Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Talking lamp posts

I had a strange experience in Llandudno the other day. A lamp post spoke to me!

I mean Joan of Arc had her saints, and Bernadette had the Virgin Mary, while Derek Acorah gets half of Southern Cemetery - I get a lamp post.

To be precise, it told me that this was a 'safe area' and that I was being monitored by CCTV. Why it picked me out for this revelation I have no idea. If I'd been swinging a chain about my head while wearing a swastika armband there might have been some justification. I was simply tootling along minding my own business, and although I'm rather large I don't think my aspect is particularly threatening these days.

The UK (that is the united Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) is actually one of the most surveillance-intensive countries in the world. That includes all countries, including ones run by tin-pot tyrants of one stamp and another. Scary, isn't it? After all, it's not as though Llandudno High Street is a secret naval base or something. (Or if it is, the camouflage is superb.)

The Government probably thinks it makes us feel safe. It doesn't, it makes me feel spied-upon, and I don't like that one bit. What would make me feel safe would be some substantive action against the terrorists and other criminals that throng our country. But that, I suspect, would involve rather more effort, imagination and finance than arranging for a lamp post to shout at a balding scribbler on one of his days off.


  1. You and I Brian may argue about the past but when it comes to the present that's another matter.

    You may think you had a tough time in Llandudno but you should be here in London where every train, tube and bus has CCTV. Even worse than that my local bus, just a local bus, has a TV screen which shows eveything picked up from CCTV

    I'm sure even you would agree on this one - bit of bummer aint it?

  2. *LOL* Brian. I have to say that this has a sort of Monty Python ring to it. Or to up date it a bit, perhaps a movie: I Hear Lampposts.

    On a more serious note, I believe there's always going to be a conflict--internal and external--between security and individual freedoms. After 9-11, free speech, civil liberties, and most basically, habeas corpus seemed to have been sacrificed for percieved security gains.

    Perhaps Walt Kelly said it best through Pogo, "We have met the enemy and they are us."

  3. Jo

    It seems to me we do have something in common, the loss or potential loss of our civil liberties and securing our future is more important than squabbling about the past.

  4. I weary of our Government and its endless rules and regulations that grow like rank weeds. The problem is I don't believe the likely alternative government will be any better, and the quality of the people generally aspiring to be 'leaders' makes Henry VI's council look like a team of geniuses.

    I think the only answer is revolution, but we haven't had a decent one since 1641 and the English (in particular)are very slow to anger.

  5. Brian

    I am so sorry that you feel so disillusioned so why don't you come down here and join us on the barricades against possibly the most corrupt council in the UK?

    I'm not going into all the details but the latest attempt is to remove all permanent wardens from sheltered housing on the grounds of 'saving money' from the same council who apparently thought nothing wrong in splashing out money on themsleves and their employees

  6. There's hope yet. Just heard that the High Court has slapped an injunction on the Council.

  7. Hem. I'll see your pack of overzealous surveillance technocrats and raise you a country where it's considered unpatriotic to suggest that the criminally insane should be kept from buying assault weapons on the grounds that Thomas Jefferson said we need to be able beseige and slaughter the legislature if they ever threaten our precious liberty. ( own slaves.)

    The other man's grass...