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Is there something going on?

Watching Dispatches, a rather good programme of late - and wishing Channel 4 would put archives of the programme online (like they do for futile progs like IT crowd).

Anyway, it was about 'stealing freedom' which is something that worries me.

Then something interesting happened - a clip of Tony Blair saying 'we need to act, to lock up the wrong doers' but really said 'by locking them up based on what they say'.

Are we witnessing a sub-plot at work here - where we have the beginnings of a patriot act - that will enforce us to adopt napoleanic laws 'in a rabbit punch' fashion?
  • Is it right to threaten to lock up a christian couple because they want to leaflet houses that are being leafletted with pro-homosexual leaflets?
  • Is it right to lock up a peaceful protester who didn't have 'autorisation' to protest?
  • Is it right to interrogate a train spotter, or an asian taking a pic on the underground?
Didn't we get a bit upset when the greeks did that to our plane spotters?

But that was then...this is now. "The rules of the game are changing, and we cannot fight them with 19th century laws." says our leader.

I see...So the USA leads the way eh?


  1. Blogger changeofhart says @ 9:55 am
    dont get me wrong mait, I dont agree with about 90% of what comes out of westminster and whitehall, but tell me, whats the alternative?

    the rules of the game HAVE changed. civil liberties are already being affected as we are at war - with ourselves. 'We' doesnt mean middle class white guy, it means anyone who is 'british' irrespective of colour of creed. the basic problem in this country is a diluted sense of identity, meaning people cannot be proud to be british apart from through sport, which is insane. if you (numnum) were to put a union flag or st georges flag up in your garden, it would be seen to be progressive if not a little weird. if I did it, I would be branded some sort of nationalist racist. both are silly - it should be something to be proud of...nationality AND heritage. you arent indian and I'm not irish. we are british, with indian/irish heritage.

    as a country we need to find our new identity, whilst not losing our old one, so everyone feels part of something. as much as some of their laws are crazy, the americans have something right - once you get that card to stay, that citizenship, whatever, thats it, you're in and you're part of the gang. over here we dont have a similar concept, leading to segregation and alienation of so called minority groups, and resentment from people stuck in the past worried about little england.

    if we have an identity, a nation, a collective spirit, we solve half the problem - we have a common purpose. europe just hasnt cracked it yet - look at riots in france, persecution of kurds in germany etc etc.

    so, numnum, tell me, if not blairs way, whats the alternative to make people feel safer, now we are ALL threatened by an unseen enemy?
  2. Blogger B1RDIE Num Num says @ 11:18 am
    We've discussed this before. I consider myself british, as that is the passport I hold.

    However, when it comes to football, I support england, as that is where I live (as well as brasil and holland as they play awesome footy).

    The thing is, being english has a definite identity - bless the queen, follow the cross, hate the french etc.

    Being british, is an empire thing - once under the reign, its easier to identify with that.

    Identify a british trait that isnt an empire specific one?

    What is the country - england or britain?

    Basically, we are a mini - union, so the way we are discussing identity here, is how they discuss it at the EU - many counties one union.

    Our card, as you put it, is the passport. It says the queen demands that the ports give us freedom to move as we are under her protection.

    The ID card, is different. Its asking for the same freedom within this land.

    The identity you are seeking, is far different from the one that comes with a card, that registers you in a database, that will undoubtedly be managed by one of the companies that you and I have worked for in the past, and be subject to the amazing breaches of security that new technology brings.

    So what we see in films - in the net, bourne identity, and that cruise film about pre-crime - well that will be inevitable - its easier to do this when the evidence that is solid, is in an unsolid container and can be manipulated.

    National identity as you put it, is something that can only be fostered by intelligent integration - it doesnt help that these measures are increasing the gap between the anglo-saxon and ethnic communities...what the indians try to do by integrating, is undone by being put into the same group as the new 'enemy' - where we once had germans, russians, as the focus for military action - we now have 'ethnic religous groups'.

    Star wars is useless, no need for a stellar defence system, when the so called enemy is identified by skin tone, religious differentiation, language, and ethnic background.

    If its not blairs way, it has to be a more stepped, paced way. What year, exactly was 9/11? What year, exactly was 7/7? How much time elapsed? Just how 'intense' is this war that we are fighting, that it demands swift retaliation?

    Long gone are the days of keeping missiles pointed at targets in another coutnry, and having air force on high alert. We are told the enemy is already here...which makes things a tad difficult, unless you can easily identify them as being different and then, you know, control what they can do? Thats the safest option..

    So I opt for a non-fast-paced-radical-change, and instead look at the more social-fabric changes that need to take place. Otherwise I will be accepting that I will not be able to move, or say what I feel, because I am the new Russian by virtue of classification - which incidentally is wrong, as you and i so rightly know ;-)
  3. Blogger the urban fox says @ 6:23 pm
    Absolutely brilliant comment, Nums. *standing ovation*
  4. Blogger changeofhart says @ 10:10 am
    despite how it may read I think we are agreeing. I am asking what the viable alternative is. I have read your previous comments on ID cards, and I in theory am PRO certain aspects, but ANTI is the majority of ways. Its the wrapping of many social 'problems' up with one clear all solution I dont like.

    "Stop benefit fraud and those nasty foreign looking shoe bombers - dont delay, get your ID card today".
    bollocks to that - and they must think we are morons to believe it. The thing is, what is happening is they are pandering to a deep seated fear... "I am frightened for my future, I am annoyed with benefit fraudsters, I am a middle englander and see people taking a free ride under the banner of asylum" etc etc - they have those fears, and the ID card sounds an attractive option. Its only cerebral folk like you who see it like it is.

    Give the public what they want. The motto of many democratic governments, in order to stay in power. YOU ARE FRIGHTENED! STOP THE FRIGHT - GET A CARD.

    People with nothing to hide wont fear gettign a card etc etc - thats as far as most people see.

    I am just saying I dont know what the alternative solution to this deep seated anxiety in people.

    I agree with you with the desire for slow paced integrated change, and I think that is happening in the generation after ours, like it is in northern ireland with the children over there.

    Much like anakin, we were the chosen generation, and I think we've f*cked it up a bit.

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