Police in a state
By The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley in Copenhagen
It’s snowing desultorily. I’m standing outside the conference center, an ugly, incoherent clump of ill-designed, depressing modern shacks on a blasted, treeless, semi-industrial wasteland minutes but light-years away from the charm that is the old city of Copenhagen.
As my fellow-delegates and I – Ministers, senators, negotiators – stand and wait in the bitter cold beneath the grimy elevated railroad from the city, the driverless trains grind and hum overhead. But they’re not stopping at the conference center’s station.
The Danish police, normally accustomed to dealing with a docile, over-socialized and even supine population, are suddenly up against some of the world’s best-trained international-Left agitators, who have gotten into the conference center under the umbrella of recognized non-government organizations, nearly all of which are handsomely taxpayer-funded, and have staged a riot.
The police over-reacted and panicked, egged on by the UN’s own security thugs, who have made themselves near-universally unpopular for their heavy-handedness. They closed the station at the conference center, so that delegates had to continue to the next station and walk more than a mile along cracking, windswept concrete past joyless steel-and-glass blocks and puddle-bespattered wastelands to get back to the entrance. There was not the slightest point in closing the station: it merely annoyed everyone. UN mistake no. 1.
But that was not all. The police, apparently at the instructions of the UN’s grim private police force, decided that while the riot was going on no one should be allowed into the conference center. That meant that ministers and negotiators from many nations were penned beneath the railroad tracks for hours, waiting to know whether they would be allowed in to do their job. Mistake no. 2.
The Danes arranged for free coffee and tea to be served to the hundreds waiting in line. But what we really wanted was to know who was going to be allowed in, and when. Seems the UN, which would like to become a world government to Save The Planet from itself, cannot even govern its own international conference.
The UN had made the mistake (no. 3) of issuing 45,000 passes for a conference center that can only hold 15,000. It had then made the mistake (no. 4) of canceling the accreditation of thousands who had traveled expensively to Copenhagen in good faith on the understanding that they would be granted admission. It had made another mistake (no. 5) by issuing secondary passes to a chosen few, banning everyone else to whom it had already issued conference passes.
Now it was making what may prove to be a terminal mistake (no. 6). It was excluding from the conference even senior government officials from the negotiating teams who needed to be there. Their furious impatience was evident.
Anyone who dared to ask what was going on was met with baffled shrugs on the part of the Danish police, who were clearly not in charge. Eventually, after I had been waiting an hour, a UN official with a megaphone appeared and hollered that ministers and negotiators could, after all, come in and take part in the conference. The Press were also allowed in.
Then the UN made yet another mistake (no. 7). The nitwit with the megaphone failed to make it clear whether delegates from non-governmental organizations would be admitted. We were kept waiting for a further half-hour until I wormed my way to the front of the line, drew myself up to my full height and demanded to speak with someone who knew what was going on.
Curiously, this worked. I was told that the UN’s hated, inept security force, whose unpleasant behavior I had first witnessed in Bali a couple of years previously, had been entirely unable to determine which of the various accredited non-governmental organizations had been responsible for staging the protest inside the conference center. Therefore – mistake no. 8 – representatives of all NGOs would be banned from the proceedings.
I announced this news to the the long line of people waiting to be admitted. Nobody else was going to tell them anything.
The UN’s fumblesome security goons, I later learned, had not realized (no. 9) that every conference pass carried a bar-code. All they had needed was a pocket bar-code reader linked to the security computer, and they could have identified everyone and their sponsoring NGO in an instant, sorting out the delegates from trouble-making organizations in an instant. This, however was entirely beyond them. So, after an hour and a half of waiting, we were all turned away.
The Danish police, acting with rather too much alacrity at the orders of the UN’s monsters, began manhandling us out of the way (mistake no. 10). Fortunately, I had been trained in crowd control by the best in the business – the St. John Ambulance Brigade.
Rule One: if offered violence by panicky police, never, never, never fight back. Rule Two: thrust your hands firmly into your side-pockets. Even at a distance (where film cameras might be whirring), this is a clear gesture of non-threat. Rule Three: look the policeman straight in the eye and, in a low but clear voice that makes him listen, tell him firmly – and don’t say “please” – to take his hands off you at once.
This works every time, and it worked for me. The Danish policeman who had started shoving me around let go immediately and stood back, looking startled. Rule Four: ask him his name. That deters any of his colleagues from taking up where he left off.
There were no further attempts at manhandling any of us. We had to walk along the snow-swept concrete to the next railroad station. By way of further punishment of the NGOs whom the UN’s goons were blaming for the demonstration, the route had deliberately – and entirely unnecessarily – been made as long and circuitous as possible (no. 11), doubling the length of the journey from one mile to more than two.
We had gotten off lightly. Earlier, the Danish police had tangled with demonstrators who had not had anti-police-brutality training, and had let fly with their batons (no. 12) in a manner that makes one wonder whether Denmark quite understands how democracy is supposed to work. The viciousness of it had to be seen to be believed. It was broadcast round the world on international television, and has won Denmark few friends.
Of course, we were not close enough to see what the demonstrators were doing to the police: but, having been manhandled briefly by their colleagues, I was not disposed to be as sympathetic to the police as I should normally have been.
Where does all this leave the conference? Well, the UN’s loutish mistreatment of its guests has not won it any friends at all. Its sheer ineptitude has been demonstrated yet again. And that is a useful reminder to those who had been planning to give up their national sovereignty to a world government run by it. It was no surprise to learn, from those who had been lucky enough to get in before the UN blockaded its own conference, that the UN’s incompetence had put all of the delegates on edge, making a substantive deal a lot less likely.
And, as one tired observer said to a senior police officer on the roundabout route to the next station up the line on his way home, nobody – but nobody – who has attended this farce of a conference will ever stage an international gathering in Denmark again. The gruesome Copenhagen conference center – a disastrous piece of design – will be left to rot. Probably the best thing for it.