If ever I was unsure that the impending move to France was the right thing to do, the thought was dispatched to the mental dustbin last night. It is now (finally) a fairly well known fact that 20% of the world’s CCTV surveillance cameras are installed in the UK, that Croydon has more CCTV watching its residents than New York City and that following Middlesbrough’s testing of ‘talking’ CCTV cameras the UK citizen will likely soon be watched and ordered in every city and town in the country.
But on the last night’s TV news it was announced that Merseyside police will soon be using radio-controlled drone surveillance vehicles. Actually this got out last October but the police spokesman said “The idea of the drone is a long way off, but it is about exploring all technological possibilities to support our war on crime and anti-social behaviour.”
Well he was right; it was a long way off – a whole seven months.
To be honest I don’t know why the government just doesn’t roll out their desired solution. Install subcutaneous RFID tags at birth and be done with it. The general population won’t care, as long as it doesn’t interfere with their bloody television reception.
I once wrote on a painting ‘When I was at school I used to laugh at the implausibility of Orwell’s 1984’. Now the degree to which we’re watched, whether guilty or innocent, has grown to ludicrous levels where even domestic monitoring seems only a small step away. It hasn’t reduced crime and to be honest I don’t think it was ever about reducing crime. It’s about political control of the population and I refuse to live under it.
Another scheme that has raised its very ugly head lately is the profiling of expectant mothers to identify those likely to give birth to children that may grow up to be socially ‘problematic’. So single mothers-to-be, or expectant parents living in areas of deprivation will receive prescribed social support measures to ensure that the children are raised in the manner that government agencies approve of. I don’t have a problem with state support for families that need it – what I object to is the identification of the wrong core problem as the issue that needs addressing. Rather than address poverty, social isolation or a lack of expectation of any personal aspiration, they are trying to target and identify ‘potential criminals’ before they act.
We’ve been here before, only recently, with the race riots that swept through urban Britain in the eighties. If you treat innocent people as potential criminals it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Thank god I’m off.