The BBC sounds a little coy about the upcoming fuel protests:
Legislation introduced after the 2000 protests gives ministers and police significant powers to deal with demonstrations threatening to disrupt the supply of fuel.
Powers covering what exactly? Via Chris Lightfoot, this is from the Terrorism Act of 2000:
(a) the action [...]
(i) involves serious violence against a person,
(ii) involves serious damage to property,
(ii) endangers a person's life, other than that of the person committing the action,
(iii) creates a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public, or
(iv) is designed seriously to interfere with or seriously to disrupt an electronic system,
(b) the use or threat is designed to influence the government or to intimidate the public or a section of the public [or...] involves the use of firearms or explosives, and
(c) the use or threat is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause.
Now the fuel protests are clearly action designed to influence the government. You could, if you were a lawyer working for the government, argue that changing the economics of fuel charging – which are a political creation, inasmuch as they relate to tax – advances a political cause. Given that Britain’s food distribution system is almost entirely dependent on petrol, you could also argue that it’s intimidating and that it causes a serious risk to health and safety.
So by the government’s own definition, the fuel protesters are at least borderline terrorists. And apparently, anyone who justifies or condones their behaviour will also be soon committing an illegal act.
Obviously, the vast majority of people wouldn’t count blocking refineries as terrorism, wherever they stand on the issue itself. At the very least, they wouldn’t put it on an equivalent level to blowing yourself up on the tube. Nonetheless, as the law currently stands, the fuel protestors are very probably terrorists and we are apparently due extra legislation to criminalize public support for them.
If Joe trucker was hauled off to Belmarsh, then the penny finally might drop with the public that the rights cast aside by the government’s anti-terror legislation are rights possessed by everyone, not just by “suspects”, hairy lefties or brown people with a funny name for God. For that reason alone, Joe trucker won’t be modeling orange this year. This adds another definition to the term terrorist: a terrorist is whoever we find it convenient to call a terrorist.