Freedom, Surveillance and Executive Power

Every time I walk past a surveillance camera…

…I feel shame. It is not because I have done anything wrong. It is because we have allowed the politicians in our country (UK) to change from representatives to suppressors. The implementation of an almost universal system of watching has not made our society safer, it has repressed it.

Politicians have allowed themselves to be so distanced from the population that distrust is mechanical and universal. Everyone is watched only in a society where the watchers have more to fear than the watched. Not the watchers behind the cameras – they are just operators. I am talking about government. They are supposed to watch out for society, not to watch society. Yet that subtle shift has occurred. And it has done so at the same time that most of the population is disenfranchised from the political process. Witness how few people vote – they feel powerless – they feel as if their vote means nothing. There is a strong link between powerlessness and oppression. That link is becoming manifest through political shifts in the meaning of freedom, surveillance and Executive Power in UK society.

This will cost us our freedom. It blatantly ignores everything that our forefathers fought for in World War II. The very people who should be defending our freedoms have put in street furniture that depresses the soul and suppresses the feeling of a free society. The next step, as happened in the pre-war years, is for the political executive to become the ruling faction rather than the representative body. And, when we see what is happening with legislation like The Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIP), it looks like that transition is happening now.

We must beware the trend toward greater Executive Powers. These are laws that allow the Cabinet or Ministers to make decisions and take operational actions without oversight. Every new piece of legislation these days has more and more executive powers embodied in it. The DRIP legislation allows the security and police forces to monitor your phones and Internet use without warrant or judicial oversight. DRIP is one of dozens of other critical functions that are now separated from the political and judicial process. These include control of roads and the courts and closures of hospitals, schools and railways. Anonymous state officials and politicians can simply make decisions and put changes in place. This is not just ominous, it is dangerous.

There is a very real new danger in our society. Modern technology has given the power to back-room boys to watch everyone. But those back-room boys are controlled and financed by politicians who trust no one and who suppress freedom in the name of security.

Freedom surveillance links

Freedom is more than the absence of locks. It is also the social openness that allows you to express yourself without fear and to walk with your head held high. I am quite sure that those who, like me, are prepared to write this way already have a red dot on the forehead. But I am prepared to speak out because I see so much danger for society.

To those who fear for freedom in the UK, the DRIP legislation, surveillance and executive powers are not a conspiracy theory. They are an election issue. Think carefully about who you vote for. You may not have the chance to vote for much longer.

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