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Thread: Modern Britain mirrors totalitarian state of '1984'

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Question Modern Britain mirrors totalitarian state of '1984'

    Tony Blair has turned Britain into a land where we are all prisoners
    by CHRIS ATKINS - More by this author

    Last updated at 10:20am on 13th June 2007

    Comments (4)

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    Even George Orwell would be shocked. He described the sinister machinations of a totalitarian police state in his novel, 1984, and laid bare the danger of eroding our basic civil liberties, including the right to freedom of speech and the right to privacy.

    Although he famously coined the phrase 'Big Brother is watching you', even Orwell cannot have foreseen just how prescient those words would prove to be.

    Today, in Tony Blair's Britain - which I naively voted into power ten years ago - we have witnessed a breath-taking erosion of civil liberties.

    The truth is we are fast becoming an Orwellian state, our every movement watched, our behaviour monitored, and our freedoms curtailed.

    Between May 1997 and August 2006, New Labour created 3,023 new criminal offences - taking in everything from a law against Polish potatoes (the Polish Potatoes Order 2004) to one which made the creation of a nuclear explosion in Britain officially illegal.

    Then there has been the incredible number of CCTV cameras - a total of 4.2 million, more than in the rest of Europe put together.

    And, yesterday, we learnt that the Government has agreed to let the EU have automatic access to databases of DNA (containing samples of people's hair, sperm or fingernails) in order to help track down criminals, even though many thousands of those on record are totally innocent

    How did all this happen? Who allowed it? To try to answer these questions, I have made a film, Talking Liberties, about the attack on our freedoms.

    I uncovered a disturbing roll call of ancient basic rights which have been systematically destroyed in the self- serving climate of fear this government has perpetuated since the 9/11 attack.

    First there was the Act which banned the age- old right of protest within half-a-mile of Parliament without special police authorisation.

    And who can forget Walter Wolfgang, the pensioner who was dragged out of the Labour Party Conference for daring to heckle the Home Secretary? He was detained under the Terrorism Act 2000, which gives the police unprecedented stop and search powers.

    In 2005 alone, this law was used to stop 35,000 people - none of whom was a terrorist.

    But this is only the thin end of the wedge - our civil liberties, enshrined in British law since the Magna Carta, are being whittled away.

    There has been an unprecedented shift of power away from the individual towards the state - but now this power is being used not to defeat terrorism, but to keep tabs on ordinary citizens. As well as a raft of repressive anti-terror legislation, there are the more insidious infringements of our freedom and privacy.

    We will soon see the introduction of the vast National Identity Register, linking all databases such as the DNA database to which the EU will soon have access.

    The tentacles of these networks will intertwine until they form a vast state surveillance mechanism, which can track every detail of your life: what books you borrowed from the library as a student, your sexual health, your DNA profile, your spending and your whereabouts at any given moment in time.

    Ministers are even creating a children's database, which will record truancy, diet, and medical history.

    And, of course, ID cards will be issued in 2009 - to be used every time we carry out routine tasks such as visiting the dentist. Soon, biometric data - your iris scan, fingerprints and DNA, will help to identify you further.

    And, all the time, there are those CCTV cameras - 20 per cent of the global total, even though Britain only has 0.2 per cent of the world's population.

    New Labour has an absolute obsession with these devices. Soon, more sophisticated cameras will be able to recognise your face and the information matched to one of the national databases.

    All cars will eventually be fitted with a GPS chip, officially to simplify road tax payments but they will also allow government agencies to track every vehicle in the country.

    There are, of course, more alarming implications to being constantly monitored - as Orwell understood. Soon, we will be living in an open-air prison.

    Some may ask: why does all this matter? The answer is that to surrender our identity and privacy so comprehensively is to give up something we will never get back.

    Although New Labour says its mania for data-gathering is all part of its plan to protect us, there's no guarantee that future governments (who will be inheriting a nationwide surveillance machine and the National Identity Register) won't use it to more malign ends.

