UK is a police state

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UK is a police state

Postby Guest » Mon Oct 06, 2008 9:45 am UTC

The UK is turning into a new East Germany. Instead of worrying about Russia becoming a dictatorship, the danger could be much closer to home! Are terrorists really that scary?

Goverment to spend 12 billion on spying on every call and email
Brown wants to increase terror detention to 42 days without charge. Doesn't look promising though, so there may be hope yet.

Another strange thing is that people don't really seem to care much. Probably other countries already do it but just don't tell people about it.

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Re: UK is a police state

Postby Alias » Mon Oct 06, 2008 9:46 am UTC

calling it a ploice state is sensationalism, for now.

the 42 days does utterly worry me though.
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Re: UK is a police state

Postby Princess Marzipan » Mon Oct 06, 2008 9:51 am UTC

You don't think that's a fair summation of a state in which every form of communication you have, other than face to face (and probably even then sometimes), is monitored by Authority?
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Re: UK is a police state

Postby Jack Saladin » Mon Oct 06, 2008 9:58 am UTC

other than face to face (and probably even then sometimes)

You kidding? The UK has the highest rate of CCTV cameras per capita of any country on the planet - by a lot. You can't walk anywhere in London without being captured on at least 300 cameras - not a single second of your average persons commute will go unrecorded. There are 27 cameras pointed at George Orwell's old flat alone.

The term "police state" is most certainly appropriate.

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Re: UK is a police state

Postby JimBot! » Mon Oct 06, 2008 10:06 am UTC

Seconded.

Its been an authoritarian corporate state for as long as I've been alive (just about old enough to remember the last great civil insurrection, the Poll Tax Riots) and that's the way it will always be, I think. But then, that's what we get for being a CIA puppet-state. :]


For a better insight into UK grass-roots politics and activism I'd suggest browsing http://www.urban75.com, but I am somewhat biased towards a lot of the sentiment on their fora, I'll freely admit to that.
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Re: UK is a police state

Postby Princess Marzipan » Mon Oct 06, 2008 10:07 am UTC

I was purposely understating so that the correction of my understatement would just be that much more conclusive.

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Re: UK is a police state

Postby Alias » Mon Oct 06, 2008 10:11 am UTC

Wikipedia states

The term police state describes a state in which the government exercises rigid and repressive controls over the social, economic and political life of the population. A police state typically exhibits elements of totalitarianism and social control, and there is usually little or no distinction between the law and the exercise of political power by the executive.

The inhabitants of a police state experience restrictions on their mobility, and on their freedom to express or communicate political or other views, which are subject to police monitoring or enforcement. Political control may be exerted by means of a secret police force which operates outside the boundaries normally imposed by a constitutional republic.[1]


A few reasons why the UK is NOT currently a police state
  • As a general rule we are observed more than interferred with; there are few "rigid and repressive controls"
  • The majority can go anywhere public we like, as long as we haven't commited an antisocial act in that area, and been banned from it. There are very few "restrictions on our mobility"
  • There is a big difference between the police/law and the executive/govornment.
  • We have freedom of expression, this debate is proof of that. We cant inspire hatred but thats fair

Now thats clear i would like to state that i do have severe problems with aspects of recent legislation; the 42 day terror detention, the bans on assembly at certain places (parliment square, for example) are the first two that spring to mind. These worry me, and should be resisted
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Re: UK is a police state

Postby Princess Marzipan » Mon Oct 06, 2008 10:17 am UTC

Alias wrote:
The term police state describes a state in which the government exercises rigid and repressive controls over the social, economic and political life of the population. A police state typically exhibits elements of totalitarianism and social control, and there is usually little or no distinction between the law and the exercise of political power by the executive.

The inhabitants of a police state experience restrictions on their mobility, and on their freedom to express or communicate political or other views, which are subject to police monitoring or enforcement. Political control may be exerted by means of a secret police force which operates outside the boundaries normally imposed by a constitutional republic.


