Agreed, and via Trooper Thompson I see that this has been followed by a mass arrest of English Defence League members, for... well, since the now banned Muslims Against Historical Catholicism weren't there as planned absolutely nothing at all as far as I can see.Home Secretary Theresa May is banning Muslims Against Crusades, a group planning an anti-Armistice Day protest.Despicable though this group is, abhorrent as its message may be, their liberties are our liberties and holding a protest no matter how distasteful, is a basic civil liberty. In banning them, May hands them a victory without them lifting a finger, she does their work for them far better than they ever could.
Scotland Yard said the group were detained "to prevent a breach of the peace" at a pub near the Cenotaph in Whitehall.Doesn't this seem a bit like crushing your car to prevent speeding? Technically they can probably do this if this is anything to go by.
A breach of the peace is not in itself a criminal offence, but the police and any other person have a power of arrest where there are reasonable grounds for believing a breach of the peace is taking place or is imminent. The Court of Appeal defined a breach of the peace as being ‘an act done or threatened to be done which either actually harms a person, or in his presence, his property, or is likely to cause such harm being done’ – see R v Howell. This power of arrest will, of course, be closely scrutinised in connection with [The European Convention on Human Rights] Article 5 (the right to liberty and security), Article 10 (the right to freedom of expression) and Article 11 (the right to freedom of assembly and association).And of course the ECHR being the pale imitation of a Bill of Rights that it is, doesn't really seem to prevent this either. Article 5 guarantees no deprivation of liberty except for various reasons including (my bold)...
"c. the lawful arrest or detention of a person effected for the purpose of bringing him before the competent legal authority on reasonable suspicion of having committed an offence or when it is reasonably considered necessary to prevent his committing an offence or fleeing after having done so;"... while Articles 10 and 11 both say freedom of speech and association respectively is guaranteed unless it's felt necessary to restrict it. These are the worst kind of rights: positive rights, permissions to do things as long as someone says you're allowed. They aren't liberties, they're just lip service to the idea of liberty. So with the ECHR being as much against you as for you, all the police need in order to arrest people who've done nothing for nothing is a semi-plausible story that it was "reasonably considered necessary" to prevent something they might have been going to do.
So this is liberty in modern Britain. Where NuLab started the Cobbleition has carried on, and in order to prevent you from damaging it your freedom is taken and locked in a cage. But at least they're doing to everybody, so that's alright, isn't it?
In short: fuck, no!
Tip of the Akubra also to Quiet_Man in the comments at Trooper Thompson's for the Telegraph link.