Thursday, 16 April 2009

Living in Oceania

Another day, another living-in-a-police-state incident...

Those of you who don't know, and I don't know who of you don't know or know, or even care come to that, might be interested in knowing that the UK has more CCTV cameras per person than any other country in the world. You can also be held without charge by the police longer than in any other democratic country in the world - and there are a lot of those that aren't very nice to live in. We also have the largest DNA database - mostly populated with the DNA of innocent people who have not been convicted of any crime, and children.

Anyways, back to the point - a 69 year old Austrian tourist was out with his 15 year old son in my part of London, when he was stopped by police who deleted all the photos he'd taken of a bus-stop, as well as taking his passport number and hotel details. According to the officers, it's now illegal to take a picture of anything to do with transport in this country. Perhaps they should have a word with Google street-maps then.
This comes hot the heels of a new law that's just been passed which means you can be arrested for taking a picture of a policeman which gives a hint of sad irony to the following.
During the recent G20 protests, Ian Tomlinson who owned a newspaper stand and was merely passing by on his way home from work collapsed and died of a heart attack. Originally, the police claimed they'd had no dealings with him and where hampered by protesters when they tried to help him. The IPCC (internal affairs type people who investigate police misconduct) said that no CCTV cameras where in the area.
That is until this video was handed to the newspapers showing him being assaulted by a policeman to whom he had his back to (and had his hands in his pockets) just before he collapsed and died. Also handed in to the newspapers, photos of the scene with police controlled CCTV cameras pointing to the place where it happened. There's now a growing collection over at the guardian of the police beating up journalists, women, setting dogs on people etc...
And don't even get me started on arresting opposition politicians for no reason.

Sorry if this is somewhat of a political rant - but sometimes things just piss me off. There's things about my country I love, but there's a growing list of things I don't as we creep slowly but surely from a democracy to a police state. Orwell was right, he just got the year wrong.

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