As I was coming out of the Home Office – wait, that sounds a lot grander than it actually was – there was someone dressed in a badger suit. Around their neck they had a sign which said I am innocent.
It has been a long time since I have been to London. I’d made my way down to attend a joint meeting between UKC3 and the police-led Cyber Resilience Centres. They are a Home Office initiative, creating a series of centres across the UK, helping small businesses to access low cost cyber security services and giving students the opportunity to hone their technical and interpersonal skills. It made sense therefore, to hold the meeting there.
The trip down was surprisingly uneventful and the meeting went well. London seemed quieter than I had remembered, with less traffic and fewer people on the streets, though it still remained as noisy a place as ever.
Anyway, back to the badger. As I left my colleague at the door as we were leaving, she said to me ‘Oh there’s the badger’. I assumed the costumed individual had become an ever-present feature outside the Home Office and, as I had a while to spare before needing to get back to the station, I took the opportunity to go and have a chat.
I asked her (the badger had a female voice) ‘What are you innocent of?’ and had an interesting conversation about badger culling, bovine TB and the government’s attitude towards our largest land predator (apart from us humans of course). She told me that hundreds of thousands have been killed as part of the cull which made me think whether the policy was effective or just belligerence. I took a selfie with the badger before we parted company.
Wherever your sympathies lie, badger or not, government or not, our ability to protest is a fundamentally good thing. The fact that someone can dress up in plush and stand outside the heart of government, in an attempt to highlight an issue or hold it to account is part of our democratic process and is to be cherished.
People who take the time out of their lives to raise objections and highlight what they see as injustice are part of our process of change. You may not agree with them but we should all make every effort to uphold the tradition of peaceful protest in this country.