Seems to me a hu-hu-huuuge portion of that applies here, Jennifer. </perrycox>
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Re: UK is a police state

Postby Alias » Mon Oct 06, 2008 10:19 am UTC

such as?
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Re: UK is a police state

Postby Princess Marzipan » Mon Oct 06, 2008 10:22 am UTC

I bolded it.
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Re: UK is a police state

Postby JimBot! » Mon Oct 06, 2008 10:26 am UTC

An eloquent reply, but I would submit a few things for consideration.

As for monitoring, are you familiar with 'Section 60'?

If you attend any sort of public demonstration in the UK, you will be photographed by plain-clothes police. If you cover up your face, you can be detained. This I think was an addition to the 'Criminal Justice Bill' back in the 90's, when similar laws were used to detain people who might possibly be going to a potential public gathering anywhere within 5km. ie - Rave Party or similar subversive activity.

Consider also the hugely disproportionate use of 'Stop and Search'. While I have nothing to hide and have no qualms about it, figures show that ethnic minorities are getting harrassed. Now, I know that's a whole different argument, but when you also consider the 'endemic racism' discovered in the police in the wake of the Stephen Lawrence debacle, that is a bit troubling. There's also a lot of Freemasonry present in the force, which was investigated back in the 80's and then quietly covered up.

In my city, CCTV and a lot of inner-city security is now provided by a private firm who used to just run the car parks. They have goons who patroll the city centre and pick on skaters, but leave any serious crime well alone. A friend who was beaten very badly was observed crawling home on CCTV, no police were sent to him. CCTV is only for the protection of private property, not people.

Freedom of expression we may have, but the vast majority seem quite content with whatever bits of news filter into The Sun / Sky News, or the increasingly right-wing Daily Mail and Express. Hardly bastions of fair and reasoned debate.
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Re: UK is a police state

Postby Alias » Mon Oct 06, 2008 10:38 am UTC

I couldn't see the bold that well, my bad.

How, exactly, do they exercise controls over our social lives?

And what do they restrict the communication of? It isn't the fault of the govornment that the majority of people are too stupid or lazy to actually look around them. There are other equally available papers which are fair. People are stupid.

Now dont get me wrong; i think things are heading the wrong way, I worry about the controls that are being enacted, but I believe the term Police State is premature. We're basically a socialist democarcy of a sort.

Been stopped and searched 4 times in the last year, and I'm white. But then again, on messy days I (to quote a random I met at a festival) "Oh, I thought you were a dealer, you look like one". (im not)

Throwing terms like this around though reduces the impact they have; Zimbabwe, North Korea, China, THESE are police states.

I do also worry about the protest thing though. I am bound to be on MANY databases heh.
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Re: UK is a police state

Postby Guest » Mon Oct 06, 2008 10:44 am UTC

The sad thing is that even if they are entirely well-intentioned about it, they will still probably end up leaving the data on a train.

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Re: UK is a police state

Postby Alias » Mon Oct 06, 2008 10:48 am UTC

^^ made me giggle :) ^^
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Re: UK is a police state

Postby JimBot! » Mon Oct 06, 2008 11:34 am UTC

Yeah, that's a fair point!

If it is a police state, then its a pretty inept one. More like Brazil (Terry Gilliam) than 1984. :]
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Re: UK is a police state

Postby (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ » Mon Oct 06, 2008 11:40 am UTC

I found Brazil to be much more terrifying than 1984. But perhaps i need to read it again.
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Re: UK is a police state

Postby JimBot! » Mon Oct 06, 2008 12:07 pm UTC

I'm slightly more troubled by what happens when we arm the police in this country. Certainly does not make me want a fully armed force here.
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Re: UK is a police state

Postby Princess Marzipan » Mon Oct 06, 2008 12:15 pm UTC

Wow, sucks, I heard Kali was just appointed Minister of Defence.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAwait is that even an actual position...
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Re: UK is a police state

Postby JimBot! » Mon Oct 06, 2008 12:55 pm UTC

Defence, Welfare, National Health, Transport, Silly Walks...

