What gives you any right to harass and affront anyone on a whim of your own?

If you point at anyone and say they are a murderer in front of a crowd what exactly are you doing except to incite hatred? From the sound of it you would have been quite pleased if someone had actually hurt Mr Cameron, who it may have escaped your attention is our elected Prime Minister and deserves our aid.

I imagine the Police felt it their duty to bring your outburst to an end swiftly before someone got really hurt and appear to have done that professionally without doing you harm.

I am sorry if other commentators on here have sympathy for you and so encourage you to continue in this course of this dangerous behaviour. They should not in my opinion. There is nothing liberal about what you are doing or saying. It is rude, unfounded in fact and in the situation you describe very dangerous both for you and others. No one is above the law however passionately they may believe what they say is true. What you shouted isnt.

What’s an OP?

Hardly a surprise that if you jump a security fence in front of the PM his security detail are going to jump on you. It’s a bit of a stretch however to suggest a public order offence was committed even on the version in the paper.

40. Mr D Cameron

Hopefully you have learnt your lesson! Families and kids out to enjoy the lights and some stupid girl decides she can take the opportunity to berate me.
Next time I’ll have some ninjas hidden about the place to kick your lazy lefty ass!
Now I’m off to hunt foxes and beat crusty protesters!

41. Chaise Guevara

@ 38 John

“What’s an OP?”

An original post or original poster. That article up there or the person wot wrote it.

What about the school children you traumatised? Of course, it is to be expected that this account is totally biased in the defendant’s favour. Readers – use your brains before you get too worked up.

If you point at anyone and say they are a murderer in front of a crowd what exactly are you doing except to incite hatred?

Maybe, but it’s not against the law to incite hatred of a leading politician. Racial and religious groups are protected by the law; Tories, no.

The question is, were Bethan’s actions likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress? The district judge thought so (he’s the same person who made that comment about the RSPCA spending a lot of money checking up on hunts, by the way). Personally I can’t see what he based that opinion on.

jooly – don’t be daft. What are children more likely to be ‘traumatised’ by –
(a) silly lady climbing over a barrier, is she even allowed to do that, what’s she saying, who’s she talking about?
or
(b) why are all those police sitting on that lady? I think they’re hurting her – why don’t they stop?

“Personally I can’t see what he based that opinion on.”

From the press report I imagine the officers’ notebooks contained something about frightened looking children or some such nonsense. That’s normally how these things work.

45. Uncle Satan

@ 21 Shatterface

I was also arrested once for offences committed in a town I’d never visited because I had the same name as someone with an outstanding warrant and my street name is the same as that town.

I had that happen several times in the 1980’s.

Apparently there was a near psychopathic skinhead with not only the same name as me, but the same date of birth too. How’s that for bad luck.

Because of where I lived I used to get stopped about once every couple of months. I would be asked for my name and DoB, then after they had called it in for a CRB check they would retreat from me drawing batons. Then, from about 10 feet away they would ask me to show them the sides of my neck – tattoos. Once they saw there were none there, the batons would go away and they would approach me again in a civilized – and slightly relieved manner. This happened twice before I found out what it was about.

I have no idea what my namesake was known to the police for doing, but clearly the average copper would rather it wasn’t them who came across him.

One thing in this thread that genuinely disturbs me? People who I know for a fact were around and paying attention when Ian Tomlinson was killed and several thousand people got battered to fuck in the City genuinely seem to think that complaining about the police works.

It doesn’t. If you’re white and a political dissenter, it really doesn’t.

TimJ’s first response was that this was unbelievable. Why?

This kind of action by the British police is far from unbelievable: it’s normal.

Now; having lived in Oxford for some time, and having some experience of protest, I’m inclined to say that I wouldn’t trust ThisIsOxfordshire as far as I could spit them. I would also not be surprised to discover that the police were given an excuse for their actions by Bethan’s choice of protest methods.

What I disagree with is the idea that they were acting in any way unusually (they do this shit all the time). I also don’t think that having an excuse constitutes having a reason.

