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Free - Are we? Rafael Behr spouts cockwhaffle on CCTV liberty.

Thank God, we are free, I thought. We are free from the blanket of social opprobrium that once suffocated England as it did Ireland. We are free from the stern eye of the local cleric and his loyal army of petty parishioner informants. We are free to blaspheme, to swear. Holy shit! How free are we?
Oh really religious freedom on the day a cleric was attacked by followers of Mohammed. Free but not free enough to mention gollywogs...The creed of the PC, that is the new religion dare to cross the boundary there and you get a call from the local police.
Not so free, apparently. The story most often told about modern liberty is one of tragedy, not triumph. It starts by counting all the CCTV cameras in all the car parks on all the industrial estates on all the ring roads. It weaves them into a narrative with all the databases on all the hard drives on all the civil service computers. Then it bundles them up with a string of draconian anti-terror laws into a fully fledged plot.
Yep cameras to raise taxes for the state, in fact we have a quarter of all the worlds cctv cameras. Although as far as I know no one is attempting to weave them into anything, least of all a narrative. 

I am glad that he agrees that the anti-terror laws are a mess, the poorly drafted 42 days was kicked out by unelected Lords. Oh the irony of that one! The Lords lambasted by Labour protecting us from Labour laws.

Although its not paranoid to wonder as to why New Labour needs the DNA of babies and children on the DNA database. Why they need our e-mails, our phone records, allow councils RIPA powers to snoop on bin criminals.
It is a scary tale indeed. Each of the component parts describes something true and potentially sinister. But as a join-the-dots picture of Britain, it is badly flawed: it doesn't portray the society we actually live in.
Oh do tell of the socialist paradise.
We are free. Most people can say and do what they like, when they like, where they like. There is no opinion so subversive that it cannot be expressed in public; no denigration of authority so scurrilous that the public will not tolerate it. Every sexual, social, religious and cultural taboo has been broken. Most have been broken on TV. You can google the rest. Breathe the air around you. This is what liberty tastes like. When was the Golden Age of liberty? It is now.
Free are we? Oh really, so try lighting up a smoke in a pub and see how much freedom you have then, or in a bus shelter or anywhere enclosed. 

Maybe you could explain that to the train spotters and other folk who have been harrased by non job PCSO's and police for taking photos. 

Demonstrators filmed, that film used for who knows what?

Oh I am glad you mentioned religion, as there is one religion that hardly anyone speaks out against openly for fear of attack. That of Islam.

As for expression of viewpoints I do remember an OAP being thrown out for heckling a certain MP not so long back, nice to see Labour valuing his opinions.
The current government has certainly passed some appalling laws in response to the threat of terrorism. It has tried and sometimes failed to pass even worse ones. (Government is not all-powerful. You see – we are free!) Labour has vandalised bits of our constitution and shown cavalier disregard for democratic principle. It has built a legislative edifice that could, in theory, in the hands of some hypothetical future despot, be used to turn Britain into an authoritarian state. Could. In theory. Meanwhile, we are free.
Yes spot fines and the removal of (in part) to right by trial and the assumption of guilt on the part of the state, backed up by organisations working for the state. There have been numerous cases of people having false data and having to prove their innocence, no assumption of innocence on the part of the state.
And yes, I know about Jefferson and the price of freedom. And I give thanks that there is a well-mobilised artistic, media and political lobby exercising the necessary eternal vigilance. I'm glad there are intelligent, dedicated people carefully monitoring our progress down the slippery slope, demarcating in units of kilo-outrage our incremental creep towards the thick end of the wedge. But by fixating on the menacing detail of current state oppression, we miss the big historical picture. Go back a couple of centuries and most of us lived in perpetual fear of arbitrary violence. We couldn't read or write. Independent thought was a sin. Women were chattels. Children were labourers. Even 50 years ago, most us were restrained by bonds of class deference, rigid gender roles and sexual prurience. It has all been swept away. We have the maximum political, moral and cultural licence of any people ever.
Well the claim that because others are less free we are free is Orwellian newspeak. Reminds me of that sniveling rat Jack Straw, scribbler for the Sun tabloid and part time MP. Oh and what of representation? 

