Britain: Police State?

JurekB

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#1
Below is a letter that appeared in my local rag which I thought was quite interesting. A couple of the incidents mentioned are quite well known but I'm not sure about a few of the others, indeed the BBC one sounds almost like a UL.

Source

Nothing but hate for a police state
14 Jan: Sir, - Twelve months ago I would have welcomed the news that the police will have easier powers of arrest. However, after several events in the past few months, the news terrifies me and I fear we are one step nearer becoming a police state where free speech and demonstrating is banned. Remember Walter Wolfgang who dared to say 'rubbish' at a Labour Party conference? Not only was he manhandled out of the building by thuggish stewards, he was later charged by the police under the Terrorism Act. Then there was the lady who stated on BBC Radio that she didn't think it was a good idea for gays to foster children. She was contacted by the police and warned that she might be liable for prosecution. As for the BBC, don't expect it to stick up for free speech. Instead of defending her it put out announcements saying it regretted her remarks. Another couple with Christian views simply asked their council if they could display Christian literature alongside gay publications and were told by the police they were 'treading on egg shells'. Then there was the lady at the cenotaph who wanted to read out the names of soldiers who had been killed in the Iraq war. She was arrested and escorted to the local nick by no less than 14 policemen, where she was locked up. What's going on is scary, and what's even more scary is the lack of opposition to these heavy handed and dictatorial changes to our way of life. If we're not careful the police will soon become the secret police, free speech will be a thing of the past and Letters To The Editor will only feature letters that toe the party line and are censored by Labour officials. R E Dale, Church Lawton
 

Stormkhan

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#2
The problem is not with higher policing levels. It's the selectiveness of police prosecutions. The bobby on the beat (or rather cowering in their motor) is told what offence/who to prosecute by the higher-ups who've the main eye on pleasing their government masters.
Naturally they'll only take to court cases that are rock solid. Any that are on shakey grounds (especially those laws involving the phrase "intent to...") are overlooked. This improves the arrest figures which are in turn on of the many "league tables" that Tony Blair finds so important.
Instead of enforcing (and re-enforcing) existing laws, the government likes to introduce new laws - it looks like they're tough on "crime" while the reality is they couldn't give a monkeys!

Left to their own devices, I'm sure the average copper would rather nab some little thug who's vandalising a car than being photographed dragging a peaceful protestor away.
 
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#3
JurekB said:
...

Source

... Then there was the lady who stated on BBC Radio that she didn't think it was a good idea for gays to foster children. She was contacted by the police and warned that she might be liable for prosecution. ...
I heard the lady complaining about that on the BBC Radio4 Today programme. The way she told it, some young woman phoned her up, said she was from the police, that there had been complaints about the woman's anti-gay statement and that her name had been put on a list. The lady tried to ascertain what crime she had committed, but the young woman was evasive.

When the police warn people about their actions, they don't usually do it over the phone, as far as I know. However, it's just possible that a malicious young malingerer might have got the lady's phone number and given her a ring, pretending to be a policewoman!

The radio interviewer didn't bother to ask if that might have been possible and the anti-Political Correctness juggernaut rolled on.
 

Sardan2

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#4
This sort of crap worries me too. The woman who wanted to read out the names of the war dead was well within her rights and frankly I'm disgusted by the government/police's reaction.

I'm happy for the religious nuts to say what they like (cf Sir Iqbal) as it shows them to be the bigots they are.
 

escargot

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#5
My local rag (not a million miles from Jurek's ;) ) carried a friendly warning before xmas to the effect that 'Shoppers shouldn't be alarmed if they see the police carrying guns in the town centre - it's for YOUR protection! There are a lot of pickpockets about in the run-up to xmas. :D '

So, summary execution is now the penalty for purse-snatching, is it?

Nice of them to let us know.

I somehow didn't feel much like shopping after that.
 
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#6
This is more about perceived political correctness than police powers. And if that's the problem, then sorry, but the people of this country voted for a socialist government. They are getting exactly what they asked for.

In actual fact the police don't have much power as I know from personal experience. So wrapped up in paperwork and red tape all they can do is apologise to victims of crime and shrug their shoulders.
 

rynner2

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#7
This is all piffle, a load of stories concocted by the meejah to sway public opinion and make money.

Our police and politicians are the best in the world!



Of course I don't believe that, I just thought I'd save Arthur the trouble of saying it! :D
 

mejane

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#9
Pietro_Mercurios said:
JurekB said:
...

Source

... Then there was the lady who stated on BBC Radio that she didn't think it was a good idea for gays to foster children. She was contacted by the police and warned that she might be liable for prosecution. ...
I heard the lady complaining about that on the BBC Radio4 Today programme. The way she told it, some young woman phoned her up, said she was from the police, that there had been complaints about the woman's anti-gay statement and that her name had been put on a list. The lady tried to ascertain what crime she had committed, but the young woman was evasive.