47. Anne Selby

*sigh* To all of the people who called her a silly girl and infer that it serves her right, you remind me of Nero fiddling while Rome burns. We have a right to free speech and free thought, at least we used to. Did you not read that the crowd were heckling, jeering and booing Cameron anyway when she stood up with her placard? She was only telling the truth. Cameron does have blood on his hands; the blood of 10,600 disabled and sick people in 2012 and heaven knows how many of us will die this year at the hands of Cameron and his austerity measures which are not working anyway.

More importantly… what exactly did this country fight for in WW2? We fought so that we would not be left in the hands of a dictator who already socially cleansed his own disabled and sick people even before he started on the Jews. We fought for the right to live freely and not under coercion, and the right to protest peacefully comes under that banner.

Reasonable force? The woman was already restrained when they twisted her arms and legs and knelt on her neck. She told them she was not resisting. She hadn’t attacked Cameron personally or done anything to warrant her vicious restraining. I don’t call that reasonable force, I call it lethal force because in smashing her nose on the ground they could have driven the nasal bone into her brain and then she would have been murdered by the police.

I bet the majority of you are sitting there smugly saying this will never happen to you and you’d be right, because you’re too damn lazy and apathetic to get up and fight for your own rights, never mind the rights of the vulnerable people in our society, such as this woman was doing. She has more courage in her tiny finger nail than you have in your entire bodies. No wonder this country is going to hell on a hand cart.

However, think on this… once Cameron has socially cleansed England of all those shirkers you so love to believe in, i.e. the terminally ill, the disabled, the sick and the children who are being plunged into poverty and homelessness by the new policies being brought against them by a government who would rather give money to their rich friends than help the poor, who do you think they will target next? And who do you think will fight for you? Because those of us who WOULD stand up behind you will ALL be dead.

The first poster Lisa was right. we are living in a fascist state, it’s not a myth, it’s a fact. You’re all so damn blind that you can’t even see what’s happening in front of your own eyes. Even if this woman did commit a crime by speaking out in public (which in fact is not a crime… yet), her treatment by a so called civilised police force was far more horrifying than anything she did. This government are seeking to take away our human rights and our rights to protest peacefully and believe me, and she was no matter what kind of slant the police put on it. They are well known for twisting events to suit the situation, they do it every day that dawns.

So what next for us all? Email and internet censorship? Police coming to arrest us in the dead of night because we dare to have an opinion? If that isn’t a police state, I don’t know what is, but hey… you can all keep on dreaming and thinking it won’t happen to you, but I and many others know better. We are royally screwed unless more brave people like Bethan stand up and be counted. I’m guessing we can’t rely on you lot then! No doubt you will all be far too busy shovelling the dirt in over us and turning a blind eye.

48. RealSocialistsGoToWorkAndPayTaxes

The officers who restrained (sorry-‘beat up’ at a public event full of people taking photographs…)Bethan Jones/ Tichborne were protecting HER.

Had she got past them, the people ACTUALLY protecting David Cameron (the close protection group) were ARMED.

Sorry, but at the end of a working week paying my taxes towards the ‘most vulnerable in society’ and taking the kids to see the Christmas lights being switched on, I don’t want to see some nutter who doesn’t even live in the town clambering over a barrier and breaching a police cordon, shouting about Cameron having ‘blood on his hands’ and waving a couple of nailed bits of wood together.

@37 There’s a book you should read, it’s called “the Liberal defence of murder”, you’ll like it!

How I remember the tories whining about a police state when they were in opposition. Now they capitulate to the CIA to bring in secret trials. People are beaten and arrested and put in front of kangaroo courts with lackie judges for daring to criticize Field Marshall Von-Cameron.

Meanwhile our schools are handed over to the donors of the tory party even when local parents don’t want it. And our hospitals will soon go the same way as they are handed over to tax exiles, and corporate welfare queens.

And all this is being done by a tory party that has no mandate for this. But thanks to the treacherous and crook invested Lie Dems who ran against all of these policies but suddenly decided office was more important than principal the UK becomes nothing more than a broken banana republic. I’m sure the governing junta will soon be giving contracts to their favourite corporations to start building internment camps for those that refuse to comply.

