“We must not sleepwalk into a police state by stealth” – Letter to Sheryll Murray MP from a constituent

Photo by Marc Pell on Unsplash

Dear Sheryll

The House of Lords is soon to be reading and amending the Police, Crime, Courts and Sentencing Bill. Protest is a fundamental part of our democracy and any measures, however seemingly innocuous, that aim to curb peaceful protest in any way should not be included in any of the laws of a modern free nation.

Any erosion of freedom, no matter how small, goes against what we have fought many wars and sacrificed many soldiers to fight against in the past. Letting our freedoms be eroded by stealth dishonours those past fighters and puts all of us at risk, because what actually constitutes “annoyance and inconvenience?”

Protest by women in the past has directly and absolutely correctly led to women getting the vote and female MPs being elected. Without their “annoyance and disruption” in the past then I would probably be writing to a male upper class MP right now instead of to a self-made female one like yourself.

Protest by workers led to health and safety so that now death by preventable accident at work is major news as opposed to an everyday hazard. 

We must not sleepwalk into a police state by stealth and I ask you to accept it the Lords’ amendment of the protest segment of the bill when it returns to the commons. 

I do not agree with every protestor out there. I abhor the EDL for their views, and I both dislike and pity anti-vaccine protestors in equal measure for their misguided world vision. But I would fight to my last breath to give them all the right to peacefully protest no matter how much I disagree with them or however much it “inconveniences or annoys” me because that is how democracy should work.

It should not be up to the Home Secretary or the police to decide who can or cannot exercise their fundamental right to challenge those with power. 

I await your response and hope that you vote with conscience and with common sense instead of along party lines when the vote comes to the house.

Kind regards

Carl Garner