When the police warn people about their actions, they don't usually do it over the phone, as far as I know. However, it's just possible that a malicious young malingerer might have got the lady's phone number and given her a ring, pretending to be a policewoman!

The radio interviewer didn't bother to ask if that might have been possible and the anti-Political Correctness juggernaut rolled on.
This suggestion was raised later (can't remember exactly when - probably Broadcasting House on Sunday morning) and you'll all be glad to know that some people did stand up for her right to free speech.

Incidently, IIRC, in the original interview the woman (wish I could remember her name!) said that children need both a mother and father - she wasn't gay-bashing (or single-parent-family-bashing) as such just arguing in favour of the traditional family. It was part of a debate, and you can't have a debate when everyone agrees.

------

I have a similar reaction to armed police as Escargot - they make me nervous, not happy and safe. There were armed police at Oxford railway station during the summer and my nerves weren't helped when I finally got on the train (a virgin one - never knowingly on time) and a young scruffy man put his rucksack on the seat opposite me and literally ran out of the carriage... if the guard had come along before the man had returned from the toilet then I suspect he may have been shot for the heinous crime of having a full bladder!

Jane.
 

welsh_rune

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#10
I am similarly concerned by the thought that we are increasing moving to a society where we are gagged from speaking because we may infringe increasingly an a minorities Human Rights. I am convinced the HRA is the main cause of this problem there the needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many and where we fear to upset minority groups particularly ethnic minorities or religious minorities.

Of couse the main pioneer of the HRA id the UK is Tony Blair, and he's on record as saying it's his proudest moment. And who is the formost lawyer on the HRA in the UK today? Yes, Cherie Blair. Coincidence, or perhaps engineered that way....
 

Peripart

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#11
Ironically, despite all these extra laws and petty regulations, we'll struggle to attain true police state status due to the erosion of the police force itself. There are now so many rules to follow and forms to fill in that the "bobby on the beat" is rarer than a thylacine these days.

Is it too simplistic to ask why we can't have just a few common-sense laws and enough police to enforce them? Like Stormkhan before, I'm getting very frustrated by the way the government (and I guess it was the same in the past) rushes out a new law as a kneekerk reaction to some high-profile incident, and parades this new law as a breakthrough, when all most of us want is the old laws enforced properly.

Must go now. The foam is starting to drip from my mouth!
 

Stormkhan

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#12
drbastard said:
This is more about perceived political correctness than police powers. And if that's the problem, then sorry, but the people of this country voted for a socialist government. They are getting exactly what they asked for.
The people didn't vote for a socialist government - they voted for Tony Blair's New Labour which has studiously rooted out any form of socialism and is not socilaist in the slightest. Why they voted for NuLabour(tm) is an entirely different can of worms.

As politicians say "If in doubt, yell 'War Against Terror!' then pick up your expenses."
 

techybloke666

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#13
The people didn't vote for a socialist government - they voted for Tony Blair's New Labour which has studiously rooted out any form of socialism and is not socilaist in the slightest. Why they voted for NuLabour(tm) is an entirely different can of worms.
well said young man

this governenment is just an extension of Maggies right wing extremist crap.
 

Electric_Monk

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#14
I must admit I'm becoming concerned by the UK government. They seem to be trying to control everything they possibly can more and more, what with over the top taxes, ever more prohibitive laws and schemes like the new CCTV network they want to quickly install that will track all vehicles at all times, so they basically know where you are if you happen to go by car, it's all getting a bit Big Brother.
 

escargot

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#15
They'll soon know where you are if you go by car, yup, and don't forget Techy's warning about skin implants. :shock:

Soon, we'll all be so well controlled by CCTV and chips that the police won't even bother to arrest us. They'll just send us a disposable gun through the post to shoot ourselves with.
 

lupinwick

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#16
:rofl:

Given current standards in the IT industry I should think we're all safe from that!
 

barfing_pumpkin

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#18
It could be that totalitarianism arrives, and we don't know about it.

Usually, I'd scoff at the idea that Britian might become a police/totalitarian state. But lately...I've come to wonder.

The CC cameras, for example. Go out one day, with a mind to notice as many as you can. They're everywhere, yet somehow - whether it's a design feature or due to siting - you never really notice them unless you really mean to. BTW - do the authorities require planning permission to erect a security camera (as is required when a new mobile phone mast is being considered)?

The fact that Jack Straw was - and maybe still is - considering scrapping juries for 'certain' offences. What will he replace them with? And how long before 'other' offences start falling under this umbrella.

