It doesn't take much to be threatened with arrest in a shopping centre.Ah, I bet this is a column about the misuse of police powers over photographers!
Ah. No. Clearly, the thought of a member of the public getting harassed for a perfectly legal activity isn’t even on Kathy’s radar:
Campaigners for better working conditions in Bangladeshi factories recently tried to collect signatures from a shopping centre pavement near an out-of-town Asda. Security guards called the police, who were kind but clear: the activists must leave the shopping centre.Oh, shame..!
They tried their luck on a roundabout. Nobody passed and the campaigners went home.*snigger*
One commonplace episode; one more blow to civil-society activism by over-mighty owners of quasi-public space.It’s their property, Kathy. What’s so difficult to understand about that?
"Quasi-public space" is land that is open to all comers but which is under private ownership – classically, the public areas of shopping centres. As the law stands, owners of quasi-public space have absolute discretion over who can enter their property and what they can do there. Anyone remaining on their property without consent is liable for trespass.If the mall owners thought that having screaming lefties demonstrating about whatever the cause du jour was would bring in customers, they’d probably offer you a unit free of charge.
But they don’t. Ever wonder why?
Owners of quasi-public spaces have too much political power.It’s nothing to do with political power, you dozy mare! They aren’t your political opponents, excluding you for political reasons. They could care less what your beef is.
All they want to do is keep paying customers coming through the doors, and anything that looks like it might frighten customers away is going to get their backs up.
Planning and retail trends have transformed the urban landscape over the last decades, with privately owned malls and out-of-town shopping centres replacing high streets as destinations for shopping, but also for spending leisure time and socialising. These places where people congregate are important sites for public protest.Translation: ‘Wah! Not fair! They should have to listen to me, damn it!’ *stamps feet*
The coalition government is about to publish a draft freedom bill, intended to remove obstacles to peaceful protest. Restrictions on protest in quasi-public space topped a survey of NGO network Bond's 370 members on the issues they wanted to see in the freedom bill.Quelle surprise…
We canvassed the local campaigners who spend their weekends manning stalls and handing out leaflets to improve the lives of poor people in far-off countries, the activists who are being expelled from formerly public squares where they campaigned for dropping the debt of the poorest countries and for spending 0.7% of GDP on international development.I notice you didn't ask the shoppers, who presumably might have said they'd prefer to get their groceries without being harangued by scabrous left wing trash agitating for one-legged lesbian orangutans....
Naturally, this can all be resolved peacefully if we just give Kathy and her minions the right to ride roughshod over everyone else’s property rights.
We propose an exception to the law of trespass in quasi-public spaces, subject to protestors behaving reasonably.I propose a right for me to enter your house and sleep on your sofa, provided I don’t snore too loudly. How does that sound, Kathy?
The right fairly balances the rights of the landowner and the campaigner.No, it doesn’t.
Look, my local shopping malls all happily accommodate the British Legion, the Guide Dogs for the Blind, disability charities and others. The supermarkets do bucket collections at the tills for charities on occasion. They seem to have no problem as it is with people ‘advertising’ for the disadvantaged.
So if your little mobs are being chased off by police, perhaps that says more about them and their behaviour than about the landowners?