All ministries, yes.
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Re: UK is a police state

Postby michael24easilybored » Mon Oct 06, 2008 1:15 pm UTC

in my own personal fight against the man I've stopped using my debit / credit card to buy stuff and just use cash now. That way the only thing the system knows is how much money I spend and which atm I used to withdraw it, rather than where and what I spent it on.

I know that probably makes no significant difference to the international conspiracy against me, but at least it makes it a bit easier to keep track of how much cash I'm pissing away on a daily basis :)

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Re: UK is a police state

Postby Alias » Mon Oct 06, 2008 1:18 pm UTC

why do you care?

i work in a shop and the people that rant at me (or on one memorable occaison throw a latop at my head) because i ask for their address seem very...petty. the govornment already knows where you live, what you earn, when you're online, whether you have a tv, car, family or child... what difference does it make if they know you bought 20 marlboros and some bourbon?
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Re: UK is a police state

Postby Gunfingers » Mon Oct 06, 2008 1:37 pm UTC

Are you kidding? In fascist Italy those were the first to go!

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Re: UK is a police state

Postby 22/7 » Mon Oct 06, 2008 1:46 pm UTC

Gunfingers wrote:Are you kidding? In fascist Italy those were the first to go!

That's so weird, I always envision people ruled by fascist regimes to be smokers.
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: UK is a police state

Postby Fuzzy_Wuzzy.bmp » Tue Oct 07, 2008 12:00 am UTC

Alias wrote:why do you care?

i work in a shop and the people that rant at me (or on one memorable occaison throw a latop at my head) because i ask for their address seem very...petty. the govornment already knows where you live, what you earn, when you're online, whether you have a tv, car, family or child... what difference does it make if they know you bought 20 marlboros and some bourbon?

Ok, the government knows all of that. Why should they tell it to you? What scares me the most are people that aren't even worried :(

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Re: UK is a police state

Postby Solt » Wed Oct 08, 2008 1:14 am UTC

Alias wrote:Been stopped and searched 4 times in the last year, and I'm white. But then again, on messy days I (to quote a random I met at a festival) "Oh, I thought you were a dealer, you look like one". (im not)

Alias wrote:Throwing terms like this around though reduces the impact they have; Zimbabwe, North Korea, China, THESE are police states.

Alias wrote:what difference does it make if they know you bought 20 marlboros and some bourbon?

Alias wrote:The majority can go anywhere public we like, as long as we haven't commited an antisocial act in that area, and been banned from it. There are very few "restrictions on our mobility"


So let me get this straight. In England, you can be searched by the police for the way you are dressed. You cannot buy certain relatively harmless products without it being recorded (bomb making material being watched is understandable, but tobacco?). The government has the ability to BAN someone from going to a certain part of the country. You are not allowed to anonymously participate in a protest. You will be photographed and put in a government database if you join a protest.

One of your defenses is that at least it isn't as bad as North Korea.

And none of this worries you?
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Re: UK is a police state

Postby Jack Saladin » Wed Oct 08, 2008 2:52 am UTC

The majority can go anywhere public we like, as long as we haven't commited an antisocial act in that area, and been banned from it.

The definition of "antisocial act" being entirely defined at whim, for the record. So it can legally be anything.

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Re: UK is a police state

Postby Dream » Wed Oct 08, 2008 4:18 am UTC

Jack Saladin wrote:
The majority can go anywhere public we like, as long as we haven't commited an antisocial act in that area, and been banned from it.

The definition of "antisocial act" being entirely defined at whim, for the record. So it can legally be anything.


Not to mention that the ASBO creates a new, special criminal offence just for the person it is ordered on, so that for them, what is a civil issue for everyone else is a criminal one, which can result in imprisonment. And the whole point of ASBOs is that they are in the control of those whose complaints lead to them, and are as such extrajudicial, or at least judicially rubber-stamped. Get a few complaints about something you did one time? ASBO! Now it's a criminal act for you to do it again, even if it was completely legal, if a bit annoying the first time.
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Re: UK is a police state

Postby Jack Saladin » Wed Oct 08, 2008 5:31 am UTC

In other words, potentially anything you do can be claimed to be illegal in the UK. At any time. No matter what it is. You have absolutely zero rights to do anything.