    Totalitarian regimes have, after all, always collected information on their citizens. Hitler pioneered the use of ID cards as a means of repression. The Belgians left Rwanda with a bloody legacy by implementing an ID card system which divided the population into Hutu and Tutsi.

    When the 1994 genocide began, these cards proved a device for horrific ethnic cleansing, with one million people dying in 100 days. The Stasi secret police in Soviet East Germany kept millions of files in order to keep track of everyone in the country.

    Of course these examples are the extremes - but basic liberties such as privacy and free speech have been hard-won over centuries and history shows that we should not allow them to be brushed aside.

    This shift away from individual freedom towards state power has happened slowly, and almost without us noticing.

    Like so many others, I was proud to put a cross against the box next to New Labour in 1997 as a first-time voter. But now I have become shocked at the vast swathe of new laws which had been introduced, most of them in response to terrorism.

    We are told that this is all for the good - these laws, and the surveillance cameras and ID cards will stop terrorists. Is that the case? Sadly not.

    The London bombers carried ID and were observed on CCTV - of course it did not stop them committing their terrible crime.

    Intelligence experts say that most information leading to genuine breakthroughs come from informants, not through random tracking or surveillance of the general population.

    In any case, liberty and security aren't balanced on some delicate equilibrium, as John Reid, the Home Secretary, and Tony Blair would have us believe. History has shown us that it is precisely when you undermine people's basic rights that they mobilise towards radical groups.

    After all, one of the greatest recruiters for the IRA in Northern Ireland was the policy of internment, under which people were imprisoned without trial. Have we learnt nothing from our past?

    Stop and search laws applied to Britain's Muslim communities will simply polarise those groups. Instead, we need them to help us protect the country from terrorism.

    It's not all doom and gloom, of course - as I hope my film reflects. The sheer absurdity of the bewildering array of idiotic new laws has given us an abundance of bizarre and hilarious situations for our documentary.

    But behind this dark comedy is something much more disturbing. Faced with the threat of terrorism, the Government has told us that we must lay down our freedoms for our lives.

    Perhaps it has forgotten the millions of people from past generations who have laid down their lives for our freedom. I think we owe it to those people to turn this tide.

    Charleston Daily Mail
    24 million cameras? wtf for?
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

  2. #2
    Hit By Ban Bus! AliceInWonderland's Avatar
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    yeah thats pretty fucking scary and they do have cameras all over the place there yet is there an outcry from the citizens?!

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    Elite Member twitchy's Avatar
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    Everyone knows we have always been at war with Oceania.

    "The howling backwoods that is IMDB is where film criticism goes to die (and then have its corpse gang-raped, called a racist, and accused of supporting Al-Qaeda)" ----Sean O'Neal, The Onion AV Club

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Ignorance is strength
    War is peace
    FOX is news
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Hit By Ban Bus! AliceInWonderland's Avatar
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    Omg
    thats fuckin' scary!

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    Elite Member TheMoog's Avatar
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    This morning I was 45 minutes late for work because of a "Traffic Census" (or Traffic Nonsense-us as I prefer to call it...).

    There were signs up, the police were out directing the traffic over to the interviewers, etc.....

    We weren't consulted or pre-warned about the delays, we weren't appraised of the reason/benefits of all this crap, traffic slowed to a crawl, and we were handed cards and told to fill them out. Asking stupid questions like, "are you travelling for business or pleasure?".

    I swapped stories with colleagues when I finally arrived at work and many refused to do so. That's not against the law - yet!

    Honestly - haven't the police got criminals to catch?

    I am sick of this. I think there should be a middle class revolution. You get more hassle trying to get to work and pay your bills than wasters and criminals do in this country...........

    Last year we had the no-smoking in public places ban. Unfortunately, that has stretched to cover smoking IN YOUR OWN CAR. I have never even smoked, but it's the principle of the thing I object to.

    We should be more like the French. They'd fight back!

