The Scotsman yesterday reprinted the briefing it had received from the Lothian and Borders police about next weekend's Climate Camp action in Edinburgh.
Now campers have a track record of being decidedly fluffy, the protest is aimed squarely at the Royal Bank of Scotland and its worldwide financing of fossil fuel companies and Camp for Climate Action has already hinted that its main target is the RBS global headquarters in Gogarburn, some 7 miles away from the centre of Edinburgh. However, the paper reported warnings in "security bulletins issued by police to hundreds of businesses" about something truly awful - the refusal of protesters to discuss their plans in advance. I was particularly amused by this comment from business spokes-idiot Graham Birse of the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce:
Lets hope wild claims about 'sheer badness' don't encourage the kilt-makers emporium to board up its windows because of its proximity to the RBS branch in Princes Street - American tourists can't get enough of your over-priced tartan and would be sorely disappointed.
"People are clearly entitled to their views and are entitled to protest peacefully, but if people are coming here to cause trouble out of sheer badness they should be dealt with appropriately."
We've been down this route so many times before. Senior police officers and their 'contingency planning' boosts exaggerated stories about potential disorder, business interests elevate any short-term inconvenience in their ability to make money into dire warnings about forces of revolution at the gates of the city and the press print bullshit because they need a story. Once protest begins, the police have wound themselves up to expect violence - and then act disproportionately. So lets hope too that they keep their batons sheathed this time - and end up as flummoxed as they were in Blackheath.
I have a number of friends in Edinburgh and had hoped to combine seeing them with taking part in this year's Climate Camp. But I can't make it - the injuries I received earlier this year because a short-sighted petrolhead crashed into my bike are taking much longer to heal than I hoped. Several comrades are going though and I look forward to passing on their latest news next weekend.
UPDATE - Mon 16 August
The Camp for Climate Action has understandably responded by accusing the police of "sensationalism"