Thursday, 23 July 2009

Anything China Can Do, We Can Do Better…

..not trade and manufacturing, of course, but we can sure impose illiberal restrictions on freedom of speech just as well, if not better:
Police have been handed 'Chinese-style' powers to enter private homes and seize political posters during the London 2012 Olympics.

Little-noticed measures passed by the Government will allow officers and Olympics officials to enter homes and shops near official venues to confiscate any protest material.
What?! Why…?

Well, it’s all down to legislation designed to allow the all-important advertisers to be able to swoop on illegal threats to their cashflow. And, as usual, badly drafted and allowing extensive overreach:
The powers were introduced by the Olympics Act of 2006, passed by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, supposedly to preserve the monopoly of official advertisers on the London 2012 site.

They would allow advertising posters or hoardings placed in shop or home to be removed.

But the law has been drawn so widely that it also includes 'non-commercial material' - which could extend its reach to include legitimate campaign literature.
I would say it’s just a mistake and not a plan to allow the police these powers for nefarious intent, but we all remember Walter Wolfgang, don’t we?

And how handy those terrorism powers came in when it came to shutting up dissent at the Labour Conference…
Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling said: 'This is a Government who just doesn't understand civil liberties. They may claim these powers won't be used but the frank truth is no one will believe them.'
They understand them just fine. They simply don’t believe that we should have them…
Liberal Democrat spokesman Chris Huhne said: 'This sort of police action runs the risk of using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. 'We should aim to show the Chinese that you can run a successful Olympics without cracking down on protestors and free speech.'
We should aim to show that we can run a successful Olympics for lots of reasons (if we can’t get rid of the damn thing!) but not just to show up the Chinese, surely…?
Scotland Yard denied it had any plans to use the powers.

Assistant Commissioner Chris Allison said: 'We have no intention of using our powers to go in and take down demonstration posters.'
I’m sure you don’t.

I’m also sure you never had the intention to use the terrorism powers the way you did, but you did, didn’t you?
But critics said that - given the powers were now law - it was impossible to predict what would happen in three years time.

Campaigners said the existence of the powers was 'dreadful'. Peter McNeil, who is against the holding of equestrian events in Greenwich Park said: 'It's bullying taken to another level. It's quite appalling that this should happen in a democracy.'
It’s quite appalling that it should happen anywhere, frankly. It’s just additionally surprising that it should happen here.

Well, it is, if you haven’t been paying attention over the last decade or so….

6 comments:

Rob said...

You fucking WHAT? What what WHAT? They can't be serious. Oh, they are.

As for "no intention of using the powers", that is bollocks. State agencies always use, and abuse, the powers they are given.

Another click of the police state ratchet. I bet even the most blase defenders of Labour must be getting the odd doubt now.

Dangerouslysubversivedad said...

Not a chance, Rob. After all, the powers will only be used against the bad people, not the Righteous.

Sue said...

I'm pretty gobsmacked... not only that (you'll like this, not alot)..

And it is important that Britain is portrayed as "friendly, welcoming, dynamic and fun".

Yeah, Britons are a happy bunch of underdogs, aren't they?

JuliaM said...

"State agencies always use, and abuse, the powers they are given."

Indeed...

"Yeah, Britons are a happy bunch of underdogs, aren't they?"

How are they going to accomplish that?! Compulsory smiling laws?

Henry Crun said...

You're suprised, JuliaM. Why? Where have you been since 1997?

Nothing surprises me with this lot anymore.

Fausty said...

It's a good thing this scummy fascist government will be out of power by then. The Tories will be having such a hard time with tax cuts and the economy, they'll have to repeal that law. Let's pile on the pressure!

Unless, of course, it's a Brussels diktat.