The Cost of Government Paranoia.

Paranoia now stalks the streets.

Michael Binyon

"Is this Russia? Or the Middle East? I remember the list from 40 years ago, when I first went to the Soviet Union: no bridges, no junctions, no railway stations, no government buildings, no soldiers and, above all, no police. Point your camera at any of these and you were under arrest."

"Forget the West's former easy tolerance. Paranoia now stalks the streets and shopping centres of Britain. From this week, any unauthorised photograph, even inadvertent, of a policeman could land you in jail for up to ten years. Ten years! What madness is this? And it's not just the police. Under Section 76 of the 2008 Counter-Terrorism Act, any picture “likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism” is prohibited. That means almost anything: railways, public buildings, government offices, monuments, parades, communications centres. Every officious jobsworth now has a right to stop you, tear out the film or delete the images and issue charges if you cannot convince the police that you are a train spotter or innocent amateur photographer."

Sean O'Neill has this to say on the costs of this paranoia:

Surveillance will cost more than £34 billion

"Supporters of the Convention on Modern Liberty claim that spending on computer systems ranging from the NHS Spine to the ID card register is rising at an alarming rate across Whitehall"

"A Home Office working party has drawn up three options for surveillance of telephone calls, e-mails and text messages, one of which is the creation of a huge Government-run database. Opponents describe this as a Big Brother project that could cost £12billion over the next ten years."

Lord Bingham of Cornhill, the former Lord Chief Justice and a supporter of the Convention on Modern Liberty, said that citizens should use the Human Rights Act to challenge the spread of the surveillance society.

"Perhaps the British are content to be the most spied upon people in the democratic world,” he wrote in The Guardian. “But this would be surprising given their traditional belief that the state should mind its own business. The right to respect for private and family life embodied in the European Convention on Human Rights is not an ideal weapon to counter the growth of a surveillance society, but failing adequate regulatory oversight, it may be the best weapon there is."

Well then, at least I can sleep soundly at night, knowing, that it isn't the terrorists I should fear, but our own fucking government. Even better, I get to pay for the feeling of complete insecurity our dear Gov is engendering.


  1. They've got listening ones up in Scotland now. They can disguish between the sound of traffic and the sound of someone grunting and/or fighting.. :)

  2. Sue, All the Scots have to do is play the bagpipes near these things, and the listeners will be demanding they shut these things off!!


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