Monday, 29 August 2011

For a secular Europe (London 17th Sept)

If you live in England and read this blog I hope you will seriously consider joining this event in London on 17th September 2011.  (I'm giving you nearly three weeks advance notice!) 

Last September, the Protest the Pope March was a great day out for a great cause, and I expect that this one will be just as good.  These points come from the web site for the Secular Europe Campaign:

We promote:
  • freedom of religion, freedom of conscience and freedom of speech
  • women’s equality and reproductive rights
  • equal rights for LGBT people in all the European Union
  • a secular Europe – democratic, peaceful, open and just, immune to the clandestine influence of privileged religious (or other) organisations
  • one law for all, no religious exemptions from the law
  • state neutrality in matters of religion and belief
We oppose:
  • the privileged status of the churches under Article 17 of the TFEU (Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union)
  • the special status of the Vatican in the United Nations
  • state-funded faith schools
  • the economic privilege and political influence of the Vatican

The reporting of last year's event did betray the bias of the UK media in a typical way.  On the same day the pope was holding mass in Hyde Park and the organisers said that 80,000 people had attended.  The biased BBC of course reported this as fact, in an evening news programme, devoting about 15 minutes of air time to the event.

Meanwhile the peaceful protest march was attended by quite a few people as well, including a good many Roman Catholics who disagreed with the doctrines of their church.  At the end of the march it filled Whitehall for several hundred metres blocking all the traffic and limiting access to Downing Street.

The BBC reported this in a subtly different way.  For a start they generously devoted a whole 20 or 30 second slot to it, and they said:

"The organisers claim that about 20,000 people attended, but the police were unable to confirm this".  

That is what passes for balanced reporting from the UK Government's official purveyor of propaganda.  The police probably knew exactly how many were there (and maybe could have given the BBC the mobile phone numbers, e-mail and postal addresses of most of us).  No doubt was shed about the number of pilgrims attending mass, but the BBC indulged in the age old trick of 'poisoning the well' when reporting the march.

I'm looking forward to being there on September 17th.  Maybe I will have chance to meet you!

p.s.  Did you notice that in the background of the first photograph you can see the Athenaeum Hotel, with one of Patrick Blanc's famous and beautiful 'Living Walls'.  Maybe I will do another post about these soon.

1 comment:

krissthesexyatheist said...

Sounds awesome, but it would be a long bike ride for me from Nor Cal. Have fun tho, and win.