The Chinese have many skills, amongst them is a greatness for intricate and delicate work, often creating incredibly fine and minute sculptures and carvings. However, in the past the Chinese also utilized their skills in other ways, among them being killing a man by a 1000 cuts and pumping him full of opium so that as he was slowly cut and sliced to death, his mind sent him into raptures of ecstasy making victims exhibit ghastly smiles and euphoric grins even as their executioners cut off limbs and removed organs. Such was the executioners skill that they could literally prolong the agony until exactly the requisite 1000 cuts had been administered.
New Labour seems to have acquired similar skills, though rather than cuts they are killing us with new laws. Since 1997, when they were elected, Labour have passed over 1000 new pieces of legislation that can send a UK citizen to prison and, with each passing month, further laws are added. Yet there are no protests, just resignation or blithe acceptance, in most cases. A few weeks ago, legislation was sanctioned that makes homophobia a hate crime, now even telling a homosexually-themed joke will fall within the laws remit.
A few comedians protested but generally no one really cared, for many this was a good thing and, after all, hating people for their sexuality is wrong as is hating people for their religion, their disabilities, their race, their lack of achievement, their physical appearance or their age. In fact, hating anyone is ghastly and should be legislated against and, as it happens, just what we seem to want and what the Labour government seems happy to oblige us in providing.
Yet protest we should, because these laws and our feeble acceptance of them are building up governmental and state control in ways unthinkable a decade ago. Not only are they a major attack on our freedoms but they enable the State to conceive and foster a climate where State legislation on virtually every aspect of our lives is expected and condoned. So, when in December 2008, the Culture Secretary Andy Burnham (why do all politicians now shorten their names to the matey version: Tony, Dave, Andy, Steve – all ghastly), proposed a ratings system for ALL English language websites worldwide and was seeking agreement from the incoming Obama administration no one said or did anything. After all, isn’t it a good think if it bans all those nasty racist sites and controls pornography? Who cares if in March the UK Government announced plans under the prevention of terrorism legislation that any UK citizen, including fishermen and pilots, planning to leave the country, even if only for a few hours, get government approval first. The new law will also allow for the confiscating of passports for people owing council tax, TV license fees and all manner of misdemeanors, including maybe telling off-colour jokes about black, disabled, Muslim homosexuals. Of course no one cares.
Maybe they will care that the Government is to legislate, again under new terrorist laws, for the total monitoring and policing of ALL UK users of Facebook, MySpace, Bebo and Twitter on the spurious grounds that potential and active terrorists may set up a Facebook page! Again no one cares. Perhaps the fact that the Government proudly admitted last year that they record and store every text message and email sent in the UK, but that they would only access an individual's personal data if he or she were suspected of terrorist connections or perhaps had told an offensive joke or wasn’t recycling their rubbish correctly. But again, no one seemed to mind.
Now the UK Government is pushing to access its citizens Google and other, search engine records on the grounds that someone who tapped in ‘bomb’ might be a ‘terrorist’ in the same way as someone who tapped in ‘schoolgirl’ might be a paedophile.
And does anyone care now? Of course not for we’re either too busy watching Jade Goody’s funeral, drinking or worrying about paying for all the easy credit that Gordon Brown pumped into our collective bank accounts over the last decade. In fact, I doubt anyone cares who's looking at our text messages or emails just as long as they’re not ours. And that’s the problem we’re now so selfish and have become so dependent on the state that we really don’t care about anything until it smacks us in the face, by which time it's too late. Luckily the Labour Party’s opium has run out.
The Labour Party’s opium was money, and the drug lord and administrator of the opium was Gordon Brown who, as Chancellor of the Exchequer for the last ten years, controlled the UK’s money supply. Now that money has run out and slowly the people of this crowded island are beginning to feel the pain as the opium wears off.
Brown is now desperate; desperate to spread the guilt for his actions by blaming all of our financial misfortunes on ‘international’ events, and desperate to borrow as much money (opium) as he can so that he can sedate the populous again before they fully wake up. Not for nothing did Marx cite religion as an opiate for the masses.
The UK is bankrupt, inflation is looming (forget deflation) and unemployment will pass three million within twelve months, and nothing said or agreed at the sham G20 summit will change anything. So what is left but to subdue, distract and control the population before that population gets roused enough to hang the Browns of this world from the nearest lamp post.
However, looking at our feeble attempts at protest last week as several hundred public school boys and girls, mingled with thousands of journalists, the deputy editor or Vogue was there, models, a splattering of Class War anarchists left over from the poll tax days and a motley collection of Greenpeace types intent of saving the planet, I think Brown is pretty safe.
Whilst our protesters only managed to break three windows in an undefended branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland and spray paint a few walls, the protesters against Nato who took to the streets of France’s Strasbourg a few days later showed us how these things should be done. Barely reported in the UK, ‘black bloc’ anarchist groups from France and Germany caused so much mayhem in the City that Michelle Obama had to cancel her ‘walkabouts’. The riot police, France’s paramilitary and pretty scary CRS, lost control and had to abandon large sways of Strasbourg to the protesters, who in turn blocked roads to the airport, burned down whole streets and a branch of the Hotel Ibis chain, which for any one who has stayed in one, is no bad thing.
Had Brown and his G20 cronies encountered similar events in London, with clouds of smoke blocking out Brown’s smug grin, then for the first time in years the UK population might have shown it cares enough to do something instead of just seeking more credit or agreeing placidly to yet another Labour law that can send us to prison.
Personally, instead of allowing Brown to slowly wean us off his financial opium, I think that its time to go cold turkey and break something a bit more serious than a few windows. Maybe we should do something really dangerous and tell a few jokes…