I’ve spent the last few months in a small town on the English coast. Part of my day includes grocery shopping at the local store. And shopping here regularly shocks me. I will never adjust to the absolutely unrealistic prices for food nor will I ever grow fond of “traditional English” cooking, something HL Mencken once described as one step removed from cannibalism.
But the real horror here has been how far the UK has gone toward being a police state under the watch of the loathsome Tony Blair.
Irving Berlin, in 1946, wrote some lyrics for the musical Annie Get Your Gun which included the line: “Anything you can do I can do better; I can do anything better than you.” That encapsulates the relationship between Blair and King George of the Imperial Republic of the United States, Afghanistan, Iraq and soon to be announced. Unfortunately what they try to outdo each other with is authoritarian violations of civil liberties and expansions of state power.
But back to the grocery store for a minute. I’m leaving the UK in a few days and I wanted to pick up some items to take with, mainly since where I’m going the groceries are not in English and often that makes it hard for me to find specific items. And one item I needed was vanilla extract.
I’ve bought vanilla extract in three different countries before. No hassle. Today was slightly different. As the $8 bottle of vanilla extract was being scanned the clerk mumbled something. I had to have her repeat it. I still didn’t get what she was saying. It was one of those English accents that requires subtitles. The third time, and with a little help from the amused gentleman in line behind me, I finally got what she was saying.
She was under 18 years of age. So she is forbidden by law from pressing the buttons on the cash register to ring up the sale of the vanilla extract. I can still buy it, for now at least, but she can’t push the buttons without becoming a criminal of some kind. So we have to wait for a supervisor to come over and inspect the suspicious customer wishing to buy a small bottle of vanilla extract. Apparently the Nannys in Whitehall are worried that underaged individuals will buy expensive bottles of vanilla extract to consume in sufficient quantities to get plastered. From what I’ve seen the local yobs have no difficulty finding other forms of intoxication that are far cheaper and much more efficient.
And today’s post brought more interesting news. Local council elections are coming up. Already the Labour yahoos have been by and so have the UK Independence Party, but then their local offices are next door. But today the Conservative Party put in their appearance with a nice color brochure showing three of their local candidates, two of whom I’ve met since being here.
And what do they promise? Well, they promise lots more government! The social welfare state is alive and well in the Conservative Party. The difference is that they promise to give more of it than the Labour Party does. And they promise voters that if put back into office they will increase government surveillance of the population! More state cameras filming more people going about their daily life.
Of course they take their cues from David Cameron who is doing his best to be a Blair-lite candidate if not a Blairite candidate. What principles of small government the Conservative Party briefly and weakly held seems abandoned. Blair has had some opposition from his own backbenchers but on a whole he pushed the fascist state ahead by leaps and bounds.
And what I suspect will shock my American readers is that Blair is far more of a fascist, in the literal sense, than Bush. Fascism and socialism are, in practice, quite similar. Both promote state domination. The fascist just allows the pretence of private ownership. But the state regulates and controls what private owners may do. That is economic fascism and that has always been popular within Labour circles. In fact much of what is called “progressive” and “socialist” around the world is nothing more than economic fascism.
But Blair is adding the police state element of fascism to the mix in ways that America has yet to do so explicitly. As odious as the Patriot Act may be the UK has gone further. Admittedly they don’t run concentration camps and engage in torture but they don’t have to. Blair’s Big Brother George does that for them. But England supports the camps, the torture, the suspension of habeas corpus and the rest of the Bushian imitation of National Socialism. Still Blair is marching much quicker toward the final solution.
Consider that he wishes to have a DNA database of every citizen. Already the British fascist state has such information on one out every 20 citizens. Totalitarian Tony wishes to impose, and will shortly, a national passport which citizens will need to carry around with them in case one of the state police stop them and demand it. There appear to be plans to use RFID chips in the ID so that scanners placed around the country can trace the whereabouts of anyone at any time. I presume this can easily be used to also find anyone who is not carrying a card thus making arrest easier.
Any and all moves to a new address are to be reported to the local gestapo office immediately. And if you die without permission then your grieving relatives better hop down and report it right away lest they be fined. Surely you don’t think they should put grieving and a funeral ahead of our collective obligations to the State!
A new program would place monitors in every vehicle in the country in order to allow the government to trace your every move on the road. This will be incorporated into the tens of thousands of closed circuit television cameras Blair has installed. Currently England is alleged to have one out every five close circuit cameras in the world installed to monitor the population. As dictitorial as Bush has been Blair has gone much further.
In a joint effort the Tony and George Comedy Hour have pushed through requirements that put all people traveling in Europe and the US under surveillance before they even leave home. Vast amounts of private details, including your credit card details, are supposed to be sent to British and US gestapo agents prior to your boarding a plane. All this information, making you a ripe target for identity theft, is then scrutinized by a secret computer program that will determine whether or not you are a security threat. Suspicious details include seat preferences, meal preferences, how you pay for your ticket, etc. And if it targets you wrongly -- and most, if not all, people targeted will be wrong ---well that’s just too bad. Stop whining. You act like you have rights.
In another move the British government has told tax agents to use satellites to monitor the homes of people in the UK. It is used to watch for “improvements” since if you make any effort to improve your life you are required to pay the state for permission to do so. Already they demand that all your computer visits and phone calls for the last two years be saved and open to government inspection.
And if it gets really bad? Will the British people rise up and defend their liberty? Not likely, the government confiscated all legally held, registered guns several years ago. There are still several million firearms in the country, more so now then when the ban went into effect, but the government says those are all in the hands of criminals, hence the reason for the increase in crimes committed with guns after all guns were banned.
And since a huge percentage of the population now pays their living expenses with state largess the tendency will be to avoid biting the hand that feeds them. As awful as things have become under King George I can assure you that England is in far worse shape. When they are finished buying vanilla extract will be the least of your worries.
In the film V for Vendetta the “Leader” of the British state, Adam Sutler, is seen speaking to a police officer whose job is to find the terrorist V. Sutler swivels in his chair and gestures toward a computer. He says to the officer:
“Mr. Almond, do you know what this is behind me?
“Uh... the Fate computer system, sir?”
“No. No sir. It’s more than that. This, this computer is a symbol, Mr. Almond. A symbol of the highest attainable goal of mankind. Do you know what that goal is, Mr. Almond?”
“Control, Mr. Almond! Control! The world around us is a changing, directionless, amoral morass and it is up to man and man alone to set things right! Without control, man is nothing, more than any other stinking, sweating, brute animal. Control, Mr. Almond. The control that we have painstakingly built up over the last ten years.”
The motto of Sutler and his crew of fascists is “England Prevails.” Indeed, it appears that England prevails. The good news is that when freedom dies you don’t have to file a report with the local government agents -- they knew before you did.
Photo: John Hurt doing his Tony Blair impersonation as Adam Sutler.