Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Supreme Court art: the right to occupy

It's easy to mock Occupy when they tweet that one of their aims is 'free pubic transport' [sic], but something beyond a chippy sense of grievance motivates the core group to spend cold nights on Parliament Square without a tent.

I stop in the square on my way to the launch of The First Miscarriage of Justice by Jon Robins. It would appeal to them. 'Can I come with you?' asks Tom, who yearns for the glory days of Occupy camped on chilly cobbles outside St Paul's Cathedral three years ago ('I want to get my hair cut outdoors smoking weed').

The book launch is in high-security Portcullis House. I can't risk it. Tom goes back to playing the guitar under the statue of Lloyd George.
Next morning I'm in Court 2 trying to pin down an iconic profile. Michael Paget is great-grandson of Sidney Paget, the first artist to depict Sherlock Holmes (the deerstalker was his idea).

Reports that the model was Sidney's brother Walter have been denied; maybe Sidney just set up two mirrors to study his own profile. Michael has inherited it.

In 2012 Michael Paget acted on behalf of Occupy in Corporation of the City of London v Tammy Samede and persons unknown, the St Paul's eviction trial in the High Court.

This morning Tammy and the litigants in person from that case are protesting on Parliament Square in the fag-end of a hurricane, one of them with Occupy Baby in a sling.

While a melodrama of kettling, chanting and arrests is going on outside, 'the right to occupy' is a mantra in court. In The Mayor and Burgesses of the London Borough of Lambeth v Loveridge, Harry Loveridge was replaced as a secure tenant while on a long trip to Ghana (he'd still been paying rent by standing order). Damages are at issue. 'Have the valuers got a stone which is set or some sort of blancmange?' muses Jan Luba QC.

I never told Occupy that the friend I brought to visit their Holborn squat two years ago was a judge, but I dare say they wouldn't have minded.

For the curious, this blog has many posts about the day-to-day life in the Occupy camps as well as this one about Michael Paget:

More pictures if you scroll down.

Sidney Paget

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