OK, this post should have been done 6 weeks ago. What can I say, I'm lazy.
The image is the two sides of an A5 flyer the police gave out to each person who chose to take part in the "Northern Climate Rush" at Manchester Airport in January 09 . No "ticket", no progression through the revolving doors.
That sound you hear is Kafka chortling, with a Max Weber chuckle in the background.
The police, to "Facilitate your protest" were willing and able to say how many, where and when and how long this little 'disruption' (sic) would continue. You can hardly blame them of course. Given their responsibilities and the danger of real egg on face, who would have done anything differently?
But you can wonder at the tactical nous of the protestors, announcing exactly where you will be and what you will do months in advance, when nimbleness is about all you have going for you. What did they hope to acheive by this?!
So, let's look at the balance of forces after this little event.
Now have dozens of photos of every single person willing to walk through an intimidating paparazzi to exercise their democratic rights.
Have doubtless racked up some impressive overtime payments processing this vital intelligence.
The Airport Security and PR teams
Feel relieved that they didn't have to do a public debate like after the very recent (i.e. November 2007) previous action.
Um. What HAVE they achieved by this?
Other than damaging their own credibility by claiming there were nearly a hundred people there?
What do the people who attended now know that they didn't before? How were they inspired or empowered? What can they do that they couldn't before?
Was their time well-spent?
Maybe some felt it was, but the (admittedly few) that I spoke to didn't think so.
Did anyone watching make any connection at all?
God help us all.