'Goldsteinism' (cf: Orwell's nineteen eighty-four). The use of a fearsome and powerful hate figure to focus public anger (away from the issues that count), whose agents are 'everywhere', and who will require more 'assertive' legislation if his influence is to be quelled. Helps if they're high-tech, too - like having vast complexes carved inside mountains, for instance - for that real James Bond Villain frission.

Sustained war as means of control - ie, the 'war on terror'. Cf - again - with Orwell's nineteen eighty-four, where sustained war was a means of keeping production going without material benefit to the citizenry. In this case, sustained war could very well be being used to introduce more repressive legislation (such as trial without jury, and extending the length of time for the questioning of 'terrorist suspects', amongst others.)

De facto control of the press: Toe the party line, and you get all the juicy stories coming out from number ten, and exclusives with the prime minister. Don't, and you get nothing.

And - most chilling of all - nobody really seems that bothered about it! Which beggars the question: am I just being a tad paranoid here? Or does the machinery of encroaching totalitarianism run so quiet as to be inaudible but to the few?
 

Stormkhan

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#19
Mustn't forget the totalitarian/incompetant state in Gilliams Brazil!

In the UK, the Government want state control and pay for consultants. Consultants draft some pretty impressive science fiction, taken from various internet sources and tech-company brochures and call it up to date technology. Taxpers pay for the projects and the tech-companies then decide to actually stop mucking about with the prototype and try to come up with working gear ... which doesn't. Project gets shelved and everyone gets paid at taxpayers expense.
Sorted!
 

Jerry_B

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#20
barfing_pumpkin said:
And - most chilling of all - nobody really seems that bothered about it! Which beggars the question: am I just being a tad paranoid here? Or does the machinery of encroaching totalitarianism run so quiet as to be inaudible but to the few?
Well, that's not quite true. Groups like 'Liberty' don't run shy of voicing their concerns whenever it's necessary. And it doesn't seem that all MPs are always willing to toe the party line, or jump too much on whatever bandwagon comes along.

As with this so-called 'socialist' govt, and the Tory one before it, alot of what's being churned out as policy is pretty much quick-fix stuff. Hence the reliance on CCTV, for example. Likewise, new laws get trotted out once in a while because of whatever the issue of the day happens to be, but that doesn't mean that they're of much, if any, use in real terms.

I think alot of this is simply cod-populism, rather than an encroaching police state. More often than not it seems that it's the police themselves who sometimes overstep the mark, with an overuse or certain bending of their perceived powers - for which they're usually stopped short.
 

Dingo667

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#21
What I dispise is the "nannying". Our true freedom has long gone. Why can't I eat or smoke what I want, why does everything that is "bad" for us have to be BANNED?
I mean imagine everything that could harm us is banned [smoking, drinking, eating fatty foods, driving at high speed etc], will it stop?
No way it won't because in that not-so-utopic-utopia, there will be other things that might harm us, like crowds, not drinking enough water, certain chemicals in our beauty products etc. Then wehn all those are banned [or forced upon us], we might get hurt by wind, rain, walking too fast, corners of buildings that are not rounded up as the law requires, after that our clothes will be banned and we will have to wear gov. approved white overalls. No hair should be longer than the ear as we might chocke on it.

I want freedom, I want to do what I like even though it may be dangerous for me. I want to have the freedom to ruin my body if I want to, was I born free? No way.
We are tagged, tracked and told what to do in a maner that is so sublime that most people don't even notice.
All a gov needs to know about me is that I exist so they can do their calculations as to how big the public transport should be or how many schols to build. The rest is none of anyones business. Why do they "care" about our health anyway?
Is it to save money on the NHS? Why bother if I fancy ruining myself as long as I don't drag others into it. And lets face it the only chain reaction dragging I'm doing is because the law makes everything illegal. As someone once said: A crime is only a crime because there is a law that makes it one.
Furthermore about teh police state. We were once caught up in a massive fight that ended up with us having to go to hospital. This was not instigated by us or our fault that there were about 10 to 2 who looked for some people they could do this to. Now we obviously wanted them arrested and even knew one persons name after asking around. Did the police ever bother?
Nothing ever came of it, even though I repeadedly called the police. Nothing.
However when I went 33mph in a 30mph zone I got found out in a jiffy, and fined. Also whe you get stopped and they can't find anything wrong with you or your taxdisk, they find something else to make it worth their while. Thereby giving normally lawabiding people cautions or fines or points. But when stupid fecking teenagers stab perfectly decent people they never actually get caught or prosecuted or whatever. It stinks like rotten carcass. What is going on?
 

