Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Section 27 - now you know

Irlam, believe it or not, or more specifically the Railway Pub has found itself at the centre of an international debate on civil liberties. This relates to the well documented case of a group of Stoke City fans en route to Old Trafford. As many away fans can testify, it is customary these days to stop at a suburban pub miles from the away ground because of drink restrictions. Often it is not possible to go to a pub, as police insist you travel straight to and from the ground without stepping foot outside the stadium car park.

Section 27 was introduced (or rather sneaked onto the statute books, in 2006 as a reaction to concern over alcohol related violence. The law gives police the power to enforce the removal of any group or individual from a specified area for up to 48 hours.

However, the police seem to be waywardly using this power to target football fans in particular even when there is no suggestion of alcohol related violence, as would seem to be the case in Irlam. Section 27 eats at the very heart of British freedom - undermining any notion of innocent until proved guilty. But the ordinary British folk are now only beginning to feel the wrath of a progression of measures to control the movement of working class people - dating back to the outlawing of secondary picketing and restrictions placed on ravers and travellers in the 1980s to New Labour's Asbos. People are being denied basic rights on the basis of what they might do, not on what they have done (supported by evidence of the facts).

The police have been roundly criticised for their actions in Irlam and elsewhere. Following on from the terrors of the G20 protest in London, never has it been more necessary to police the police. But with Anti-terror legislation, ID cards, the illegalisation of even taking a photograph of the police - even policing the police may become an offence.

What is most annoying, is that I actually find myself agreeing with that spurious rag, the Daily Mail. Atlee and Bevan must be spinning in their graves!

Source:JAMES SLACK: Now this Kafkaesque State is even targeting sport. Will this clamp down on our liberty ever end? | Mail Online: "Section 27"

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