It’s probably a very bad idea to introduce politics to this blog, but I don’t think this is really about party politics (I’m sure the story would have been similar if we’d been under the Tories for the last ten years). And anyway it’s too important.
Taking Liberties is a documentary that details in a painstaking, alarming and yet often very funny fashion how our basic civil rights have been wiped out by government legislation over the last decade.
Did you know you could be arrested for wearing a T-shirt reading “Bollocks to Blair”? That you are not allowed to stage any kind of protest or demonstration whatsoever within a one kilometre radius of Parliament without prior written permission from the police? That you have no right to trial by jury? That you can be extradited to the US, just because they want you, with no evidence against you and no charges brought against you, and that this is the only extradition agreement of this kind in the world? That the UK, with one per cent of the world’s population and 0.05 per cent of the earth’s surface, has twenty per cent of the world’s CCTV cameras? That, with the introduction of ASBOs, we are no longer equal in the eyes of the law? That the ID cards that WILL be brought in will do nothing to deter terrorism, but will increase fraud and identity theft, and that the details on there – including everything about you, including your DNA – will be sold on to private companies?
Ah, but if you’ve noting to be guilty about, you’ve nothing to fear; the only people this applies to are people who are a bit dodgy, you might be thinking. Left wing agitators and anarchists, chavs and smelly crusties, and people who look a bit like they might be terrorists.
Well, try telling that to the man who keeps getting arrested for standing outside Downing Street dressed as Charlie Chaplin and holding a BLANK placard, or the two retired headmistresses who had their names and addresses taken by the police for LOOKING at an American air base in Yorkshire from about a mile away, or the 82 year-old, life-long labour supporter and survivor of the Nazi concentration camps who was manhandled out of his seat and detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act for daring to shout “rubbish” at Jack Straw, or the nice middle class people who got arrested in Trafalgar Square for having a picnic with little cakes that had the word ‘freedom’ written on them in icing, or the city banker who is currently in prison in Texas despite committing no crime on American soil, or the Tourette’s sufferer with an ASBO that means he can be arrested for swearing, whereas you, without your ASBO, can say what you like.
Not all the above examples are in the film – some are in this book, which is nothing to do with the film but details the same subject.
The reaction of most people is the same. You start off thinking, ‘this is a joke’, then you think ‘well, just because technically they have these powers doesn’t mean it would actually happen’, then you go, ‘oh shit’.
It’s time to get angry about this before it’s too late – we’re a lot closer than you think to even a blog post like this being deemed illegal.
Go see the film. Get angry. Then go here:
Pete Brown’s Blog would like to apologise for the lack of gags or beer in this post.