Posts Tagged ‘Civil Liberties’

Britain Officially Orwellian State

August 3, 2009

I have previously commented on the descent of Britain into a soft totalitarian state, so I suppose I should have been prepared for this. But I wasn’t. I have spent the last half hour walking around the office in a stupour, wondering just how we got to this point.

The Children’s Secretary set out £400million plans to put 20,000 problem families under 24-hour CCTV super-vision in their own homes. They will be monitored to ensure that children attend school, go to bed on time and eat proper meals. Private security guards will also be sent round to carry out home checks, while parents will be given help to combat drug and alcohol addiction. Around 2,000 families have gone through these Family Intervention Projects so far. But ministers want to target 20,000 more in the next two years, with each costing between £5,000 and £20,000 – a potential total bill of £400million.

I am speechless. Just speechless. I was convinced it was a hoax, but it seems to be quite genuine. 1984 is no longer a mere instruction manual for the British government, it’s the blueprint for their entire state.

(H/T: Questing For Atlantis)

How Loud Sex Can Land You In Gaol

June 29, 2009

Occasionally, there are news stories that at first sight seem  so ridiculous, that on first impressions you just laugh. But then, on closer inspection, they send chills down your spine and really make you wonder, just how far can the state now go. What, if anything, is left sacred.

This is one of those stories.

At the end of April, Caroline Cartwright, a 48-year-old housewife from Wearside in the north east of England, was remanded in custody for having “excessively noisy sex.” The cops took her in after neighbors complained of hearing her “shouting and groaning” and her “bed banging against the wall of her home.” Cartwright has, quite reasonably, defended her inalienable right to be a howler: “I can’t stop making noise during sex. It’s unnatural to not make any noises and I don’t think that I am particularly loud.”

So how did Cartwright’s expressions of noisy joy become a police case, which later this month will be ruled on at Newcastle Crown Court, one of the biggest courts in the north of England?

Because, unbelievably, Cartwright had previously been served with an Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO)—a civil order that is used to control the minutiae of British people’s behaviour—that forbade her from making “excessive noise during sex” anywhere in England.

That’s right, going even further than Orwell’s imagined authoritarian hellhole, where at least there was a wood or two where people could indulge their sexual impulses, the local authorities in Wearside made all of England a no-go zone for Cartwright’s noisy shenanigans. If she wanted to howl with abandon, she would have to nip over the border to Scotland or maybe catch a ferry to France. It was because she breached the conditions of her Anti-Social Behaviour Order, the civil ruling about how much noise she can make while making love in England, that Cartwright was arrested.

Welcome to 1984.

Read the full article at Reason Magazine.

(Cross posted at Thoughts on Freedom)

Update: I should also probably add the following quote, in case you weren’t horrified enough: “The ASBO system has turned much of Britain into a curtain-twitching, neighbor-watching, noise-policing gang of spies. The relative ease with which one can apply to the authorities for an ASBO positively invites people to use the system to punish their foes or the irritants who live in their neighborhoods. ASBOs have been used to prevent young people in certain areas from wearing hoods or hats (they look “threatening”), to ban a middle-aged couple from playing gangsta rap (the expletives offended workers and children at a nearby kindergarten), and to prevent a 10-year-old boy from having contact with matches until he turns 16, after he was found to have started a fire.”