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    Elite Member twitchy's Avatar
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    Wow, Moog. That's rather freaky.

    "The howling backwoods that is IMDB is where film criticism goes to die (and then have its corpse gang-raped, called a racist, and accused of supporting Al-Qaeda)" ----Sean O'Neal, The Onion AV Club

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Wait, they interview you while driving to work?

    Wtf is that about?
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member JamieElizabeth's Avatar
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    Yeah, please elobarate, Moog.

    The only thing that's been mentioned over here in the States has to with the 'private company Google', and having cameras on the internet.

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    Hit By Ban Bus! AliceInWonderland's Avatar
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    jesus Moog thats so intrusive! I drove through the Hoover DAM a few weeks ago and the American version of a traffic/terrorism safety inspection was some dumbass in a uniform waving car throughs while he sat in his booth screwing around! It was a total joke! and if the Hoover Dam was ever compromised; it would be incredibly destructive, like 5 Katrinas!!!

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    Elite Member TheMoog's Avatar
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    Traffic census causes 11 mile tailback in soaring heat


    Traffic census causes 11 mile tailback in soaring heat | the Daily Mail

    Caught in an 11-mile traffic jam during the hottest July day on record sweltering motorists could only assume there had been an accident.

    It was only, several hours later, as they finally approached the trouble spot, that they discovered there was no crash.

    Instead, council officers had chosen the day that temperatures touched a record-breaking 97.7f (36.5c) to hold a traffic census.

    And even when asked by police to call it off, they refused.

    Yesterday furious drivers slammed Essex County Council, who carried out the roadside interviews on a busy main road during morning and evening rush hour.

    David Dorling, 38, from Wickford, Essex, said: "It was ridiculous.

    "Why on earth did they choose the hottest day of the year to do this. It is an absolute joke.

    "To close one of the main arterial roads in Essex during rush hour is just unbelievable".

    Council workers began the census, which was being carried out on behalf of the Thames Gateway Project, at 7am on Wednesday - a day forecasters had predicted would see record-breaking temperatures - and carried it on till 6pm.

    They based themselves at a roundabout in Laindon, Essex, on the busy A127 to ask drivers questions about their journey to work.

    As rush hour got underway, queues soon began to build up, eventually stretching back 11 miles to Leigh on Sea.

    Some drivers were stuck in tailbacks in the blistering heat for over two hours.

    Colin Chaston, of Hadleigh, was travelling to work in Upminster.

    He said: "I am absolutely disgusted.

    "I spent more than an hour-and-a-half travelling just a handful of miles

    "It was the hottest day of the year and I just can’t believe they did it.

    "They have got no consideration for motorists whatsoever."

    Julian Ware-Lane, of Leigh-on-Sea, said it took him more than two hours to drive the 16 miles.

    He added: "This was an idiot decision taken by someone who does not use this road regularly'

    "I am angry that anyone could take the decision to hold such a survey on a busy road in the morning rush hour - on what was predicted to be the hottest day of the year.

    "I can imagine the less than polite responses from the many fed-up drivers and passengers."

    Essex police received over one hundreds complaints about the exercise and asked council bosses to call it off but they refused.

    Police spokeswoman Heather Turner said: "All traffic surveys should be proportionate and reasonable and any long tailbacks in these conditions would not be acceptable to us".

    Yesterday Rodney Bass, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation said: "The information being gathered will help us develop transportation plans for the future aimed at making journeys across south Essex easier".

    But he added: "We fully acknowledge that the roadside interviews resulted in major delays to drivers.

    "A number of incidents did exacerbate the situation, including accidents on the M11 and M25.

    "In such circumstances we accept that common sense should have prevailed and we should have acted accordingly.

    "We are now in discussion with Essex Police on what lessons can be leant from this and how to manage such circumstances more effectively in the future. We unreservedly apologise to motorists for any inconvenience caused."