I'm not sure what more you require to call somewhere a police state.

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Re: UK is a police state

Postby Malice » Wed Oct 08, 2008 5:48 am UTC

Solt wrote:
Alias wrote:what difference does it make if they know you bought 20 marlboros and some bourbon?


You cannot buy certain relatively harmless products without it being recorded (bomb making material being watched is understandable, but tobacco?).


You're quoting Alias out of context. He or she is referring to credit card companies recording credit card purchases for anything bought with a credit card. This is neither specific to tobacco nor England, and has nothing whatsoever to do with the idea of a police state. It was just somebody else talking about how they prefer to be off the grid.
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Re: UK is a police state

Postby Mercurius » Wed Oct 08, 2008 11:16 am UTC

The UK is becoming more authoritarian, its true.

However, a police state it is not. Not yet, anyway. There is a lack of political will to use many of the powers which have been gained, at least in an actively malicious way.

Which is why a new Tory government bothers me. They have maliciousness down to an art form, and despite their pretty words about civil liberties, I can see them being even worse than Labour. They will entrench and institutionalize what New Labour has created, if I am correct in my suspicions about them, while making one or two public concessions over the most obvious displays of state power.

And that is why actions of governments like Labour bother me. Ultimately, you cannot rely on the goodwill of the government in a democracy, because sooner or later someone lacking that goodwill (even if its only the will to not go crazy against one's political enemies) will eventually be in charge.

Well, that and our politicians are a bunch of cobags, one and all.
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Re: UK is a police state

Postby 22/7 » Wed Oct 08, 2008 12:44 pm UTC

Solt wrote:So let me get this straight. In England, you can be searched by the police for the way you are dressed.
He didn't say that, he said that he understands them being interested in searching him because he sometimes looks like a drug dealer. Read the guy's posts.
Solt wrote:You cannot buy certain relatively harmless products without it being recorded (bomb making material being watched is understandable, but tobacco?).
This is also out of context, but Malice has covered this already.
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: UK is a police state

Postby Princess Marzipan » Wed Oct 08, 2008 2:23 pm UTC

22/7 wrote:
Solt wrote:So let me get this straight. In England, you can be searched by the police for the way you are dressed.
He didn't say that, he said that he understands them being interested in searching him because he sometimes looks like a drug dealer. Read the guy's posts.


And that's okay?

Seriously?

Absolutely nothing wrong with that?

I have a hoodie that I love to wear because it is comfortable, but that plus sunglasses makes me look like a pedophile. And the quickest way to the grocery store from my house takes me walking by an elementary school playground. You're saying it would be similarly okay for the police to search me based on that?
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Re: UK is a police state

Postby Gunfingers » Wed Oct 08, 2008 3:03 pm UTC

What exactly does one search a pedophile for?

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Re: UK is a police state

Postby clintonius » Wed Oct 08, 2008 3:04 pm UTC

. . . keys to a panel van?
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Re: UK is a police state

Postby 22/7 » Wed Oct 08, 2008 3:40 pm UTC

Nougatrocity wrote:
22/7 wrote:
Solt wrote:So let me get this straight. In England, you can be searched by the police for the way you are dressed.
He didn't say that, he said that he understands them being interested in searching him because he sometimes looks like a drug dealer. Read the guy's posts.
And that's okay?

Seriously?

Absolutely nothing wrong with that?

I have a hoodie that I love to wear because it is comfortable, but that plus sunglasses makes me look like a pedophile. And the quickest way to the grocery store from my house takes me walking by an elementary school playground. You're saying it would be similarly okay for the police to search me based on that?
No, Noug, it's not ok and if you'd taken half a second to read what I actually said rather than flying off the handle, you'd have seen that I didn't say that and neither did Alias. Solt was (what feels like intentionally) misinterpreting what was said and I was explaining how he was misinterpreting. I was not advocating anything regarding the story, I was clarifying. You'd probably be upset if I took what you just said and claimed that you said you were a pedophile, no?
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: UK is a police state

Postby Princess Marzipan » Wed Oct 08, 2008 3:48 pm UTC

From the tone, it seemed it you were clarifying his position and also standing behind it.