Peripart

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#22
Don't get me started, or I'll begin banging on about how it's heading to hell in a hand-cart, and then there will be no stopping me. But you're right, Dingo, that an ideal government would be one that has just enough information about us to provide us with decent services and collect our taxes, but no more.

Perhaps government should be chosen like jury service, where we all randomly get a go? Instead you get self-serving, arrogant scum like Mandelson and Prescott (to name only two recent examples - don't get me wrong, I hold no brief for the other lot, either!) who fill our lives with their petty nannying ideas, and then get promoted out of harm's way when they're exposed as corrupt idiots.

Oh, and to make things worse, every new avatar I try to upload disappears. I blame the government!

Sorry, what was the question again?
 

BaronHardacre

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#23
I think one of the problems, in this country in particular, is that the general public find it all too easy to let the govt tell them what to do. It saves them from having to be responsible for anything, themselves included. It doesn't help that any form of internal rebellion, whether that be strikes, or riots, seems to have been washed out of the nations psyche by waves of apathy.
The nearest we get these days is that awful Live8 thing. Protest sponsered by corporations, and featuring, predominantly rich, white, middle class men. Yeah, that'll stick it to the man, if you play your bad M.O.R rock to the masses... :roll:
Anyway, back to the thread...
 

Electric_Monk

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#24
Peripart said:
Perhaps government should be chosen like jury service, where we all randomly get a go?
I often try to think of a way that the government might be made better, and this is one of the schemes I've considered, as it addresses one of the major concerns which is that the people who want to run the country and so become politicians could be the worst people at actually doing it ;)

What if by chance you got a bunch of bad eggs in one jury? Would they be allowed to overthrough the government? Perhaps if really major changes to government went to a public vote that couldn't be overridden by the selected officials for that week/month/year then it'd work, but then who enforces it that can be entrusted not to overthrow? :)
 

lupinwick

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#25
Didn't Arthur C Clarke in 1 of his novels have the government selected from the pool of people qualified to do the job? It was a fixed term thing and selection for positions were staggered so there was never a gap between new folks stepping in.

Or was I dreaming it? Hmmm.
 

Jerry_B

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#26
Peripart said:
Don't get me started, or I'll begin banging on about how it's heading to hell in a hand-cart, and then there will be no stopping me. But you're right, Dingo, that an ideal government would be one that has just enough information about us to provide us with decent services and collect our taxes, but no more.
The thing is, some things - for example, health issues - have to have some form of State input, especially as we have a universal health system funded by tax payers. So if anyone wants to take their health into their own hands by chosing to smoke, then that's fine - but only up to a certain extent. Smoking, along with other things, is known to have harmful fallout that can harm others - so the State has to make sure that that harm is curtailed if at all possible. Also, it also has to keep an eye on the general level of health in the population, otherwise various factors could come along which have a delerious effect on future generations. After all, if future generations are all obese and suffering from cancer, not much is going to get made or done in this country ;)
 

Dingo667

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#27
Nowadays with the internet, why should there be a gov at all? All we need to do is when a problem arises, a questionnaire will be issued as to what the majority would like to be done about it and hey presto real democracy. So if the majority gets pissed off about useless little shites going ferile and vote for them to be chcked into a bottomless pit it'll be done...HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

On a serious side this would teach everyone to actually think about stuff and at the same time would raise responsibility.
 

lupinwick

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#28
Its a fine balance the government have to tread. Freedom to smoke (or whatever) vs. the risks of doing so (and potentially the cash benefit to the government) all need weighing up. I could mention doing things for the common good - but alas that seems to equate with the rich 5% or so :)
 

lupinwick

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#29
Dingo667 said:
Nowadays with the internet, why should there be a gov at all? All we need to do is when a problem arises, a questionnaire will be issued as to what the majority would like to be done about it and hey presto real democracy. So if the majority gets pissed off about useless little shites going ferile and vote for them to be chcked into a bottomless pit it'll be done...HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

On a serious side this would teach everyone to actually think about stuff and at the same time would raise responsibility.
I think Asmimov did a story about that as well. Apathy reigned and nowt got done :) Or was it Clarke? Or haven't I woken up yet?
 

barfing_pumpkin

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#30
All we need to do is when a problem arises, a questionnaire will be issued as to what the majority would like to be done about it and hey presto real democracy.
I believe the ancient Athenians practised a similar system - and all they ever ended up voting for were new walls around their city. There's a lesson in there...I think.

I take your point, Jerry_B - that's it's all really down to political short-termism. But even so - it does appear as if the foundations of totalitarianism are being slowly put into place. Now, I'm not (yet) cynical enough to believe that Tony Blair has a genuine disdain for the democratic process...but it may be that one day we'll have someone at number ten who thinks differently, and who also has the instruments of repression ready and waiting.
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