John Hemming is the LibDem MP for Birmingham Yardley; like most of his tribe, he voted in favour of keeping the Bedroom Tax in place. Two of the LibDems voted against, and I feel it's worth perusing the rest a bit to see if we can peel any more off. Many of them seem to be political prostitutes whoo'll throw their every principle and promise overboard for the chance of a ministerial salary, but you never know. So a bunch of us turned out this morning to picket his regular surgery, in a converted shop used by the Yardley LibDems.
Before long, a man who turned out to be Councillor Neil Eustace, of Yardley North Ward. He was quite aggressive, threatened to have us all arrested, called us 'rentamob',and told us to 'grow up' and 'get a job'. He's got a conviction for thumping his girlfriend, but he didn't have the guts to go too far with several of us there. He photographed us - you can see from the above how many of us there were at the time, but according to him we were causing an obstruction. He went back inside, and before long the police showed up.
Here he is, aggressive body language and all, after they arrived. They were very supportive, and said straight out that they could see it was a peaceful protest, and we were exercising our democratic rights. They went in and recovered a poster we'd put on the door. Eustace had removed it and taken it inside, and we wanted our property back. Eustace didn't look too pleased that I presumed to photograph him!
Today's Rob Punton's fiftieth birthday.
My policy with police is to be nice, try to keep them on our side, but never tell them anything. They're police, after all.
Eventually Hemming himself came out, after the surgery finished. He was quite happy to pontificate at us, but didn't like us answering back at all, and very soon disappeared without being able to answer a single one of our points. He tihnks people can pay the Bedroom Tax by letting their spare rooms, for instance. He's let property, but then he's a millionaire with spare houses. I told him that I tried letting a room once, and it was a disaster; it's a bit different when you're sharing a flat with someone. He changed the subject at once.
I had another argument with Eustace before we left; he doesn't seem ti understand that other people besides himself have democratic rights. By that time we were all well cold, and went off to the MacDonalds opposite for coffee before we went home.