You may like to watch the video of Oxford’s finest trying to arrest Oxford councillor Deborah Glass Woodin as she protested about the felling of trees at the Westgate Centre.
The Greens and the police are the front-line troops in the war occasioned by the cock-ups of greedy developers and the supine, acquiescent little men from Oxford City’s planning department. If either of the latter had approached this problem properly, a much-needed development would be half-built by now and new trees would be growing away. As it is, the police and protesters are left to slog it out on the ground.
This is, of course their job – the Greens to wave their banners and the police to keep the peace. Two things are interesting about the video.
One is that is took three burly policemen to carry off one little woman. Perhaps the Greens run street-fighting classes, or maybe this is one of those health and safety requirements we read about, where the police are not to get involved unless they are sure they won’t get hurt. I am not a natural supporter of Ms Glass Woodin, but she fights a good fight.
The other is the point in the video where a Plod holds his hand up in front of the lens to try and prevent filming. By coincidence, we saw quite a lot of that on television that week, as Chinese soldiers were beating up Tibetan monks. You are our policemen, not the developers’ policemen or the planning department’s policemen. Everything you do is for us, we pay for it, and we are entitled to see you in action on our behalf.
It is also interesting to see how many of them can turn out when they feel up to it. The police have more or less withdrawn from the centre of Oxford now, and you are unlikely to get help if you are mugged or have your bicycle stolen or goods nicked from your shop. If, however, you are a developer and you want a middle-aged woman beaten up round the back of the car-park then Plod’s your man.
By the way, I am a capitalist, conservative libertarian, generally to be found mocking eco-warriors and urging stronger street policing. Look what a botched planning exercise can do for me.