Like most other people I know, I care about stuff. Unlike a hardcore few of them, there are limits as to how far I’m prepared to go in support of my causes of choice. So I’ve always had a grudging respect for the guys I see camped opposite the Houses of Parliament, whether I agree with their stances or not. I’ve had my moments on that big patch of grass myself – the last time being in support of Burma’s human rights campaigners – but I’ve always come home to my warm bed afterwards.
A couple of weeks ago, someone I know set up camp there. I first met Ben Gilchrist when he was leading SPEAK, the Christian organisation that encourages students and young people to get involved in social justice issues. Last month, Ben spent over a fortnight camped on Parliament Square as part of a campaign on behalf of asylum seekers, together with another Ben – Ben Gibbs – as part of the ongoing Still Human, Still Here campaign. During their time camped on Parliament Square, the two Bens had meetings with a number of MPs. They also had a pattern of prayer built into their routine, praying at 8am, noon and 7pm each day.
Bens, thanks for being a lot more committed (and less attached to your comfy beds) than I am. You’re an inspiration, guys.