Thursday, March 29, 2007

My Life in Serious Organised Crime

I have just heard the funniest radio show of my entire life: Mark Thomas on Radio 4 in My Life in Serious Organised Crime about messing about with the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act, or SOCPA for short, the law that requires you to get permission from the police to demonstrate in (or near) Parliament Square.

EDIT ** Just found out Mark has an MP3 of the show avaialble on his site here which wilkl be useful when the BBC listen again stops on 5th April **

What counts as a demonstration according to the police is one person with a banner or one person with a badge or one person handing out one leaflet, standing in Parliament Square for just one minute and you have to get permission - in effect a licence - in order to demonstrate.

Amongst the absurdities this law has produced is an occasion where a woman was threatened with arrest for having a picnic in Parliament Square because her cake had the word PEACE iced upon it and the police insisted this counted as an unauthorised political protest.


You will need RealPlayer (or a plugin) or a compatible program to listen to the show and the warning before the program states that it contains extremely strong language: there are four (six if you count "crap" and "poop") swear words in the program (one of which has been bleeped) but please don't let that put you off.

When you've listened to the half-hour program and had a good laugh. Have a look at Mark's own website:
Mark Thomas Info | Information and consider showing up on the third Wednesday of every month to take part in one of the mass lone demonstrations. Don't forget to get your application in at least a week in advance by hand delivery or registered post.

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