Politics.co.uk Blog

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

News! Just outside the window

I've just done a strange thing, even for a journalist: write about something that's literally under my nose.

Well, almost literally. Parliament Square would be under my nose if I stood up and walked over to the window. We're based in the Houses of Parliament, which as you can imagine is quite handy for political journalists. No surprises there.

The last time I wrote about Parliament Square was during the final tuition fees riot last year. It was a case of seeing what was happening; returning to my desk, typing up a paragraph in the news story and clicking 'publish'; and then return to the window again. That cycle went on for five hours. Fun times.

Not so fun in the new year, with a drab and dreary view replacing the excitement of anger and violence. Yesterday I was writing about the pessimistic outlook for Brian Haw and his semi-permanent demonstration on the pavement. The tents looked dishevelled, the signs scruffy, the flags pathetically defiant.

But this could be the last year they're there. The police reform and social responsibility bill contains provisions to outlaw the tents for good, a decade after Haw began his vigil. It's hard not to admire the man for his tenacity – but does he deserve the right to remain there, when, as ministers point out, him doing so prevents others from making their case?

Make up your own mind and let me know your thoughts. You can read my feature here.

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