"Can you imagine what it must be like living under such constant government surveillance?"
by Ian Mosley
Apparently the spirit of freedom and individual responsibility is not totally extinct in the British Isles. The Tony Blair regime has transformed the United Kingdom into a strange, Orwellian surveillance state where life is constantly monitord by closed-circuit television cameras like Orwell’s telescreens from the novel 1984. But not everybody is simply cowering before Big Brother.
Breitbart reports that “[Scottish actor] Ewan McGregor said he is sick of Britain’s ‘ludicrous nanny state’ rules, which he said might force him to quit the country, in an interview to be published Tuesday. Health and safety regulations were becoming insane, the 36-year-old film star told the weekly Radio Times magazine. The Scottish actor, who played the young Obi-Wan Kenobi in the most recent Star Wars trilogy, blasted the rise of security cameras and London’s congestion charge, which forces drivers to pay to enter the city centre.”
The article goes on to say: “McGregor recently completed a 15,000-mile (24,000-kilometre) motorcycle adventure, riding the length of Africa with best friend and fellow actor Charley Boorman. ‘Our trip opened my eyes to how insane the rules are in Britain — CCTV cameras everywhere, congestion charge — a ludicrous nanny state. If anything drives me out of the country it will be that — not tax, I don’t earn enough.’”
The loony left laws of Britain even affect the movie-maker’s craft directly. According to Breitbart, “When Daniel Craig was unveiled as the new James Bond actor in October 2005, he was forced to wear a life jacket as he sped through London on a boat up the River Thames. It was somewhat out of keeping for the daredevil fictional British spy, in a press call stunt widely acknowledged as having backfired. ‘It’s not his fault. He’s doing what he’s told,’McGregor groaned. ‘Today, health and safety are out of control.’”
In some parts of the United Kingdom, the local town council places secret fiber-optic spy cameras in alleyways and along sidewalks to spot anyone not recycling properly, anyone who’s not tying their garbage bags properly, and -in some places- who is using black bags. (In some Labour-controlled British municipalities, black plastic garbage bags are illegal because they’re considered “racist.” No. I am not making that up.) Throughout the U. K. a small army of semi-professional informers has come into being, watching their neighbors and co-workers and casual passersby for such terrible offenses as littering, spitting on the sidewalk, bad personal hygiene (I am not making that up either; one can now be arrested and fined in Britain for being smelly), loud whistling or offensive language and not mowing their lawns. They then turn in these horrible offenders and collect small rewards, ranging from Tesco gift certificates to small sums of cash.
More sinister is the growing judicial abuse of what are known as ASBOs or Anti-Social Behavior Orders. A judge in Britain can and sometime does issue an arbitrary injunction against a specific individual, ordering him or her to mow their lawn, to get a job, to refrain from using certain words in public (and not just swear words but what we in this country would consider politically protected speech), not to associate or be seen in company with a list of named individuals, not to walk down certain streets or in certain public places, to refrain from certain behaviors such as drinking in pubs which other citizens are allowed to do, and of course to refrain from any behavior which might be considered “racially offensive” (and that covers a huge amount of territory). “Anti-Social Behavior” can even extend to a judicially mandated dress code. British people have been ordered to get haircuts, wear suits and ties, not to wear T-shirts or halter tops and not to wear T-shirts with “obscene, libelous, or offensive words or images.”
Disobeying an ASBO is, of course, punishable by imprisonment without trial for an arbitrary length of time, without charge or due process, solely on the authority and at the whim of the offended judge. (Here it’s called “contempt of court” and is also abused by the judiciary to circumvent due process and formal charges.) There is for all practical purposes no appeals process; anyone likely to have the necessary funds to hire a solicitor or barrister to appeal against an ASBO is rich enough to where they probably won’t be hit with one of them anyway.
Most sinister of all is the new surveillance culture in Britain, the massive array of closed-circuit television cameras which monitor Britons from the moment they step out of their home in the morning until the moment they close their doors at night. A few years ago these CCTV cameras were only in places like major city centre streets and shopping malls, but now they have popped up even in smaller towns and scenic villages. Many are now two-way for audio, so that the CCTV cameras will not only watch someone in the street or in a store or in a public building, but if the person drops a chewing gum wrapper or does something equally horrible and “anti-social,” the camera (or rather the police officer monitoring it, usually a woman) will shout and roar and threaten the person out of nowehere. Hence the term “nanny state.”
Can you imagine what it must be like living under such constant government surveillance? Not quite 24/7 yet, but getting there. I suspect the psychiatric profession in Britain is going to be the big beneficiary here, because they will soon begin treating millions of otherwise mentally healthy people for paranoia. Then again, it isn’t paranoia when they really are constantly watching you.