As you may have heard there was a series of worldwide protests against Capitalist Greed in many cities including London. I would have been there myself but was travelling unfortunately. However, what caught my ear was the story regarding the police clearing people from the steps of St Pauls Cathedral. Have the police never heard of the principle of Church Sanctuary? This is a millennia old tradition that regards churches and other Holy sites as the house of god. And it seems god doesnt like PC plod wandering around his house dressed up in riot gear/body armour, with pepper spray, cuffs and Tasers hanging from his belt, walloping hippies over the head while shouting obscenities (Maybe Phelps should be outside with a God hates Cops sign?). And no, this isnt something that you heard about in a Highlander film, its a real historical principle. It was not unheard of for criminals in the Middle Ages to run into the nearest church and take advantage of the sanctuary the church offered from arrest (I bet the medieval version of the Daily Mail kept on going on and on about that one and those liberal, criminal loving, bleeding heart, priest, next think you know theyll be wanting a human rights act!). It should be noted that many other religions (Islam, Judaism, Hinduism in fact pretty much all religions aside from Scientology and Evangelical Christians!) hold similar rules that regard churches as sacred places beyond the jurisdiction of any office of state.
While the Arch Bishop urged the protestors to remain peaceful, during his sermon this morning, he made clear that he very much prefer for the coppers to get lost and I dont know maybe go find some real criminals to arrest (like you know drug dealers, thieving bankers, Bullington club members, Murdoch, etc.)
So the coppers now reckon they are not only above the nations law, but above gods laws too. This country badly needs a proper written constitution as this would sort this matter out. On the one hand it would restrict the powers of the police and limit the ability of governments to pass silly draconian knee jerk laws to placate the tabloids (anti-social behaviour orders being a start). On the other hand it would establish the limits of the human rights act on British law, unlike the current situation where its left up to judges , or where fearful that judges might rule against them, people have to act in the most absurd ways (as I discuss in this post).
But what are the consequences for the police if they refuse to push off. Well in the Middle ages it would be a matter of instant excommunication BOTH for the coppers in question and theyre ultimate commander that would be Boris! Id love to see the look on his face when the goatskin bound edict from the archbishop arrives! Of course Im quite sure if that happened plod would just ignore it and issue ASBO the Archbishop.
In fact Jesus Christ could come back, start his second coming in London and the chances are that within the hour hed be Tasered, Pepper sprayed and clubbed by the coppers and issued with a ASBO and a visit from the Health and Safety executive for holding an unofficial gathering. He starts doing his feeding of the 5,000 and theyd do him for violation of Food standards and raising the dead hed be collared for unlicensed medical practice. Indeed Im pretty sure that at the end of his first day hed have broken the cross over his knee said feck this and gone off and joined the Hari Krishnas.