Everyone in Britain is about to get a taste of what happens when you dare to differ in Cruel Britannia
In a desperate fit of irony three years ago, I chose the web address hat4uk*. It’s a long story, don’t go there. But this odd little combination of letters and numbers is what enables everyone from the Guardian (each time I try another assumed name there) to the Brussels Commission to recognise who I really am: that bloke who runs The Slog and doesn’t seem to like anyone and writes politically incorrect things that should never even be thought let alone spoken.
While this has its advantages for me – it provides verification for millions of things – and it’s an even better idea for the marketing guys who now know all my tastes, interests, shoes size and body mass, it means that nobody can use the Net at all without being watched 24/7. The ads that appear on the sites you visit will be about stuff that interests you, but the pinched goblins who run the site will immediately know that your inside leg measurement is 32″ and you need a penis enhancement. And that’s just the women.
So when Tory rebel David Davis (a man whom I admire in many ways) spoke out yesterday against GCHQ watching us, calling it “an unnecessary extension of the ability of the state to snoop on ordinary people”, he was about eight years behind the music. Five years ago, I tried to interest a now prominent Cabinet Member in the fact that Google was up to everything it claimed it wasn’t. He didn’t get it at first, but after being given 6,931 examples, he promised that it would be looked into “when we win power”.
The Government for whom he works is now sort of in power (out of touch or even out of control might be better descriptors) and yesterday announced it had caved in completely to GCHQ. This was the same bunch of people who made Labour Home Secretary Jacqui Smith’s life a misery three years ago because she even considered doing this. She was proposing a £3 billion ‘trial’ of such surveillance, but we all know where that leads: right to yesterday’s announcement.
Nobody should be surprised about the yawn of bitter indifference that greeted the announcement, and the zzzzzz that accompanied Davis’s opposition: this is the generation that let Big Brother in through the front door via Facebook. Twenty-five years of braindead education and Newscorp soft porn have reduced the average person’s ability to discern danger to near zero. But five years on, Google remains untouchable. So the email providor that closed my account one day last year and still hasn’t replied to any of my appeals – and the company whose ads began appearing on my site without permission minus only the payment thing – remains inviolate. Thanks to the ISP switchgear it owns – and which GCHQ needs – Google is completely above the law. There, it joins a host of others in the same position: who, without a free press last year, would’ve included Rupert Murdoch and all his hobgoblins.
There are many things that amaze me about the apathy of modern Brits, chief among which is probably the fact that half our national debt liabilities were acquired illegally by the Mandarins of Whitehall (for their pensions); but I find nothing as hard to understand as the ability of those from all generations to be reassured that they’re only going for a bath really, and then life will be clean and wonderful in this nice little fun-camp called Dachau forever.
A security source categorically insisted to me eighteen months ago that Jacqui Smith’s ‘trial’ mega-snoop not only went ahead without the permission of our Sovereign Body, GCHQ also got the full £13bn immediately. Yesterday’s ‘decision’ was nothing more than a post-build grant of planning permission. But then, the people who take the decisions in our World today have less and less to do with democracy. They are bankers, geeks, media moguls, oilmen, spooks, ISPs, social engineers, and their creatures – the pol-prs unburdened by ethics, ideals or depth.
Let me describe, at random, some personal irritations I now have to put up with because of that. I can’t access German websites direct. I can’t comment at The Guardian. I cannot email the Federal Reserve, the White House, the State Department, Number 10, the Brussels Commission, the Elysee Palace, or Albuquerque. Albuquerque? No, I don’t know why either. In five provinces of China, you can’t get The Slog. Trying to leave a comment thread in the Australian online press is just too much of a headache to bother any more. And that bastion of free Western sweat-shop Journalism Huffington Post will not even allow me to fill in the form for another commenting identity.
And this because I am the owner of a pc, from which emanates the beastly internet terrorism of hat4uk.
Ah but ah but, I hear the gullible cry, there is a real secutity need you know. Bollocks. Read this from yesterday’s Reuters report as gold-plated example of risible spin:
“It is vital that police and security services are able to obtain communications data in certain circumstances to investigate serious crime and terrorism and to protect the public,” a Home Office spokesman said.
In a related incident, the Department for Health said it was vital to install a camera in every loo in the world so that all those 0.004% of citizens foolishly taking a dump in the wrong manner and thus likely to become a cost to the NHS could be observed before they became a medical emergency.
There is only one serious crime in the UK that would require any GCHQ snooping, and that is commercial and market hacking. But as the country is currently at the bow and arrows stage on that one, this would be like Cavemen being given carte blanche to observe the moon landings. It’s a big ask when you can’t even turn the TV on. And an even bigger one when you think the TV is the launch vehicle.
As for the terrorist threat, well, the cheek of this is beyond satire. A foolish Government lets in every kind of screaming mullah who hates us, keeps no check at all on their whereabouts, denies there is anything sinister in carrying placards saying ‘Behead Democrat Infidels’, and then takes the Dubya shilling in order to illegally attack the wrong country. What we the people get in return is 55 dead tube travellers, no litter bins any more, a five-mile queue to get on an aeroplane……and as of yesterday, the end of any pretence at all that we any longer have a right to privacy – short of being called Barclay, and living on the Isle of Sark. We have no rights against imprisonment without trial – short of being called Murdoch.We have no right to hit people too hard and take bribes – short of being called Police Constable.
The Home Office capitulation in this regard will not, in reality, make much difference – if any: censorship and privacy invasion on the Web is already ubiquitous. The important point, however, is that the right to do such things has not just been given the benefit of a blind eye: it is now The Law. The official recognition that we have no rights at all to be left alone in peace. As the fine German film of a few years ago about the DDR had it, we are now people whose lives are being watched by others….it’s official.
It took 28 years longer than George Orwell said it would, but the tape was finally cut by Theresa Will yesterday at the grand opening of 1984. I have devoted eight years to predicting this…along with tens of thousands of others. I have watched as we drifted from New Labour Party conferences resembling the Nazi Parteitag, via ‘free speech areas’ at the next GOP conference, laws, bondholder rights and constitutional courts brushed aside by the Merkels and Draghis of the EU, to – inevitably – the abolition of citizen privacy by a British political rabble whose mudslinging egomaniacs – almost down to the last man or woman – are traitors to the millions who lost life or liberty in defending us against totalitarian States in the Twentieth Century.
The Stauffenberg plotters, the Gulag prisoners, the anti-McCarthy campaigners, the World War II soldiers, the Hungarians of 1956, Aleksander Dubcek, Aleksander Solshynitsin, Solidanarsk, Nelson Mandela, the anti-Putin movement in Russia…hundreds and thousands of individuals and organisations who kept the flame alive have now seen it casually blown out by the Mother of Parliaments.
There is no conspiracy here, because there is no opposition. So now we know at last: whatever economic or fiscal disasters we have to put up with from here, in terms of liberal democratic civilisation, the only way is up.
* Oh alright then, I’ll go there. It was during that surreal period when it really looked like Harriet Harman might be the next Prime Minister. It was mercifully brief, but the bad news is we got David Cameron. A case, perhaps, of out of the anti-man and into the mire.