Sunday, 17 August 2008

Westwood Cross: bring your money, but not your ideas

Thanet NO2ID recently attempted to campaign at the Westwood Cross shopping centre in Broadstairs. Though some people dislike Westwood Cross there is no denying its popularity and we were keen to see if we could make a dent in this privatised zone of unlimited consumption.

Our attempt was always a long shot and sure enough it was not to be. Within about one minute of setting up (in a discreet spot, in nobody’s way and not interfering with any advertising) a black-suited security man toting a walkie-talkie came over and indicated by his body language that we were not welcome. I went over and engaged with this man, in my usual diplomatic manner, and he confirmed that without permission from the management we had to pack up and move on. Before leaving I tried to secure permission from the said management to campaign and they told me to contact a company called “Space and People”, based in Glasgow of all places, to seek permission, but the management man (always a man) added that anything “political” was basically not going to be allowed.

Of course, we are not going to contact that company—why should we? Here is Thanet, not Glasgow. After leaving Westwood Cross we took our campaign to Ramsgate where we got a good response from the good Thanet/Ramsgate public. But it bothers me that an important site of struggle has been closed off to us.

Some people might say that at least Westwood Cross is being consistent in not allowing any political campaigning. But actually there is no such thing as a neutral political position and by not allowing political campaigning Westwood Cross effectively serves the interests of the ruling class who increasingly seek to keep us all in line with CCTV and yet more rules about what we can and cannot do. Is this really a free country?


Anonymous said...

No such thing as free... I think most of us aim for reasonably self directed best out of three.

Gary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gary said...

Well, "free" is a relative concept obvioulsy. There was a time when people in this country would say "It's a free country" when some busybody tried to stop them doing something. The phrase people will be using ten years from now is "We're not free anymore." The concept of freedom means so much more when it has been denied you...
I don't know what "most of us aim for reasonably self directed best out of three" means, and whilst I welcome all comments I should warn that I reserve the right not to publish poorly expressed and/or aggressive comments in future. I also won't accept pasted in chunks of text or links. You don't have to agree with me, but a comment must be relevant to the post.

Gary said...

Note: the second comment above removed was my own, deleted due to a typo error

Rick said...


Do you watch "New Tricks" ?

Lovely Supt Pullman and the team of old codgers ? (Love the show)

Did you watch "The Professionals" old Bodey and Doyle and George Cowley ?

Dr Ladyman seems to like the new version of reality that is implicit in such entertainment.

But how many people, who claim to champion "Freedom", have objected or even noticed the fallacies at law which support even light entertainment plots ?

In Thanet we have bloggers who aggrandize themelves by claiming to represent Freedom of Expression.

But then they write things like "I don't want to face a legal juggernaut" So in fact they are play acting at freedom and they are subordinated already by their personal lack of bottle.

And another (anonymous) blogger whose site disappeared for a while at the first smell of powder. The same anon blogger who backed off from a former IoT Gazette journo because he feared that with NUJ backing the guy could afford to litigate.

And another who wrote he would use his name but with the talk of BNP he has his family to think about. No bottle. What is he saying really ? He is saying can someone else deal with the problem, can someone else take the risks he perceives, he is just yet one more bottleless Thanet oxygen thief.

I don't trust anyone who claims to promote freedom unless they also talk about how they are upholding their INDIVIDUAL obligations, duties and responsibilities.

Gary said...

No, I haven't seen that show Rick, but I think I know what you're saying...
About blogging, I really don't see the point of a blog (I have three, one is redundant) unless it's linked to some kind of project or direct action. Otherwise, yes it is a lot of hot air. And isn't it the case that when you are trying to do something constructive you tend to get one of two reactions from the hot air bloggers: people ignore you, or (jealous) they try to belittle you, or downplay your influence. Anyway, we'll keep fighting our corner :)