It is with a very heavy heart I have to announce that this Sunday’s demo in Wrexham has had to be called off.
In an error of judgement I agreed to have a meeting with the Police and local Council beforehand, this was the events undoing.
I informed the police of the demo approximately a month in advance, not a legal obligation I believe, but did so in the spirit of co-operation. They arranged a meeting with the police and council two weeks prior to the event. I was not obliged to go the meeting, but again, in the spirit of co-operation I went along.
By going to the meeting I put myself in the position where as the organiser I could be arrested as a matter of course if anything went wrong, also, without insurance, if anything went wrong I would personally be solely financially responsible, not Join The Dots, me, Jamie.
While the council made all the right noises the general feel from the meeting was that they seemed to be finding obstacles to put in our way.
They wanted us to have 5 million pounds worth of public liability insurance, they wanted us to pay £180 pounds to have a council worker travel approximately a total of four miles to come and switch the plug sockets on and off on the bandstand. The wanted an undisclosed ‘fee’ to use the public space that is the library field. They also wanted a fee from us to collect donations on the day.
I have spoken to other activists around Wrexham and none of them has ever had to jump through these hoops or pay these fees when they have done actions in Wrexham town centre. Although many of them have not gone to meetings or informed the police at all in some cases.
I sought advice from Liberty and various human right law advisers and they all said that if it is ‘Council property’ they can insist on all these clauses as I have met them. ‘Council/private property’ vs ‘public property’ is another issue for another day!
Searching for insurance quotes, the only place I could find who could cover the event wanted approximately £200. We had an option to obtain insurance through another organisation, I approached our local voluntary association and although it is something they can offer they were not able to offer it due to time constraints. They did point me in the direction of their insurance company who they can normally get a deal with.
The company were unable to offer any cover to an event of our nature.
Join The Dots has approximately £55 in our Paypal account, I was not able to access these funds anyway due to one of our organising team being taken ill suddenly, even if I had had access, there was not enough in there to even start to cover the event in the manner required by the council. The intention was to spend that on posters and flyers to hand out on the day.
I will hold my hands up and take responsibility for the event not going ahead as had I had more knowledge and experience of planning this kind of event I would not have attended the meeting and may have been better prepared for the meeting had I had more experience.
Some of my more conspiratorial friends feel this is just an extension of the decades long cover up in North Wales, some even theorised Agent Provocateurs would be in attendance to make sure the event was disrupted and arrests would be made. We will never know if that is the case, but it certainly feels like there was resistance. Though the day before the meeting the local newspaper printed a related story mentioning the demo and had sought comment from the council, but not from me, the council apparently ‘backed a new abuse probe’. I did not see this piece till I returned from the meeting, needless to say after the impression I got from the council at the meeting, this front page story confused me.
Join the Dots is not going away, we will be back and we will be putting pressure on the establishment in Wrexham.
Speaking of the establishment in Wrexham, I have been tweeting and emailing our local MP, Ian Lucas, for the past few weeks, asking him to read a summary piece of writing about the current situation of people in power abusing children and also to ask if he would support our event. I have not received a reply to any of my emails or tweets other than stock replies and one email asking for my address. I have emailed all our local councillors, our MP, our MEP and our MWPs, I have received a few stock responses, thank you for your mail etc, from all but one and that one councillor is a survivor of abuse at Bryn Estyn himself. He called and said he would be attending.
Wrexham politicians, indeed all politicians, this is not going away. You would do well to address this as I am just one of many angry voices worldwide.
Once again, apologies to all who were looking forward to their chance to stand with other survivors and campaigners, but this is not over. Not by a long shot ….