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    Elite Member TheMoog's Avatar
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    ^^^ This is a report of one last year. These can take place at any time in any place. It just pisses me off.

    We are not LEGALLY obliged to answer questions. But of course, we've already been incredibly inconvenienced. And for what???

    I think we should stage a protest. A SILENT protest

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    Elite Member TheMoog's Avatar
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    I am sure I'm not allowed to multiple post, but this site says it all:-

    TRAFFIC CENSUS

    TRAFFIC CENSUS

    Derby City Council officials were forced to halt a traffic census for two-and-a-half-hours as it descended into farce at about 9.30am in Borrowash Road on the westbound carriageway of the A52. As officials stopped and quizzed motorists about their driving habits, a traffic jam grew that backed up as far as junction 25 of the motorway near Risley. The council plans further traffic surveys, in different parts of the city, which involves stopping vehicles, handing out cards and requesting details from drivers about their journeys.

    A council spokeswoman said, "The aim is to find out the driving patterns of motorists coming into the city. It will then help us to plan for transportation needs in the future. The surveys will be carried out between working hours, but we won't be publicising where they'll be because drivers will change their route." And that would never do, would it? The traffic problems even hit Derby Crown Court, with a number of cases put back by up to an hour after officials were caught up in the chaos and buses were also got caught up in the queues.

    A police spokesman said, "The organisers decided to cancel the census for a while because it was causing all sorts of problems. It wasn't our decision." What further proof is needed that the council are actively promoting traffic congestion? And how much money has the council cost businesses as well as delaying and inconveniencing many people trying to get to work purely to be told (again) what everyone else already knows? Finally, how much are these surveys costing the taxpayer?

    A52 GRIDLOCK DOWN TO CENSUS STUPIDITY
    By Jane Goddard

    I know that local authorities are not noted for their common sense, but the decision by Derby City Council to hold a traffic census on the westbound A52 at Spondon first thing in the morning plumbed new depths of crass stupidity. I can only assume that the decision was made by someone who did not stop, for one moment, to consider the consequences. For those who do not use this road, let me inform you of a few facts. This stretch of the A52 links the M1 at junction 25 to Derby. It is a dual carriageway and a busy commuter route from Derby to the M1 and Nottingham throughout the day and particularly during the morning and evening rush hours.

    Did no-one consider that closing one of the lanes to stop and question motorists about their use of the road might not cause a few problems in the morning rush hour? Did no-one think that it might have been slightly more sensible to hold the census in a lay-by so that disruption to traffic was kept to a minimum? Certainly, in my experience, this is normally what is done when a traffic census is carried out. As a consequence of their ill-considered actions, hundreds of motorists had their journeys to work severely and unnecessarily delayed. A journey of 10 minutes from the M1 to Derby took 40 minutes and caused me, and countless others, to be severely delayed.

    By the time I had actually crawled to the census point, the questioning had been stopped because of the disastrous knock-on effect to neighbouring roads. Unfortunately, the damage had been done and it took several hours for the jams to ease. As I understand it, the traffic jam was so long, it actually stretched back onto the northbound M1 and east into Nottinghamshire on the other side of junction 25. A colleague, also caught in the gridlock, decided, like many others, to avoid the A52 and take the back roads through Risley from junction 25 with the aim of re-joining the A52 at Borrowash.

    She finally ended up coming through Spondon where she was caught by another traffic census on the main road. Needless to say, the Spondon traffic census results will be entirely distorted by the fact that many motorists driving through would not usually do so because they would normally take the A52! I would be interested to know whether the powers-that-be actually believe they achieved anything worthwhile. Unfortunately, I was not given the opportunity to share my thoughts with the people running the survey.


    __________________________________________________ ____________________________________________

    You can't get to fucking work in peace to pay your taxes to pay for more of the above shit and to keep those idiots in their jobs.

    It's delayed court cases, caused people to miss hospital appointments (and on the good old NHS you might be waiting another 6 months for missing an appointment).

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