Monday, June 23, 2008

Heed the signs...

Over at The Grauniad, Phil Hall wonders if Britain is moving towards a dictatorship.
But there is also evidence around us that the British government is engaging in repression. And not just in Iraq or Afghanistan, but here in Britain. Perhaps those of us who have lived for a time under dictatorships can spot some of the warning signs:
  • Inconvenient elections are avoided in the name of getting on with the job.

  • Leaders of the opposition are character-assassinated by the state media.

  • Institutions like the legislature begin to lose their independence and traditional role.

  • Citizens are increasingly afraid to speak openly on certain issues.

  • Citizens are observed and monitored on cameras and the government can tap into their conversations at will.

  • Governments can snatch anyone from their homes or off the street and detain them without trial on charges of treason or terrorism.

  • Ethnic and religious minorities are persecuted and are made into scapegoats.

  • The state increasingly intervenes in family and community life in an attempt to control citizens' behaviour.

  • The focus of discussion moves away from the issues and into a narrative of political rivalries and gossip spreads.

  • Governments use bread and circuses to shut people up and distract attention away from their increasing political impotence.

  • Public spaces for demonstrations are closed down and restricted.

  • Large and ridiculous monuments are built to impress the citizens.

  • Individuals have to carry ID with them at all times and the government holds large amounts of information on every citizen.

How does the British government rate on the dictatorship scale?

But it's all OK, isn't it? Even if we are moving towards a dictatorship, it is absolutely fine because that is what the people voted for, is it not?

Via Bishop Hill
, and quoted by the Adam Smith Institute, Gibbon showed us what happens when we get to such a state.
In the end, more than freedom, they [the ancient Athenians] wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all—security, comfort, and freedom. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again.

Does that sound at all familiar? It should do...


Snowolf said...


We're not as good as Albania or Moldova, but are better than the USA and the Russians.

Now, is there a relegation or promotion play-off? With the Olympic Shames due to start in China soon, can state repression be incorporated as a demonstration event? Perhaps we can then put it on as a full Olympic event, I mean just look at the security implications in hosting the games, people could have all sorts of demonstrations and complaints.

We've got four years to train to make ourselves as reactionary and repressive as possible. Then we can hold our heads high.


dirty european socialist said...

I give up. The tories will win no problem with this paranoia toward a liberal government all they did was bring in strong laws against terror and they are treated like Hitler.
We need to lock up terror scum. We need cctv cameras and strong laws to defeat evil terror scum. It is not rocket science. :
Bin Laden will wipe us out and some liberal do gooders get worked up becauyse some terro shithead is locked up for a few weeks.

Snowolf said...

You, sir, are a fool of the lowest magnitude.

They'll come for the Brown people first, then they'll come for those who speak out against the policies, then they'll come for those deemed 'socially undesirable', when they come for you, there'll be no-one left to defend your freedom.

dirty european socialist said...

Snowolf Grow up. This is not a police state they are going after evil criminals who want to wipe us out. The terrorists will wipe you oput with no tears.

Old Holborn - bitter and twisted said...

I have sinned.

I put a glass bottle in the normal rubbish bin.

The Council Stasi are after me. They watch my house. They listen to my phone calls and read my Emails.

I am waiting for the next ZaNulabour conference where I will confess my sins loudly from the back during Jack Straws speech. I will shout "rubbish" to draw attention to my transgressions. I fully expect to be bundled out by brownshirts, held by the Police and banned from public meetings.

I have seen it happen before.

James said...

This is not a police state they are going after evil criminals who want to wipe us out.

So what is your response to all those councils using anti terror laws to track people for minor misdemeanors?

Where does this blind faith in our government come from? They have already shown that they can't be trusted with the powers they already have.

I despair of pointing out historic parallels these days.

Henry North London said...

For fucks sake

We're on the slippery slope

Do you know that as a locum in the NHS you wont be employed unless you produce your passport, your degree certificate, your proof of having been immunised and proof of a little scar on your arm where you were immunised a CRB and photos and really personal information?

Its gone mad its a fucking nightmare and most of us are sleepwalking into it

Wake up this is NAZI britain

Anonymous said...

My dear Henry,
I quite agree. Having suffered a massive reversal of personal capital - eg my business going fucking bust, I have been reduced to seeking manual labour once again.

To gain this position of servitude at the enormous sum of £8 per hour I have had to produce: passport, two bills to my home address (no fuckng problem with the bills) and a marriage certificate. Granted, the EUSSR passport is a piece of arse wipe nowdays, but all of this crap for a menial job, oh
did not mention the CRB check as well.

Never mind, the ID card will replace all that inconvenient evidence. Can't wait to get mine with a nice shiny ringpiece of stars on it to show I am a good and subservient 'european' and worthy of a job in my own country.

Antipholus Papps said...

@dirty european socialist:

I shouldn't really encourage you but you display such total ignorance of history that I have to comment. FFS, all Hitler did was bring in 'strong laws against terror' [ism - sic], that's how he consolidated his power. The Weimar Republic was transformed into the Nazi state by a government that promoted hysterical fear of 'terrorism' to undermine due process and destroy the rule of law. Given that Britain is country so obsessed with the Nazis that you cannot watch British TV on any given night without reference to the Nazis being made on at least one programme (my flatmate is German and it's frankly embarrassing), our ignorance of how it came to pass is pretty unforgiveable.

Dirty Euro: said...

Antipholus Papps Hitler is not the same as this government they are sincerely going to do it to islamic nazis, not jews or ordinary people. The NAZIs must be stopped. I know how germany was started i did it at school. I learnt about the night of the long knives, the reichstag fire etc:. History was one of fave subjects. But that should not be used as an excuse to be weak on terrorists. If we are too weak on terror then people will turn to a dictator as demcoracy will be seen as too weak to protect us which is one of the causes of hitler gaining power. They feared like Russians that democracy had failed.

The BNP will say you can not rely on the mainstram parties to protect you so to turn to us. Well I do not want that I want mainstream parties to be seen as the protecotrs as they are. Infact the great thing is the BNP are now weaker on terror than the government. That is good for democracay in the long term and short term i assure you.

Antipholus Papps said...

But, dearest dirty euro, what happens when those same 'terrorism' laws are used to crush any and all dissent? Is Walter Wolfgang a terrorist? He was arrested under 'anti' terrorism law. Is Maya Evans a terrorist? Was Jean Charles de Menezes? If you're not careful, pretty soon any criticism of the ruling regime will be classified as 'terrorism'.