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I have to disagree with Mr Duncan. The illegal occupation of Iraq has not gone away, so why should the protesters? Just because these protests are largely led by the left is irrelevant. The protests represent the views of people across the political spectrum who were and always will be opposed to a dead-end war that has exacted a great cost in human life.

I agree. Can't they just leave everyone alone? No-one is listening anymore.

Well said Alan Duncan. People should have a right to protest but not to set up a permanent and ugly camp on Parliament sq and scream foul abuse at passers by.

Nothing to do with freedom of speech?????!!! Even if no one cares you can't deny them their freedom to protest. Eventually they will get bored and move on but some people need to remember the hard-won rights and liberties we now enjoy.

I'm all for free speech but that display is starting to look like a shanty town.

Free speech is one things. Years of a tent city on a national landmark quite another.

The illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq, based on a Bush's and Blair's lies, has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians. It has cost British and American people trillions of dollars and the lives of hundreds of soldiers. I call that far more vulgar and pointless than any protest in Parliament Square.

I would agree with that Jennifer. The camp should be cleared away but people can still come to Parliament Square to let the politicians who voted for the Iraq war know exactly what they think of them.
There are all sorts of nutters in Westminister these days the most vocal at the moment is a man who blames all the ills of the world on freemasonry.

This has everything to do with free speech! I agree with Duncan that the camp is ugly and any sane person (anti-war or not) who has read their posters should agree that they are loonies. That’s not the point though. The very fact that a bunch of cranks is still able to camp in front of parliament for as long as they like and tell the powers that be where to go should be seen as a living -if ugly- monument to free speech.

The Chinese could have the solution here. What about setting up an officially sanctioned ‘protest zone’ as in Beijing? There could be a fenced off dedicated communal shouting area with proper lavatories (maybe at Hyde Park Corner) with little glass cubicles to house the various shouty people and their assorted whinges.

@I can see this as a potential tourist attraction as I am sure that punters would pay £5.00 a pop to prod the Guardian readers with long sticks or feed them buns according to the quality of their shouting.

If not then at least this little piece of Glastonbury provides an advertisement for not going to Glastonbury.


Yawn. Go and cut and paste somewhere else please.

I`m astonished that no one has appeared to see if this `camp` needs planning permission! Our great bureaucracy seems to be quick enough on to anyone else who continues an occupation of this sort.

The protest in Parliament Square is unsightly but so what? As the poodle of America we have been drawn into a terrible war which has resulted in lost lives for no good reason. I say good luck to Mr Haw for upsetting the sensibilities of a few tidy minded politicians who should be campaigning for an immediate retreat from the mess in Iraq.

The display is indeed vulgar and pointless. That is not the point. Provisions of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 failed to stop this protest but it is skulking in the background, ready to be used against others. Those "others" might one day include those protesting against, say, petrol taxes; ID cards or the EU.

The camp is a damn sight less ugly than Portcullis House.

As things stand, whether you agree with Haw or not (and I don't in most ways), he is a reminder of a lost right of expression.

I can't for the life of me understand why Duncan is trying to help the Communists out by calling for Haw's removal. Let Haw sit there and embarrass New Labour until we've won the election and restored to the rest of us the rights we have lost since 1997.

Duncan is wrong the protest is not pointless, and he ought to take some advice from David Davies about civil liberties.

However I am sure a common sense approach would help clear up the mess!

The Labour government banned protest outside Parliament.


- instead of knocking someone that stood up to the Labour government and its desire to ban all protest and disent.

Tony @ 9.54. The illegal war. Whop says so? Oh yes, that wonderful institution the UN which as we know stands up for all that is right in the world and makes a difference. Except it doesn't. All it does is give terrible regimes from around the globe a sense of legitamacy, for example putting countries like Libya and Zimbabwe on it's human rights commission, or just sits around talking itself and the rest of the decent world to sleep.
We need to do away with the UN or radically change it so that it reflects the decent, democratic world, and not give sucker to despots and scoundrals.

Simon 11.07. You are right it is a terrible war. All war is terrible. But Iraq had consistantly gone against the rest of the world, and lets not forget started this. We should have finished Saddam in the first Gulf war, but once again the UN ran scared of it's responsibilities. But if we look at things dispassionately we are now fighting our real enemies in Iraq, not the streets of London, Birmingham or New York

Whatever the merits of his protest are, he is the sort of person that makes me proud to be British.

Duncan's spot on. These people need to clear off and get themselves jobs. Where does Haw get his money from?

This protest made its point long ago.

"Whatever the merits of his protest are, he is the sort of person that makes me proud to be British."

That we are a free country that allows such protests makes me proud. Haw himself is barking.

