Freedom

Created on 9/5/2008

What do we value more than life itself? Freedom. I write this with some certainty because many of our fathers and grand fathers died to preserve our freedoms from tyranny and oppression. Like many of you I think these freedoms, soaked in the blood of our forefathers, are being stripped from us in the UK, one by one.

This might appear alarmist, but it is, nevertheless, a common theme of many conversations in our country. The stripping away of freedom doesn’t happen with suddenness or crudity, it might not even be intentional, but the results are nevertheless deeply worrying and to be opposed. Read The Diary of Anne Frank, the story of the young Jewish girl growing up in war torn Holland during the Nazi occupation and you can witness a perfect example of how freedoms can be stripped away from the individual in almost acceptable, imperceptible increments. This happened in Holland where the Jews were forced to wear a star to set them apart, then not allowed to ride their bicycle, then not allowed onto the trams, then to own businesses, then to educate, then to be educated, be doctors and so on without end.

In today’s UK we don’t have oppressive racial laws, quite the opposite. Here we have the beginnings of a cross between the seminal books, Animal Farm and 1984, both by the late, great British author, George Orwell. The state is becoming progressively more all seeing and all knowing and not many are yet resisting. All the measures we will point out were supposedly originated as counter terrorism actions. What we should be doing is evaluating the need for these measures and understanding where these abuses of our personal liberty will inevitably lead.

If you dare to question any of these measures you are always told, “If you’ve done nothing wrong why would you worry about these measures?” The implication is that you must be guilty of something or you would quietly go along with any of these new measures. Well, I’ve done nothing wrong that I know of, and I strongly object. The truth is if this were a right wing government putting such measures in place then the country would be rioting on the streets to fight against them.

As those of you who have read my blogs or articles before will know I have grave reservations about the 4.5 million CCTV cameras we have in place. Do we really need anything like this number, and do we need to be photographed 300 to 400 a times per day? The argument in favor of those that support this level of surveillance is that this amount of cameras has allowed our security forces to quickly capture the perpetrators of some of the terrorist attacks against our society. I believe this argument has some merit, but is the price greater than the result?

Don’t forget that we are being photographed all of the time, whatever we’re doing, and wherever we are. Remember that in the UK many of the local authorities have hidden cameras in hundreds of thousand of our rubbish bins to check whether we are correctly separating our trash as instructed. Is this the kind of society you want to live in?