In all our sanctuaries we sit at risk

Did someone turn the lights off ?


Last week-end, on Saturday 21st, mid-summer’s day, there was a demonstration in London involving 50,000 people. They were demonstrating against the “austerity cuts” of the UK’s Coalition Government. The police reported no arrests. It started just outside the BBC’s Broadcasting House and finished just outside the Houses of Parliament, two places closely associated with free speech and accountability, essential elements of a living democracy.

The word “demonstration” means literally “a showing.”  But a “showing” can only be truly accomplished if it is seen. There have to be witnesses present who broadcast reliably what was before their eyes. Then there has to be an audience available who want to listen and understand.

By that measure, the event on mid-summer’s day almost never happened, whatever those 50,000 people must have felt and seen and heard, whatever their reasons for being there under the mid-summer sun. For no newspaper except The Guardian seems to have reported the demonstration. And the BBC seemed to have been looking away from its own doorstep. How ? Why ? What is happening at the BBC ?

(A short and rather scant film without commentary went up on the BBC London website some time during the following day for a few hours, almost as if in apology. Here is the link : But I think my question is still valid. What is happening at the BBC ? Et tu, Brute ?)

A demonstration of 50,000 people in the capital is an event that matters across the nation. But it is possible that this failure to report it matters even more, its implications dire. The demonstration was a protest against disgraceful things being done to the poorest and most vulnerable members of our Society, by our own government, with our apparent assent. We need to address and face up to what is being done to our own people. This lack of notice by the media leaves them yet further cast out.

Thank you, The Guardian. Here was an example of a genuinely Free Press doing its work, recording and publishing issues that matter to us all. The work looks to be getting lonely.

Here are some links to more of the Free Press, doing lonely good work on behalf of our integrity :

And here is some short film of the event, I assume taken by a bystander :