Before someone charges in and says that claiming that we live in a Fascist state is complete hyperbole, may I remind them that the classical definition of Fascism is that of a system of government in which the interest of the State and the interests of corporations coalesce and reinforce one another. In that sense, both we and the US have been in a Fascist state for some considerable time.

52. Just Visiting

Where, in this world of £100 video cameras – is the film of the OP being arrested?

Hey OP – why didn’t you have a friend along to film your protest?

Then we would not be speculating about how aggressive or not you were when you climbed the fencing etc.

That video would have helped you in court too…

Maybe plan better next time eh?

maybe you did have a friend there who filmed it… but the film only shows your own folly ?

Anne you say Cameron does have blood on his hands; the blood of 10,600 disabled and sick people in 2012.

Lets take Calums list at face value and say that the 30 suicides he lists can really be laid in some part due to reductions in funding for the poor individuals concerned for example a £30 per month reduction in housing benefit in central london. These certainly are tragic cases. Any suicide is.

Do you think Cameron does not know what its like to be the father of a disabled and terminally ill child? I think you will find he does.

Cameron is trying without a Canadian style austerity programme which would result in suffering and unemployment on a large scale to maintain public spending of all kinds however public spending has risen to an unsustainable 47% of GDP financed not by tax but by borrowing ever more. The deficit has been reduced not eliminated. Cameron deserves our congratulations that it hasnt come to that.

I am concerned that it is listed as a Conservative achievement that Council Tax has been frozen for three years. Undoubtedly there has been a price to pay for that in local communities in care of the disabled and mentally ill. Many have come forward with time and money to help disabled people who do still receive their funding.

Bethan should perhaps take some comfort from this and perhaps volunteer for one of these disabled supporting groups who are always looking for volunteers. If she were to approach the Court to substitute such community volunteering for all or part of her fine she may find the Judge more sympathetic this time.

54. Uncle Satan

@ 51 The Judge.

…classical definition of Fascism is that of a system of government in which the interest of the State and the interests of corporations coalesce and reinforce one another…

When fascists talk about corporations they do not mean it in the sense of private companies any more that evolutionist mean somebody who goes to the gym regularly when they refer to survival of the fittest. Some on the left have tried to redefine fascism in this way for their own purposes, a redefinition that many who suffered under fascist regimes find distasteful to say the least.

Fascism is not the same as unpleasant. Fascism is not another word for totalitarian.

As George Orwell remarked:

“…the word ‘Fascism’ is almost entirely meaningless. In conversation, of course, it is used even more wildly than in print. I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, Social Credit, corporal punishment, fox-hunting, bull-fighting, the 1922 Committee, the 1941 Committee, Kipling, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-Shek, homosexuality, Priestley’s broadcasts, Youth Hostels, astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else … Except for the relatively small number of Fascist sympathisers, almost any English person would accept ‘bully’ as a synonym for ‘Fascist’. That is about as near to a definition as this much-abused word has come.”

You can find more about the varied (note that there is no one ‘classical’ definition) definitions of fascism here and here.

Do you think Cameron does not know what its like to be the father of a disabled and terminally ill child? I think you will find he does.

Indeed. It’s also proven to be a very useful political tool to have at his disposal too. He’s certainly milked it for far more than Brown did with his own respective personal tragedy.

What kind of world do we live in that this can happen?

57. Peter Gilkes

I’m glad the ARMED protection group realised that most assassins don’t carry large placards with them, climb over barriers and shout slogans before getting down to their job in hand. Or did she just not look Brazilian?

58. SadButMadLad

Anne Selby said “More importantly… what exactly did this country fight for in WW2? We fought so that we would not be left in the hands of a dictator who already socially cleansed his own disabled and sick people even before he started on the Jews. We fought for the right to live freely and not under coercion, and the right to protest peacefully comes under that banner.”

Way to go on the hyperbole. You attempting Godwins law?

No way is Cameron a dictator. Nor was Blair or Brown. For all their faults, all our leaders have been elected.

