05 March 2009

All Criminals Nowrotten britain

Whenever well-meaning fellow Brits paw at my sleeve and try to coax me aboard a plane back to Blighty, I cuff them away with a snarled reminder that *their* country that they've inhabited since we last parted in the late 1970s is no longer *my* country.

By coincidence, The Long Good Friday is being talked about as being 30 years old this year, 2009. Most sites seem to give launch date as 1980 but who's quibbling?

As Hardeep Singh Kohli nails it in one in his review in the 28 Feb Spectator,

"The London of 2009 is broken, defined by a new despondency; it couldn't be more different from the fiscal fecundity of the 1979 London that the bombastic pumping, synthesiser- driven soundtrack of the film compels you to watch."

And now I have Eamonn Butler's excellent piece to ram dahn their froats.

I might also order a half dozen of his Rotten State of Britain to hand out on the last night and have everyone read extracts over the third VSOP.

  • Upright citizens now spied on, stopped, searched, arrested at gunpoint.
  • Ink hardly dry on Terrorism Act 2000 before Sally Cameron (34) was done for daring to walk along a cycle path. Up roared the Sweeney and orft went Sally to the cells.
  • Octogenarian Walter Wolfgang arrested for heckling Jack Straw at a Labour party conference. (The same feet-of-clay Straw who swanked about his party extending freedoms, not curtailing them.)
  • The whole of London has been designated a stop-and-search area. Thousands of law-abiding folk now stopped and questioned each year: a cricketer asked to explain why he was carrying a bat; 11-year-old girl told to empty her pockets.
  • Another octogenarian picked up by cameras that monitor every car going through the City. He was on police files because they’d nabbed him once before – outside the same Labour conference – for wearing a T-shirt saying George W Bush and Tony Blair were war criminals.
  • Charlotte Denis (20) arrested at a game fair. Her “crime” was to wear a “Bollocks to Blair” T-shirt.
  • Police commanders can get up to £15,000 in performance bonuses, depending partly on how many people they spot-fine, charge or caution.
  • Officers have monthly targets; they do not want to prevent crime but to make criminals of us.
  • It’s much easier to pin a criminal record on someone like bus driver Gareth Corkhill for overfilling his wheelie bin, than it is to catch terrorists. (Yes, local councils use antiterrorist powers to snoop on bin overfillers)
  • A decade ago the police could arrest us only for serious crimes. Now they can pounce on hapless blokes like Keith Hirst (54) for dropping an apple core and refusing to pay the on-the-spot fine
  • You can be fined by police and 1,400 other officials [my emphases] without any legal process.
  • Nor are we - you - safe in your own home: In the past 12 years, officials have been given 550 powers to enter your house: to check if your pot plants have pests, your hedge is too high, confiscate your fridge if it doesn’t have the right energy rating, and yes, photograph and seize your rubbish. Resist, and it’s a £5,000 fine. Your name, address, and even your DNA will be put on the police database. Even if you’re cleared, you’ll have a fight to get it off. That’s why Blighty's DNA database is the world’s biggest.

    As EB says, "We’ve done the terrorists’ work for them and surrendered our freedoms."

    Good article that I'll print and frame for the lower hall loo.

    Safety Fetishism: I'm sorry, Dr  Butler ... and here's another good article - sent in by Sinbad so *he* gets points for assist and I take down all the rude remarks with which I ended this posting.

    sibad poster in window

    ~ COOL COMMENT ~

    Everyone knows I only post this heavy stuff to attract donnish comments from yon Sinbad.

    These I take down to the tap room and impress everyone with my throwaway sagacity.

    Here's The Man:

    "When it can no longer hide behind the mask of contented consensus, the mask of state authority slips. These ideas have been, until recently, seen as eccentric, paranoid, 'Marxist'. Even now commentators like EB blame the spreading officiousness on bureaucrats, pettyfogging officials, 'Little Hitler' litter wardens and parking attendants, unable to see that hegemony which many of us thought had withered with the growth of centre right and left politics (Blair's 'big tent' Third Way, heterarchy replacing hierarchy etc) is alive and well, and as the economic crisis spreads, that force will out. The incidents listed by EB are mere muscle flexing, but few are more blind to this, as they were with the rise of fascism and communism, than those who think they state is somehow naturally on their side.

    I think every middle class citizen should experience being arrested as was my wife five years ago. She won substantial damages for false arrest, wrongful imprisonment and malicious prosecution - but that's because she's feisty and has few illusions.

    See this for amusement."

    And do see it because it's got cool "clickable regions".

    Still on Sinbadedas, M'sieur mentions his dismay at not being on any respectable fuzz database. Actually, that *is* disgraceful for a 'hubby' (dread word!) whose wife  even has the cojones to be arrested and guantánamolested in fashionable fashion.

  • 3 comments :

    Sibadd said...

    When it can no longer hide behind the mask of contented consensus, the mask of state authority slips. These ideas have been, until recently, seen as eccentric, paranoid, 'Marxist'. Even now commentators like EB blame the spreading officiousness on bureaucrats, pettyfogging officials, 'Little Hitler' litter wardens and parking attendants, unable to see that hegemony which many of us thought had withered with the growth of centre right and left politics (Blair's 'big tent' Third Way, heterarchy replacing hierarchy etc) is alive and well, and as the economic crisis spreads, that force will out. The incidents listed by EB are mere muscle flexing, but few are more blind to this, as they were with the rise of fascism and communism, than those who think they state is somehow naturally on their side. I think every middle class citizen should experience being arrested as was my wife five years ago. She won substantial damages for false arrest, wrongful imprisonment and malicious prosecution - but that's because she's feisty and has few illusions. See this for amusement: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sibadd/331760139/

    Sibadd said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Sibadd said...

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/mar/06/police-surveillance-protesters-journalists-climate-kingsnorth
    I was rather disappointed to find 'through channels' that I'm not on any police data base at the moment. It seems to me a sign of good citizenship that one should be known for protesting things like the invasion of Iraq and the the building of a 3rd runway at Heathrow (:))