We get none other than a basic vote once in a while, even then they renage on their election promises. 
How much more freedom could we possibly have? Or, for that matter, how much more privacy? Our neighbours don't grass on us, they don't even know our names. You may feature somewhere as a number in a government database; you used to appear on carbon-paper duplicates in government filing cabinets. Before that, your ancestors were scratchily transcribed entries in leather-bound ledgers. So what? No one in government gives a monkey's who you are or what you're thinking. Whitehall knows less about you than Tesco. The Home Office holds the same data on you as you gave to Ryanair last time you booked a flight.
He says that neighbours don't grass, really? What about the benefits hotline ad's on the telly showing some dubious type evidently breaking the law and a "citizen" picking up the phone. All with the voiceover about how they get lots of tips to catch benefit thieves.

Plus the cases of councils relying on snoops. Quisling state anyone?

Have about no freedom to choose what Euro directives are imposed on us, the slow destroying of European culture, in favour of non European culures. Just look at the recent bans on St Georges day marches, yet no such ban would ever be imposed on a Moslem festival.

The deliberate wrecking of the relationship between the sexes, portraying our normal conservative instincts as wrong, the pc stifling of debate on subjects like honour killing, immigration etc etc etc.
We are so atomised and anonymous that hundreds of thousands of us routinely invade our own privacy online, in search of recognition, to reinforce our identities, to find a voice. We post intimate details of our sexual preferences and political views on YouTube. No one cares. We are bits of cultural flotsam on a vast ocean of liberty.
Now that is by choice, what HM Govt holds on us is not gathered by choice. Look at the electronic registiser being devised by HM Govt, under that you have to let them know when your leaving or face a £5000 fine for not notifying them online 24 hours in advance.

No more sailing trips abroad. Of course like RIPA we will see mission creep as data is passed between agencies and cases of people charged with taking their kids abroad in term time. Such a great free society Labour have given us.
Perhaps that's what really frightens people. It isn't so much the fear of being spied on as the fear of being ignored. For years, the political purpose of liberals was resisting the oppressive state. They read Orwell and Solzhenitsyn. They knew the enemy. But take a good look at the enemy now: New Labour in its haggard, fag-end years, on the brink of being ejected from office. We can eject them, you see, free as we are.
Unless they chose to declare a state of emergency. 
There is something almost nostalgic in railing against this moribund administration as if it were a titanic force of totalitarianism. It sometimes feels like a craving for the existential certainty of the great moral struggles of the 20th century. But this is the 21st century.
Oh and of course that right to silence that disappeared with Blair and has not been seen since. I'm free to abandon social mores should I chose, great! Free to be told that should the state come a snooping that I have nothing fear if I have nothing to hide.

Free to meet the delete button when we tell them our thoughts on so called 2 way "blogs" put up by the New Labour scum like Prescott.
Of course, we must be vigilant against bad laws. But we must also be careful not to kick the last vestiges of legitimacy out of the very idea of public administration. Why are we liberals so pessimistic about liberty? It's as if we secretly crave repression to give us an easy sense of political purpose. But the big question of our time isn't how to make ourselves free – it is what we must do with the boundless freedom we have.
Lets have a look at their freedom, taxes hundreds of them without representation by the people affected by them.

The travel database, brilliant they can't control the barbarians coming in yet want to log the taxpayers going out!

50 MPH speed limits, more speed cameras and taxes on chocolate being discussed. A tax on alcohol units.

Best make sure that I don't photograph a policeman(or woman) as that right buggered off.

The right to be hauled up on the vague accusation of racism on almost any subject.

Maybe we could discuss free speech with Geert Wilders, just call up Jacqui an ask if he can be allowed to play democracy here in the UK.

**Paul Flynn MP who fawned all over the shyte poured out by Rafael Behr, is mocked by Cynicaldragon; who proives yet again that the libel case losing, car crashing, stroke ridden champagne socialist really is a weapons grade bell end.
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2 people have spoken:

it's either banned or compulsory said...

"free from the stern eye of the ...loyal army of petty parishioner informants.

What, like this ?
"More than 10 million people are to have their everyday disputes, their politics and their business lives checked by new "tension monitoring" committees.
The committees are to be set up to try to cut the risk of riots or disturbances in the aftermath of terrorist outrages or outbreaks of local racial trouble.
They will ask for and file reports on named troublemakers whose political activities are considered to be raising community tensions.
Reports on the behaviour and attitudes of local residents will be collected by community workers, neighbourhood wardens, local councillors and provided by voluntary organisations"

Hazel 'The Magnificunt' Blears May 2008


I'm So Free. Lou Reed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zwAeV0xJsA

Fidothedog said...

I am going to have fun finding examples - like trainspotters being barred - of our freedoms being removed! :-)