An EU report suggests that the pan-European body should have the power to control the press and “remove journalistic license” (in other words, fire) journalists who transgress its rules and regulations,
The report doesn’t mean these recommendations will necessarily pass into law, but it’s telling nonetheless. It shows how these people think. There’s an arrogance here seen in only in dictatorships where governments determine what’s responsible and what isn’t.
The idea is that the EU should monitor the independent press. To what end it doesn’t really say. We can, of course, make assumptions.
The UK is already home to the world’s most-watched society. Now its Home Office plans to go a step further with draconian, Soviet-style legislation that seeks to punish wrong-doing ahead of – and this is the brilliant bit – wrong-doing. In other words, if a member of the constabulary says he thinks you’re about to do something anti-social, he’ll be able to confiscate your property and perhaps even charge you. Or if he doesn’t like your face, one has to presume.
According to watchdog site, Spyblog, the proposed changes to the legislation aren’t readily or easily available to ordinary people. Ordinary people, of course, are those who will pay, financially, for this overweening abuse of civil liberties. As importantly, they will also pay in further loss of liberty, particularly at the hands of an intolerant, corrupt and bigotted police force. And before you suggest that the police are none of these things, ask Andrew Mitchell, the former Tory Party chief whip, how he feels.
In essence, existing intolerable legislation is being made still less tolerable. The screws are being tightened and the people will be asked to pay the financial cost of their own loss of liberty. The image of executed prisoners being forced to dig their own graves is apposite. The frightening aspect is that few seem to care. The jump from one less feral youth off the street to one less potentially feral youth off the street is an easy one to make. It may even be comforting, to Daily Mail and Guardian readers alike. Alas, with these changes, tomorrow it could be you, because Constable Plod is the one who decides.
A report commissioned by the state-owned BBC says the corporation should use more propaganda to inculcate acceptance of gays and lesbians in society. A process known as “incidental portrayal” should be utilised so that a picture of what the BBC deems a normal, desirable society is instilled in the minds of people – particularly children.
“Incidental portrayal” is an old propaganda sleight-of-hand used by infamous spin merchants from Goebbels to Mao. It turned all Jews into hook-nosed theives in Nazi Germany and all capitalists into; well, hook-nosed thieves in China.
Of course, tyrannies use “incedental portrayal” to define negative qualities. The BBC isn’t suggesting that negativity be employed. It is, though, suggesting social engineering has a role in broadcasting, and particularly in children’s broadcasting.
That is a slippery slope. No broadcaster, and particularly no state-owned broadcaster, in a free society, has a propaganda role. If parents are concerned that their children aren’t sufficiently exposed to gays and lesbians in the community, there is a simple solution: take them outside. Some theorise that about 10 percent of the world’s population is homosexual – and that means a quick skirmish around the park, the local shopping mall or street, will ensure all the “incidental portrayal” that is needed.
It also begs the question, how does a state-owned broadcaster depict gay and lesbian people? For me, it is usually not immediately obvious to decide a gay taxi driver from a straight taxi driver. I can tell he (or she) is a taxi driver, but unless there are clear stererotypical behaviours or affectations, how do I know? And why would I care? Will the BBC make them flounce? That would be demeaning, so I hope not.
The danger here is insidious. All propaganda is wrong – even when it’s right. That’s because it relies on the portrayal of a belief system that isn’t universal.
A very interfering man, James Armitage, has decided that local government in Westminster, a London borough, has a right to decide how your meat should be cooked. It should be “well done”, thoroughly cooked, even charred. Essentially, it should be disgusting. Rare meat, you see, might contain bad things. On the other hand, it might not. Actually, it almost certainly won’t, but still, there’s a chance, and your stomach is Mr Armitage’s business.
Why is it his business? That we aren’t told. We can only assume the over-weening smugness of local government means they’re going to control not just what happens outside your body, but what happens inside it as well.
Mr Armitage denies the ban, saying that he only seeks stronger controls. “It’s because hamburger meat is ground up, so the bacteria on the surface of the meat will get inside and won’t get killed by the cooking, since the inside is not cooked. Steak, on the other hand, is not ground up, so the bacteria stay on the outside, and should be killed by just cooking the outside,” he goes on to say, in what sounds like a load of ballsed-up pseudo-science.
Anyway, if you think Mr Armitage has over-stretched his authority, you can tell him – or some other faceless bureaucrat, here. Tell them you’ve had enough of their conceit while you’re about it.
In the meantime, remember, rare meat tastes best.
Not content with arresting their own citizens for expressing themselves in ways deemed unacceptable to the British Morality Police, Scotland Yard has now (hopefully over) reached a 17,000 kilometer divide spanning continents to create legal worries for a pair of Australian pranksters who impersonated a funemployed, under-employed but extremely well-paid mother and son duo of German origin.
The pranksters little joke went wrong, largely due to a completely inept hospital at which a new female member of the German family was being treated, The exact details of the treatment aren’t known, and aren’t important. For the time being, the public can only assume the young woman had a deadly bout of morning sickness. You know the sort of thing, of course, because millions of pregnant women are hospitalised for queeziness.
A nurse, conned by the pranksters, took her own life, which is tragic, but strange enough for us to assume their were other factors involved – like an over-zealous manager or incompetent managers who let her manage the phones.
What makes this doubly-troubling is that the Australians have cow-towed to their colonial masters. They may have disobeyed the sinister Australian Surveillance Devices Act, according to the state-owned British Broadcasting Authority. The fawning BBC adds that the pranksters may also have broken Australian press laws.
(People living under dictatorships may be surprised to learn that Britain and Australia have press laws, such is the vehement criticism from Britain and Australia of other nation’s press laws but what can you do?)
Canada’s parliament has passed an Act banning the use of masks. The move follows protests, like those staged by the Occupy movement, where protestors sought anonymity. Taking their queue from a dusted-off law used against Occupy in New York City, Canada will use the law to arrest protestors – for protesting anonymously. The Canadian police, and the Canadian government, wants to see your face. It may be no coincidence that governments, like Canada, are insisting on a lack of privacy at a time when facial-recognition technology is moving forward apace.
These governments forget a basic tenet of governance: that it is government’s obligation to maintain transparency. People have every right to be as private as they choose. If a man wants to walk down the street with a sack over his head, that’s his entitlement.
The sponsor of this ridiculous law is the Conservative MP for Wild Rose, in Alberta Province, Blake Richards. You can register your disapproval any way you choose – perhaps by wearing a mask. His telephone number is +1-613-996-5152 at parliament or +1-403-948-5103 at his constituency office. Or email him on email@example.com. You can also visit his website at www.blakerichards.ca/.