As for socially cleansed. I don’t see all disabled being locked and up and executed. Some are having difficulties in persuading the bureaucracy that they do deserve benefits. But that’s what you get with bureaucratic red tape. Mistakes a plenty. Yes, I know you meant Hitler, but there is no connection with social cleansing of any type.

And as for freedom. Well we do have it. You can spout all your nonsense. I can spout all my stupid notions. And we are doing in a peaceful manner. What we are not doing is going around causing a disturbance in front of police who are itchy with their trigger fingers because they are under the pressure of looking after a VIP. You are still free to have marches and demonstrations, but trying to climb barriers will get you arrested.

OTOH, try:

In 1976 Lord Hailsham described the British system of government as an ‘elective dictatorship’. What he meant was that the government, once elected, is able to behave like a dictator owing to the weakness of Parliament. In modern academic parlance, this is known as executive dominance.
http://politicsforalevel.wordpress.com/2010/02/10/an-elective-dictatorship/

Preparation for Britain’s invasion of Iraq on 20 March 2003 were made under Royal Prerogatives. Parliament was only allowed to vote just a day or so before the invasion.

Cameron paraded his dead child as an election prop to con people into believing he supported the NHS. When you can sink that low there is no level you won’t be prepared to go to. He also did the same trick of fake caring to the family of Millie Dowler and other hacking victims. All the while he is taking his orders from his press baron masters. But because he talks with a plummy voice and went to the right schools he gets a pass on his duplicitous lying ways.

Actually lying and duplicitous behaviour seems to be a trade mark of the English public school system.

The English public school system:

“During his Eton days, Nicholas Ridley’s fag had been Tam Dalyell, later Labour … Ridley was reported to say “he was my fag at Eton, I wish I had beaten him more!”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicholas_Ridley,_Baron_Ridley_of_Liddesdale

Once again Sally the Tory troll pops up, with a dig at the likes of Ed Balls, Harriet Harman and Chuka Umunna, all public school boys and girls and key figures in the Labour Party – and the next Labour government.

You Tories are getting increasingly desperate as you feel power slipping away from you Sally.

Reminding leading figures of the consequences of their actions is one thing. There is nothing wrong with dignified and legal protest for example Stuart Holmes protests as Vicky Pryce came into and out of Court on his views on Fukashima. Thats an exercise of human rights without infringing the rights of others.

It concerns me when I see leading politicians encouraging hate thinking. For example Plebgate where Andrew Mitchell lost his human rights altogether because he was ‘posh’ and received a private secondary education. That didnt stop him doing well at university, getting elected and becoming a minister. We need people like that dont we and must expect mixed motives and ambition. Without any comeback Union bosses evidently hid behind human right of protest to make entirely false statements to stand up press and media stories. OK thats what the Courts are for when matter becomes a private dispute but thats a last resort and can never correct the damage done. Hate thinking cant go on.

Certain areas are being squeezed while the NHS is not. Its right to remind politicians and the public of that. Seeing 30,000 admittedly talented and hardworking medics protesting at their six figure salaries and equally golden pensions fills me with unease that the public on an average pay of £25,000 per annum are not getting value. Others are suffering to maintain this bloated union privilege. PFI arrangements agreed by Labour are so lunatic that there isnt the money to run the police stations, courts, hospitals and schools the money built. That cant go on either. These arrangements need to be taken by the scruff of the neck and we need intelligent politicians to find ways of doing tat legimately for example by investigating incompetance and corruption.

I also worry at the long term impact of union attempts to run their opponents off the streets. Our right to protest is a precious one and it shouldnt be used by power hungry politicians for political ends to ‘get’ other politicians.

Thats what elections are for. And it works. Theres a kind of fascination watching Conservatives who dont like Clegg/Cameron’s middle ground liberalism and what Labour and the LibCon coalition do metamorphose like one creature into another – metamorphose into UKIP on a large scale.

“I don’t know what the definition of a “peaceful and legal political protest” is, but if you were doing it, then what were the police doing restraining/assaulting you? Again, I know nothing about whether this would be possible, but I like to think it’s possible to complain or even prosecute the police for wrongly restraining/assaulting you, when you were doing nothing wrong. ”
Do you live in ivory tower. See what they did to the miners. But those commy bastards derserved it.

