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Last updated April -2011

Windsor and after. 
  AFTER THE anger at what went down at Windsor last Thursday had started to ebb, it occurred to us that there were a few points and a couple of questions that might never get an airing unless it was right here. 
  In a couple of weeks, the media and most of the general public will have forgotten the whole vicious affair. Most likely some sort of negative report will have been issued claiming that the police may have over-reacted in the face of extreme provocation. The Liberal press will tut tut about controls over the police, the right wing will continue to howl for vigilantes to control anarchists and pop hooligans, while maybe a few of the more obvious police hooligans will receive a slap on the wrist That's where the whole affair is liable to end, unless we go on talking about it. 
  The Press have represented the affair as a conflict of two sides, the police and the hippies. Unfortunately the situation is not as even as they would like us to think. Sure there was a degree of violence on both sides. The point that has not been mentioned is that the police waded into the crowd at Windsor with the full sanction and protection of the law. After it was over, there is little that is likely to happen to them. The hippies who were arrested, however, are liable to go on suffering from the incident, either through fines, imprisonment or other forms of judicial punishment It hardly makes it an equal argument. 
  Then there is the matter of provocation. We've heard a great deal about how the taunts of the fans pushed the police over the edge,  even down to the sob story in the Daily Mirror about the young P.C. who burst Into tears after being repeatedly called a pig. Nothing has yet been said about the provocation on the part of the police. Since the beginning of the event the Thames Valley Police had mounted a huge saturation "stop -and-search" operation. Some three hundred people were arrested, mostly for minor drugs charges and many more must have been subjected to the humiliation of bodily searches. This isn't the first time that the Thames Valley Police have hit the headlines as a result of this kind of operation. 

   Only two years ago there were questions asked in Parliament about a similar exercise at the 1972 Reading festival. The Tory Home Secretary, Robert Carr, was forced to issue a directive to the police to the effect that personal appearance, dress, or length of hair was not sufficient grounds for an officer to stop and search any individual. 
  The Thames Valley Police ignored this directive totally. They appeared to have the attitude that the hippies at Windsor would tolerate any kind of abuse and degradation. One simple answer to the question of why they staged the 600 strong U.S. Cavalry style invasion of the site is that the officers in charge believed the hippies would simply allow themselves to be herded out of the park like cattle. After all, hundreds who had been searched in the previous six days had offered little resistance. 

  There doesn't seem to be any other explanation than that the police simply assumed that the hippies were some kind of docile sub-species who could be driven out of the park, and out of sight, by force, and they became violently outraged when these people resisted. No senior police officer would have ordered his men into a football crowd or political rally under similar circumstances. At least they have learned from Windsor that rock fans can't be treated like animals. 
  Nevertheless, all the blame for the mess can't be laid at the door of the police. Although they behaved abominably, it is an absurd situation when the decisions about the running, and the very existence of this kind of free festival are left to a police chief. The refusal  of the Park Commissioners to allow the concert, or even to discuss the matter is nothing more than a dirty cop-out .
A section of the population want this kind of event. 
  It's not the responsibility of the authorities to veto these festivals because they neither understand nor like them. The only regulation needed is making sure that the basic sanitation and services are provided. Beyond that, the people who attend the event are more than capable of ensuring its success and good order. The kids want it, the bands are willing to play for them, and it would seem that everyone involved knows how to behave.  All that is required is official sanction for the site, and some restraint on the police to stop them indulging their more violent fantasies. 
Permission for these events is not a privilege endowed by a paternal authority. It's a basic right to a particular pursuit of happiness.



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