Wednesday, February 11, 2009

United Kingdom: Prison Nation

I have an internets tubes friend who lives in the UK. Recently he made a forum post where he complained about the UK's nanny state and prison state antics. I'm going to quote his post here. Read what he says, then re-read it, and let it sink in.

The UK is becoming a police state where everyone will be under surveilance, everyone's DNA will be stored, everyone's actions will be tracked (phone, email, travelling) and the police will have immunity to guard the public interest in any way they deem fit. "Public interest" means "government interest" because of course, a strong government is in the public interest.

You should hear the adverts here, they are blatantly offensive. Here's some examples.

"Be sure to notify the DVLA if your car is sold or is off the road, because doing so will help you avoid penalties if you forget."

"The DVLA are reasonable people, they just want to help you pay your car tax. And they have the power to clamp, tow and crush your car."

"But officer, I only had 2 pints, doesn't matter, you're over the limit!
I'm sorry, I'm going to have to let you go.
No license, no job, now what?
Don't drink and drive!"

The public announcements openly threaten even people who have done nothing wrong. There's absolutely no leeway for forgetting, etc. If you don't do exactly what you're told, you'll get a fine.

For instance, if you get a speeding ticket, you normally have to pay a £60 fine, but if you go to court to query the ticket and fail, you'll automatically pay £1000. The penalties are set up so that no one will challenge them.

Then, you can only buy a new tax disc for the car in the last month of the old disc, from the 5th day of that month, and you have to buy it in person. Then when you have the new disc, you may only replace the old disc on your car when it expires at the end of the month, you may not put the new one in sooner. If you forget to change the disc, even if you have bought a new disc, you will still be fined the same as if you hadn't bought one. They set up roadblocks early in the new month to catch you. If you happen to be away in that month, there are more hurdles to jump through, you need to designate someone to buy the disc for you, etc.

There is no hint at being on your side in any of it, you are the enemy, and there is no hint that the law is well-intentioned, there is just "the law!". So it doesn't surprise me to hear now that they are setting up a goon squad to persecute people they don't like in the name of public interest. I guess threatening is not enough for them anymore.

In fact, having written this post, I think it's time I thought about leaving the UK, I see what it is becoming. It won't be long before troublesome people are sent to a Siberian equivalent.

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