Speakers' Corner on a Sunday is the right place for these people to bleat their anti-American slogans - not Parliament Square. Quite why this 'dirty protest' is permitted in the heart of Westminster I cannot understand. This is not 'free speech' - it's a bunch of pacifist lefties parading their love of squalor. Personally, I'd turn the water cannon on them!

"I'm all for free speech but..."
Posted by: RichardJ

Oh dear. So you're not for free speech. I love all the talk of freedom and liberty from people, but any opportunity to quash it is grabbed when the people using this right are on the Left.

Haw is horrible. The protest is aesthetically ugly. He's been there too long. That's his right though. I totally support him regardless of his cause.

Is there such a thing as a nice war? Come along then, tell us about a war that gets a five star approval rating on the nice-war-ometer?

Is Iraq a purposeless war? Not if the purpose is to kill terrorists on an industrial scale. It’s a meat grinder or if you like your images a little less visceral think about wasps swarming around a sticky jam jar and then drowning en masse.

Iraq is now in its tertiary military phase with the US surge marking the beginning of the end. The civil population eventually gives up on housing terrorism and turns informant and without civilian support both active and tacit the terrorists lose their ability to operate.

It is only because these tedious and largely pointless "protestors" are of the left and have the support of many British Muslims that they have been allowed to perpetrate this eyesore for so long when the rest of us cannot even march upon Parliament without police permission any more.

If this protest were, for example, against any further immigration into Britain or in support of fox hunting, or against the persecution of motorists then it would have been unceremoniously removed by force long ago.

At a time when the situation in Iraq is finally improving (yes it is Tony Makara even if you don't like to admit it)and the people there are rejecting the Al Quaeda inspired insurgency and stand a chance of a return to normality there is even less justification for these obsessive and borderline bonkers individuals to be allowed to continue with their outdated and irrelevent protest in a way that you or I cannot.

The Parliament Square protest is a mess and Brian Haw does come across as a deluded and attention-seeking individual, but such protests are part of our democracy and should be allowed.

Andrew Hemsted, because Britain and the United States choose to ignore the UN does not render the UN to be without value. The UN does a lot of very good humanitarian work, often unnoticed, and is the best forum for international debate and conflict resolution. Although not perfect by any means, the UN is still a force for good.

It is time for this protest to be wound up, but not in order to establish a 'no protest' principle. I find no merit in the argument that people should be allowed to erect, without planning permission, this eyesore so close to the Mother of Parliaments. Yes, individuals have the right to protest, but they don't have the right to turn the heart of the nation's democracy into a vulgar, irritating circus.

Incidentally, before someone tries to have a go at me for being 'antidemocratic', please establish a priori the democratic basis for a group of lunatics making the place look untidy. Now get me a G&T.

Let them protest as much as they like and wherever they like but I always thought thet there was a law against vagrancy which this camp apears to be. They should go home or rent property near to Parliament and travel daily to do their protesting if they want to carry on with it

It should be remembered that the only reason the protesters never leave is that if they do so they would fall victim to the ban on protesting outside Parliament without prior permission. If this government hadn't made Brian Haw the only person legally allowed to protest their without the authorities' say so than he would probably have toddled off long ago AND the rest of us would be free to protest outside our Parliament when we wanted. The law of unintended consequences strikes big governments more than small ones.

Regardless of what that guy protests about I defend the absolute right of him or anyone else to protest peacefully. It is anti-liberty idiots like Duncan that are a danger to our democracy. My opinion of him has dropped massively.

Tony, I agree the UN does a lot of good work, but that is when it is staying out of the political arena and concentrating on humanitarian work.

As a political force to change the world it's systems are nearly useless. Just look at all the major and various issues it has not helped on recently, like Suden for example. We need to get past this comfortable feeling that we need the UN's approval to do anything about the major problems of this world. If we wait for the UN, nothing will get done.

As for the protest, let him stay. Free speech never hurt anyone.

There is no 'absolute right' to protest in this way, and it's ludicrous to argue that. I would have no problem at all with Brian Haw (Britain's premier Ian Brown impersonator) protesting on the square, but nobody should be allowed the apparent carte blanche to put up what amounts to political advertising hoardings in Parliament Square. Can someone explain to me what is functionally different? If nobody can, perhaps we should erect a massive stylised oak, outlining our protests against other objectionable government policies?

'The illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq, based on a Bush's and Blair's lies, has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians. It has cost British and American people trillions of dollars and the lives of hundreds of soldiers. I call that far more vulgar and pointless than any protest in Parliament Square.'

Posted by: Libertarian

I wonder if Alan Duncan's little tantrum is the twitching of his conscience ? After all, he supported the war just as mindlessly as the rest of the sheep.

