Anyway it’s my day off today and although the gloomy winter weather does bring to mind a phrase popular among teenagers of my generation; “today has been cancelled due to lack of interest,” I thought I would get the shopping from Sainsburys, take the bookshop recycling to MPL at Westwood and take a few hundred photographs of Westwood Cross.
After taking a few a couple of security men appeared and told me I would have to get permission to take photographs, they said that they would use their radios to get permission from head office and asked me why I was taking pictures.
Obviously I explained that I had started taking them last year to make an historical record of Thanet and that when I had started publishing them to the internet in the order that I had taken them, this became as close to going for a walk in their home town as some people could get, and when I stopped doing this I got a lot of emails asking me to carry on doing so.
They relayed this to head office in the simplified for of taking pictures for a website for disabled people, frankly they seemed more stunned than I was when the answer came back as no.
One of them said to me, “I would say to you have a nice afternoon shopping with your wife, but now I just don’t know what to say.”
The only picture I didn’t publish was the one of the security guards, as they were so pleasant about the whole affair that I don’t want them implicated.
Now I am not sure of the legal position here, the security guards said that this ban could be enforced, as Westwood Cross Shopping Centre is private property.
Firstly it begs the question of what constitutes a public place? I would have though anywhere the public have unrestricted access to.
More important here to my mind is that there should be one law for this shopping centre and another for the rest of Thanet, with its own private police force enforcing a constitution that isn’t made up by an elected body or producing laws that are not made by precedence based on the courts and the jury system.
This is a very slippery slope to go down and could have an effect on our basic human rights.
The last time that we had a constitution in England was when Oliver Cromwell reigned, his slippery slope lead all the way to regicide.
They are certainly quite happy to use the law of the land when it suits them it says on their website http://www.westwoodx.co.uk/terms/ “6 Governing Law and Jurisdiction
These Terms and Conditions will be governed by and construed and interpreted in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you agree that the English courts shall have exclusive jurisdiction in any dispute.
If you do not agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions, please leave this website now.”
Here are the pictures I took before I was stopped http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/Laptop5/id5.htm
Oh and the top picture is of a CCTV security firms van at Westwood they seem to think that they are above the law too, as they have no number plate.