Good Laws and Bad Laws

In medieval times the people judged their King as being good or being bad according to the laws that the King brought into being. The people knew that there were good laws and bad laws and instinctively understood which laws were good and which laws were bad. Kings and prophets were givers of law. The people understood that they needed law and that they must live by the rule of law.

Things are more complicated today.

The law givers are parliaments and legislatures, not Kings. The laws are complicated, more complicated than ever, and that makes it harder to judge whether the laws given are good laws or bad laws. The laws are also interpreted in ways that have led to unintended consequences and unintended consequences in democracies usually result in oppression of the people.

One of the ways that we, as the people, make our feelings known to our servants, the government is to protest, especially when there is no immediate prospect of being able to make our feelings known through the ballot box. In London there are regulations about protesting in two places which have for hundred years or more been sites on protest; one place is Parliament Square and the other place is Trafalgar Square.

In 2005 Parliament passed an act making it illegal to protest within one kilometre of Parliament without permission. Obviously it was thought that spontaneous demonstrations of feeling were undesirable, that is to say undesirable for the politicians as opposed to being undesirable for teh people.

After much pressure the law was changed and now there are regulations which govern you in either of these places.

These regulations make a number of what I consider to be artificial crimes. For example an “authorised person” (whoever that may be) can demand your name and address and you must give it to that authorised person, if the authorised person has reasonable grounds for believing that you have contravened one or more of the bye laws.

I suppose it means that if someone in a yellow high visibility vest bearing the logo of G4 or any other “security” company demands your name and address you must provide because if you do not you will commit a crime. Presumably being in these places for any reason except to applaud and cheer the political classes who work nearby must create reasonable suspicion that you have contravened one of the bye laws. 

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