Saturday, August 01, 2009

BGG: Inspector should swear affidavit to banish doubt

I have just sent this to Chief Inspector Paul Richards, who was involved in bringing down the BGG.

Dear Chief Inspector Richards

The Big Green Gathering (BGG) is a long-established, peaceful and principled festival with a strong emphasis on sustainability. This year's Gathering has been cancelled, to the inconvenience and frustration of many would-be attendees, and to the loss of many in Somerset who would have profited from the Gathering.

I am aware of the objections put by the Licensing Authority. When looked at closely, each of these objections becomes rather insubstantial. There has been an increasing insistence by the Licensing Authority year on year on ever-more expensive security, despite the historic lack of criminal activity at the BGG. This leads some to entertain the notion that the authorities would rather that the BGG did not take place at all.

It is within this context that an allegation by one witness has gained currency. The allegation is that you personally admitted after a meeting that you had been under political pressure to block the BGG this year.

A correspondent tells me that you have denied making this statement. The witness nevertheless stands by his or her statement.

I suggest that the most effective way for you to terminate the perception that A&S police received some kind of political pressure is for you to issue an affidavit to the effect that you have never in any way, neither by hint, innuendo, instruction or command, from politicians whether elected members of Parliament, Ministers, Government officials, or any other agent of government, encountered any encouragement, incentive or pressure to block, hinder, or bring about an injunction on the BGG 2009.

In that way, the perception that this ban on the festival would be banished from all but the most unreasonable minds.

I an most grateful to you for considering this suggestion, and await your reply with interest.

Yours sincerely

Richard Lawson


DocRichard said...

Paul Richards has declined to make such an affidavit. The effect of this decision is to pass up on an opportunity to scotch the supposition that the ban was politically motivated.

I'm sure you can guess. ;) said...

Will you share what he did say?

DocRichard said...

This is what he wrote:

Dear Mr Lawson,

I am grateful for your advice on this issue. However the position of the Constabulary and my own position is well documented in our official press releases together with those of Mendip District Council. Accordingly I have no intention of adding fuel to the fire of the conspiracy theories by following your suggested course of action.

Kind regards

Paul Richards

HL said...

Fair play. He's damned if he does, and he's damned if he doesn't.

There is nothing like an official denial to confirm that something is true. ;)

DocRichard said...

Well, not quite. If he were to swear an affidavit, he would quash the supposition that there was political pressure, except in the minds of the most hard-core disbelievers in official rectitude.

Given that he has not taken up the offer, he is either allowing us to believe that there was pressure, or he is ignorant of the weight of opinion that there was political pressure.