The English Democrats Party, campaigning in Henley, have been forced by the Police to remove a table bedecked with red and white bunting, citing a local by-law that they have so far failed to provide any details of. As the English flag is their logo, this makes it understandably difficult for them to go about their business.
This mysterious by-law banning the use of the English flag doesn’t seem to apply to the local CofE church though, the table the EDP had set up was in full view of the church proudly flying the English flag.
It also apparently doesn’t apply to the “butcher’s apron” – red, white and blue bunting is apparently all over the town.
The full story is in the Brussels Journal:
English Democrats Harassed by Police for Flying the Flag
From the desk of A. Millar on Fri, 2008-06-27 17:10
Threats of prosecution or fines for flying the England flag in England is not new, and perhaps it should come as no surprise, then, that the English Democrats party – which uses the flag in its promotional material – is reporting that it has become a target of such intimidation. Yet it is different for one very significant reason: that there has been a longstanding, unspoken rule that political parties in Britain should not be harassed by the police, particularly when campaigning. We accustom such behavior with dictatorship, not democracy.
The incident occurred when candidate Derek Allpass and his team were out campaigning on June 21, for the Henley by-election (held June 26). They had set up a table with promotional material, and strung bunting sporting the red cross of St. George around it. However, the team was soon approached by the police and the Town Clerk, the latter of whom allegedly told Allpass, “we don’t want that flag here in Henley.” Darren Riley, the Party’s Kent Chairman, responded by pointing a church that was close by, and likewise flying the England flag (because it was under the denomination of the Church of England), and remarked, “if you don’t want England’s flag flying in Henley you had better take this up with the Vicar too.”
Nevertheless, the authorities claimed that the display of the flag by the English Democrats breached a by-law, and instructed them to remove both the table and bunting. The by-law in question has yet to be shown to the party, though as the town was also strewn with red, white, and blue bunting (signifying the United Kingdom, as opposed to England), one can only wonder how peculiarly specific it must be. There were several witnesses, and the party intends to issue the Town Clerk with a Section 65 Race Relations Act Questionnaire if the by-law does not state what was claimed.
The English Democrats team complied with the request – though not before taking photographs of the display – and continuing their campaigning. Henley is a Conservative safe seat, and was held by Boris Johnson until recently, who prompted the election when he resigned to concentrate on his position as London Mayor.
And the British foreign minister, David Milliband, has the nerve to appear in front of TV cameras and criticise the Zimbabwean tyrant, Robert Mugabe, when agents of the British state are harassing an English political party for displaying the English flag?