Saturday, 28 July 2012

Discord at Critical Mass tonight

At 5pm today I was watching the Gandini Jugglers outside the National Theatre, where Critical Mass, the 'no leader' bike ride sets off from around 7pm on the last Friday in each month, when a group of cyclists arrived.

Shortly afterwards this group of their mates arrived.

Was joining Critical Mass appealing to me tonight? No. Was it likely to go towards the Olympic Site on the opening night? Yes.

Were the arrests reported on Twitter tonight near the Olympic site fair? I don't know, I wasn't there.

But I will say that I consider the provision made by the Mayor of London for people wishing to cycle during this time has been really poor.

1 comment:

Paul M said...

Press reports, eg in the Guardian, implied that the "organisers" posted advice on their website about adopting a peaceful but resolute approach to the police. They also imp0lied that the advice indicated that the destination woudl be the Olympic park.

Now, I wasn't there, and indeed - had I been inclined to pass up on the BT London Live Hyde Park Concert for which I had paid a humungous amount of money in ticket prices - I would have in any case taken the advice on ibikelondon to stay away. Also, I haven't been able to find the website with the reported advice as the Guardian did not provide a link - didn't say anything when I looked today.

BUT, there are two things which troube me about the reports. Firstly, the notion that Critical Mass has "organisers". It has never visibly had a ledaer on the occasions I have taken part, and that is one of its key attractions. If it was evidently being taken over by the kind of "miltant tendency" which disfigured the student politics of my youth, I woudl run a mile.

Secondly, every CM I have ever attended has started with no clue about where it is going to go. As soon as you select a target like that, I think you debase the entire concept, which is an argument for the freedom of cyclists to go wherever and whenever they like, in sfatye and comfort. Targetting one controversial destination is absolutely not it.