I'm with Thom on this one.... the only reason most people have put up with the ugly protest for so long (and why I backed off the throttle to prevent running him over once as he ran across the road) is that people are supporting his right to protest.
Allow people to wander around there with an impromptu banner every so often and Haw's eyesore will vanish of it's own accord.

But of course government never removes laws, just adds bodge patches to try and smooth over the cracks.

Ugly it is, as are our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, there is already quite enough assault on our civil liberties. We read today that the Pensions Regulator [!] has written to an young investigative journalist threatening her with prison if she does not divulge the source of an entirely factual report that she made concerning the Regulator's operations.
That is so bizarre as to be almost comical.


Dorian Grape wrote "@Libertarian

Yawn. Go and cut and paste somewhere else please."

I don't cut and paste. Don't the lives of innocent civilians and our soldiers matter to you? Why don't you take your bloodthirsty, warmongering, pro-torture, neo-conservative views elsewhere?

Hi Libertarian

‘Don't the lives of innocent civilians and our soldiers matter to you? Why don't you take your bloodthirsty, warmongering, pro-torture, neo-conservative views elsewhere?’

A bit tetchy for a Libertarian.

Here’s a question. Why would Bushy and Poodle go to war for no reason whatsoever and, allegedly, against international law?


(A)They are innately evil and the spawn of Beelzebub?

(B)They are both complete thickets with big cone shaped hats with D written on the front?

(C)Given that Al-Qaeda suicide monkeys are a bugger to find why not make them come to you rather than tying down global resources? Projecting power in a couple of countries is a considerably more effective and exponentially less expensive than playing cat and mouse around the globe.

It’s called cynicism BTW. How would you deal with the clear and present danger? And no, you can’t regress to 1920s Palestine and then shout Bliar a lot. Say something useful.

Except of course Dorian al-queda didn't exist in Iraq before 2003. We didn't have to go far to look for them they were in Afghanistan! If we and the US prosecuted that war properly without getting into a sideshow in Iraq perhaps Al-queda would be in worse shape than they are today.
Of your options I do indeed think Bush wears a big pointy hat with a D on it. Blair is different, I think this selfish egotist genuinely thought it would be easy and he could emulate Mrs Thatcher over the Falklands. It's such a shame so many good men and women had to be killed or maimed before he was proved wrong.

It's the Iraq and Afghanistan wars that are vulger, pointless and unwinnable. See little difference in our invasions of these countries and Russia's brutality in Georgia. Our protests are hypocritical.

However,where are all the leftist protesters against Russia in Georgia, Mugabe, China in Tibet/Darfour (and China) and France's involvement in the Rwandan Genocide?

Who among us could hope to show the resolve and sacrifice the outright commitment to stand one’s ground come what may against the sea of evil wrongdoing in Iraq? Hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi men women and children died by the hands of the coalition of the willing that blew off the limbs of women and the scalps of children.

The use of depleted uranium weapons, left the battlefields radioactive, children dying from cancer mother’s giving birth to hideously deformed babies. After having destroyed the entire infrastructure of their country including hospitals, electricity generators, and water treatment plants sanctions stopped the import of goods and consequently more than a million children and infants, have died because of those sanctions.

"To initiate a war of aggression," said the judges in the Nuremberg trial of the Nazi leadership, "is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole. ", Brian Haw and friends rightly never want those responsible to forget their supreme crime in their unprovoked invasion in breach of the most basic law of civilised people.

To hell with the discomfort of the likes of Mr Duncan it is but a drop in the ocean compared with the daily agony of the Iraqi people and, those that behaved in the manner of a Nazi, when they knew, there never was any WMD should be reminded of their accumulated evil of the whole, their war crimes that will one day be revisited upon the people of this nation that will have to pay "the blood price" because unlike Brian Haw and friends others chose to bury their head in the sand and dismissed the atrocities against the Iraqi people and in the doing of it seal the bloody fate of this nation.

Long live Brian Haw and friends reminiscent of the principles of a sense of right and wrong now all but forgotten in the minds and hearts of the sheepish populace of this country .

The palace of westminster is a beautiful symbol of British democracy, but a still greater symbol is that of a few people allowed to protest 24 hours a day outside of its gates. Whether they're looney left or fascist right to let them stay there wouls show extraordicary democratic spirit!

Remember that the laws that were passed to thwart Brian Haw have been used to thwart to prevent other less visible protests in and around Parliament and Whitehall. They are part of Labour's plans to use a police state to quash dissent. Haw, of course, won his court battle against them.

‘their war crimes that will one day be revisited upon the people of this nation that will have to pay "the blood price"’

‘and in the doing of it seal the bloody fate of this nation.’

Hi John Holmes,

Your portentous Nostradamus like ramblings would be more scary-Mary if you changed your name. Visions of John Holmes the 1970s large winkled mullet haired specialist performer in specialist movies spoil the impact somewhat.

