Law snubbed by MP and a jury
Democracy was dealt a triple blow by the Brighton acquittal: by the ‘activists’, the court, and the Green Party’s MP
Last week's acquittal of seven so-called "activists" who had been charged with having caused some £200,000 worth of criminal damage at a Brighton arms factory, must concern to all of us who wish to uphold the rule of law in this country.
What does it mean, to uphold "the rule of law"? Well, it involves us electing a parliament to make laws on our behalf, laws that we are all bound by - whether or not we like them.
If we do not like these laws, the way forward is for us to try and persuade our elected representatives to change them. At the limit, we can always decline to re-elect those representatives with whose approach to law-making we disagree.
It also means that the law is "blind". There is not, in this country, one law for the favoured few, but another for the disfavoured many. Or one law for so-called "activists" but another for the rest of us.
There is not, in this country, one law for the favoured few, another for the disfavoured many
At least that was what I thought until I read about the Brighton case. Before the court were seven thugs - sorry, "activists" - who had taken it upon themselves to break into and smash up the premises of Messrs EDO MBM. They did so, they told the court, because they believed this company was breaking export regulations by selling military equipment to Israel.
So, they argued, they were fully justified in smashing the place up, since in so doing they were merely ensuring that the law was being upheld. And, after duly deliberating, the jury acquitted the "activist" seven, whom we can now expect to continue their rampageous activities - merely, of course, to ensure the rule of law.
Messrs EDO MBM denied that they supplied military components to Israel. But suppose they had been so engaged. If such exports contravened British law, you might have thought that the correct course of action would have been to report the matter to the police.
If such exports were lawful, you might have thought that there was nothing further to be done then and there, but that it was always open to the thugs - oops - "activists" to lobby their respective MPs, and/or the government, with a view to having the law changed.
Well, you or I, as law-abiding citizens, might have thought either of these thoughts. But the "activist" seven thought differently. As did the jury.
This is not the first time that an English court has acquitted thugs (dammit) "activists" who have taken it upon themselves to interfere with the lawful activities of fellow citizens.
Two years ago, some half-dozen individuals were acquitted after having interfered with the operation of Kingsnorth power station.
Some years previously, a number of defendants were acquitted after having wantonly destroyed a field of genetically-modified crops being cultivated in complete accordance with the law.
Environmental fascism (for that is what it is) is, in fact, becoming increasingly common, encouraged by amoral juries. But what is particularly shocking about the EDO MBM case is that Caroline Lucas, the Green party MP for the Brighton Pavilion constituency, actually testified on behalf of the "activists," declaring that she believed "all democratic paths had been exhausted" and that direct action was inevitable.
In the first place, to declare that "all democratic paths" had been exhausted is factually - and I suspect mischievously - incorrect. If Ms Lucas is referring (as she might well be) to the malevolent intentions of certain interests to bring about a complete embargo on the shipment of military equipment from the UK to Israel, it is always open to her to introduce a private member's bill.
Why does she not do so? Because such a bill would almost certainly fail. Hence her blessing to those thugs (dah! "activists") who resort to "direct action".
This is pure, unadulterated fascism. It is one thing for a group of middle-aged - but essentially adolescent - "activists" to believe themselves justified in resorting to "activism" (thuggery) when they know they cannot achieve their ends through democratic means. And it is one thing for a jury to agree with them, but it is quite another for an elected Member of Parliament to endorse this view.
If I were to ransack Ms Lucas's office, and to claim that I did this because I genuinely believed that Ms Lucas was aiding and abetting illegal thuggery, would the esteemed member for Brighton Pavilion (I wonder) speak up in my defence?