If you don't stand behind that viewpoint, then my vitriol should slide ride past you like...something sexual; honestly, I can't be arsed to complete the analogy.

And yes, I would be upset if you now claimed I was pedophile for similar reasons to why it is not okay for the police to assume so.
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Re: UK is a police state

Postby Felstaff » Wed Oct 08, 2008 3:58 pm UTC

Police performing a stop 'n' search perform an extensive, arduous, bureaucratic procedure. Searching a potential perpertrator can (at its most lengthy) result of two man-hours of bureaucracy. Two hours! Now, I hate bureaucracy and form-filling as much as the next armchair observer, but the police realise this and--in a positive spin--it generally means they only do so if they feel up to two hours of pen-pushing is worth it.

It's a terrible system, fo' sho', and a shit way of dealing with things, but British police are heavily restrained with government-imposed targets. i.e. They have to solve their crimes through cunning use of box-ticking. Every hour they spend on form-filling after arresting and searching an innocent is one hour taken from actually improving their crime-solving ratio.

In a nutshell:
Spend 2 hours searching an innocent = nothin' = negative status on their chart
Spend 2 hours searching a guy with a gun, knife, drugs and illegal fireworks on their possession = gold star

So it's in their interest to go for likely suspects, and not just any white boy walking down the street. (Did I tell you they're also institutionally racist?) Then again, according to the crime map, the majority of crime that would require stop & searches in London is committed in the poorest (immigrant) areas of the city. So, basically, Camberwell Green, where I used to live.

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Re: UK is a police state

Postby Mechanicus » Wed Oct 08, 2008 5:06 pm UTC

As for monitoring, are you familiar with 'Section 60'?

If you attend any sort of public demonstration in the UK, you will be photographed by plain-clothes police. If you cover up your face, you can be detained. This I think was an addition to the 'Criminal Justice Bill' back in the 90's, when similar laws were used to detain people who might possibly be going to a potential public gathering anywhere within 5km. ie - Rave Party or similar subversive activity.
You are not allowed to anonymously participate in a protest. You will be photographed and put in a government database if you join a protest.
These are both incorrect. Section 60 can be used only when a superintendent or above (or, if none is available, an inspector or chief inspector) reasonably believes that there is a reasonable expectation of serious violence. Now, I see nothing in the Act regarding photographing by plain clothes police (though please correct me if I'm wrong - I don't have time to look more thoroughly), and I know for a fact that covering up your face at a public demonstration is absolutely fine, because I've done so, and in the presence of police officers.

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Re: UK is a police state

Postby JimBot! » Wed Oct 08, 2008 5:36 pm UTC

Well, at a number of (admittedly, pretty angry) demos I have attended over the years, plain-clothes officers have been digitally snapping people at obnoxiously close range (as in, we've got your number, pal).

I've seen people beaten and detained for wearing anything covering the face. Some of them deserved it because they were also taking the piss and putting other people in danger, I should say that in all fairness. But some were not causing trouble and we're just trying to protect their identity.

Perhaps a senior officer had called for that sort of action in those cases (I'm talking about a few Mayday marches, Reclaim The Streets type shindigs).
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Re: UK is a police state

Postby 22/7 » Wed Oct 08, 2008 5:58 pm UTC

Nougatrocity wrote:If you don't stand behind that viewpoint, then my vitriol should slide ride past you like...something sexual; honestly, I can't be arsed to complete the analogy.
It's not going to slide right by me if it's aimed directly at me. My tone was aimed at Solt's post alone.
Felstaff, Mechanicus, you make interesting points. I wonder if we're getting into variations in law due to locale, level of enforcement, etc?
Totally not a hypothetical...

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bigglesworth wrote:If your economic reality is a choice, then why are you not as rich as Bill Gates?
Don't want to be.
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