Saturday 2nd June 2007 saw Parliament Square peace campaigner Brian Haw clock up 6 years of his one-man protest against the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan. Brian has lived in London’s Parliament Square for 6 years – nearly 2,200 days and nights of eating, sleeping, and talking to passers-by opposite the so-called `Mother of all Parliaments`.
Around 100 well-wishers turned out for a party on Saturday afternoon. The event started at around 2.00pm and a small number of those present went on to protest outside the railings at Downing Street – just 100 yards from the Square. Those in the Square enjoyed a relatively relaxed afternoon of socialising and having a picnic. Thankfully for once the police presence was low key.
It was the day Tony Blair jetted off to the G8 in Germany while his successor Gordon Brown was in Glasgow. The BBC reported that `Gordon Brown has pledged he will lead a listening government, as contenders for the deputy leadership role in the Labour Party held hustings in Glasgow. ` Gordon Brown says he will listen – something Tony Blair is not very good at. Remember the old Private Eye joke when somebody asks Blair if he knows a million people are marching against him? He merely replies “no, hum it and I’ll ignore you.” The caption was `Tone deaf shock`.
Ignore is sadly what the mainstream media has done to Brian Haw, there was nothing in the Sunday Times, the Observer, The News of the World or the Sunday Express. A search of the BBC website revealed nothing more recent than previous court cases.
It is absolutely disgraceful that a man who has lived in the most Spartan of fashions for over 2,000 consecutive days and nights for something he genuinely believes in should be so little reported. While Tony Blair and George Bush will be gorging themselves on champagne and caviar in their £1,000 a night suites in the 5 star Kempinski hotel by the Baltic, Brian has to made do with a roll up cigarette and a mug of tea and sandwich. He then sleeps unguarded, but watched by dozens of surveillance cameras, under the stars. By contrast Bush, Blair et al will be guarded by half of Germany’s police and army. Brian has had his nose broken twice during his protest – once by an American and another time by an Israeli. If anyone deserves a good punch on the noise it is surely Dubya and Bliar - yet no one can get enough close to them to give them a `biff on the boko`.
While Tony Blair has a £3.5 million house in Connaught Square to move in to when he vacates 10 Downing Street, Brian’s humble domicile will continue to be a camp bed on the grass of Parliament Square.
Blair is likely to receive £1 million for his memoirs and will spend the rest of his life in the greatest of comfort. The victims of his policies, who number millions, are likely to live the rest of whatever life they have left in the greatest of misery.
The struggle for justice must go on and the anti-war and anti-globalisation movements could surely have no finer inspiration than the man in the Square, Brian Haw.
20 photos of the day are attached.
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