I bet the majority of you are sitting there smugly saying this will never happen to you and you’d be right, because you’re too damn lazy and apathetic to get up and fight for your own rights, never mind the rights of the vulnerable people in our society, such as this woman was doing.

Well what you’ve called out there was one of the necessary stepping stones to the phrase ‘the banality of evil’ becoming germane, whereby ordinary Joe Blogs can be a functional part of evil without any particular animus, hatred or motivation other than waking up and going to do his job for the day. Acquiescence is the first step to acceptance.

What’s really scary here is the amount of self righteous sweeping statements from people who think they have some greater understanding. Don’t believe all you read even if it suits your prejudices. Following like sheep is the real stupidity

67. Gavin Saunders

Yes,what were you thinking?You can’t expect to approach such a godly and untouchable personage as our beloved precious Prime Useless Minister,after all,he’s a multi millionaire and therefore MUCH more important than you or any disagreeable disabled plebs one might have to accidently look at.Hope you are ok,these a-holes will be gone before much longer..

68. Gavin Saunders

Just watch “Cops on Camera”or similar if you want to see just how keen the pigs are to get in there with the violence against much smaller and weaker people.I quite believe her,cowards the lot of em.

69. Dislecksick

Ha Ha Ha. Now you lefties know how it feels.

remember guys, Free speech comes with responsibilities.

“But I didn’t mean MY free speech”

Oh boy when I clicked of this from the link I thought this was some type of joke.

I am stunned with the judgement not the police actions all par for the course on political protest now.

But also is the Xmas Light opening the correct place for such an action?

Maybe a mass stay away should have been organised? That would have been more effective and gained more headlines

“No Xmas Cheer In Whitney” etc

I apologise in advance for a) introducing a practical note into this thread, and b) not having any opinion on whether the conviction is sound or not (I was not present at the incident concerned neither was I in court.)

Neither the article above nor the press story linked to in other comments say whether or not the woman concerned was legally represented. Anybody charged with such an offence should seek legal representation. That a person convicted of such an offence at a magistrates court was unrepresented or had been refused legal aid (or whatever they call it this week) is not a bar to making an appeal (against conviction and / or sentence) to the Crown Court and seeking publicly funded legal reprsentation at that appeal. Appeals to Crown Court are by way of rehearing and are meant to be heard by the most senior judge available accompanied by two lay magistrates.

I cannot recall what the time limit for appealling from magistrates to Crown is, but anybody who thinks that they have been wrongly convicted should seek competent legal advice as a matter of urgency.

It may be that a solicitor advises there is little chance of an appeal suceeding and therefore s/he would not be able to obtain public funding, but until said legal advice is sought there is no way of knowing.

Bill – there’s no legal aid for charges carrying sentences below a certain threshold (offhand I think it’s a six-month custodial sentence; it may be twelve), so Beth almost certainly won’t have had legal representation. I think she’s got excellent grounds for an appeal, but in practical terms it will depend on getting somebody to take the case for nothing.

“Ha Ha Ha. Now you lefties know how it feels.”
Are you OK. Now lie down and have a nice cup of tea.


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  1. Is free speech free, or isn’t it? | Indigo Jo Blogs

    […] This morning I saw a post on Facebook by a woman who had been arrested during a protest aimed at David Cameron during the switching-on of the Christmas lights in Witney, Oxfordshire (the chief, albeit small, town in his constituency) last November. Bethan Jones had held up a placard saying “David Cameron has blood on his hands”, for which she was charged, and yesterday convicted, for causing “harassment, alarm or distress”, the magistrate reasoning that “I can think of nothing more alarming than the statement that ‘Cameron has blood on his hands.’”. To any reasonable person, this would sound like the normal stuff of political protest, and fairly tame compared to the lurid and defamatory material published in the commercial press every day. Jones also wrote that she had been beaten up by the police while the “celebrations” were going on. (Beth’s statement also republished at Bright Green Scotland, Liberal Conspiracy.) […]





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