It's like Linda Lovelace saying:

‘May your entrails boil in the in the eternal torment of hell’s fiery cauldron’

Just doesn’t quite work, does it?

"We didn't have to go far to look for them they were in Afghanistan! If we and the US prosecuted that war properly without getting into a sideshow in Iraq perhaps Al-queda would be in worse shape than they are today."

Malcolm Dunn, sorry that's not correct, the problem we have is the anti war demonstrators twisted the agenda to fulfil their anti American stance, blotting out all the debate with their 'its all about oil' that no one bothered to stop and ask themselves what was feeding the Al Queada terrorists?

Would you like to hazard a guess, what motivated Bin Laden and Al Queada to attack the US?

Well let me take you back to the first Gulf war, Bin Laden offered the Saudis to bring his fighters to wage war on Saddam’s occupied Kuwait. The Saudis of course said thanks but no thanks, and invited the coalition forces into Saudi Arabia. This, infidel forces in the Islamic holy land, for Bin Laden and the Wahabis was an intolerable insult. You have got to understand that it was the originator of the Wahabis religion, Muhammad Bin Abdul Wahab and his religious warriors who helped bring the Saudi Royal family to power. When Ibn Saud re-took Riyadh from the Rashids it was as Imam of the Wahabis, and when the Ikhawn brotherhood, a development of the Wahabi religious warriors thought the Saudi Royal family was straying from the Islamic path by allowing in such items as cars and the telephones into Saudi Arabia they rebelled in 1913.

So what was going to happen when infidel forces were stationed in Saudi Arabia , first to kick Saddam out of Kuwait, then stationed there to keep Saddam bottled up? It doesn't need much to figure it out, that was the main reason why the US was being attacked by Al Queada. So Saddam and Iraq was integral to the problem. Dealing with Al Queada in Afghanistan was never going to deal with the underlying problem feeding the terrorist movement. So the means to remove the terrorists cause was for the US to get its forces out of Saudi Arabia. They either did this and left Saddam in power, where oil resources would eventually allow him to rebuild his military strength to threaten world oil supplies, or to get rid of Saddam and get out of Saudi Arabia , giving the Saudis space to deal with the terrorists, which is what has happened.

I applaud the fact that they or other protesters can be there. Messy or not, it's one of the best adverts for our country there could be.

Returning home after deployment once I found my home taken over by squatters. That night after I'd bought a few rounds in the Senior Rates' Mess a few of the larger lads popped over and politely invited them to leave - which they did.

Removing the 1 mile exclusion zone for legitimate marches and protests is one thing (and should be a priority for us when in power) because it is a sign of a vibrant democracy. Letting people set up eyesores for years who will probably end up claiming squatters rights and 'owning' parts of Parliament Square is a whole different cup of tuna.

Does anyone know if this guy has undergone psychological evaluation? He seems to have some clinically obsessive disorder.

And Dorian Grape - I'll never read another post by 'John Holmes' without that same mental image now. Thanks :-)

Has anyone thought of asking Brian Haw if he intends leaving when the troops withdraw from Iraq, or is he staying for Afghanistan withdrawal as well?
I think incredible that the only person who can protest in this way is Brain Haw himself. But, as I understand it, to retain that right he has to stay there continuously, or near enough. Do you think some mischievous libertarian sabotaged the law-making or are Labour that thick?
I agree fully that that raft of legislation should be hoicked out completely and rethought.

This is a silly thing for Alan Duncan to say. It is wrong-headed. But he should also have more important points to make to the national press at this stage of the political cycle. There can be no justification for it in terms of Conservative principles.

Let it go on , it does demonstrate the difference between democracies and communist/muslim/dictatorship states , the latter would never allow a demonstration outside their Parliament building which was diametrically opposed to Government policy

Presumably, 'Haw' is not his real name? A reference perhaps to Lord Haw Haw of 2nd World War fame?

A lot of people will now look on Mr Duncan as being undemocratic and perhaps even unpatriotic as well.
I'm one of them who now looks on Mr Duncan as being both of these things.
In fact,he is hardly a Conservative at all.

the un does not do good humantarian work if you count doing bugger all in most trouble spots in the world including zimbabwe -sitting by whilst hundreds of thousands of people died in rwanda and eastern europe in 1990s , rape scandals in africa recently and putting zimbabwe as the head of the sustainable development un Comission -whilst doing nothing to stop the trigger of the israel -hezbollah war -that being hezbollah crossing into israel, not to mention the oil for food scandal - all show the UN is not fit for purpose in whatever it does , it is corrupt , weak and not needed - a league of democracies would be better.

'a league of democracies would be better.'

Posted by: stephen hoffman

We've already a league of democracies. It's called NATO.

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